There is a moment in every parent’s life when a terrifying realization hits them. That realization being: I am the parent of these kids. The buck stops here. I am the parent.
I have written about and have experienced this terrifying realization many times before. I have joked with many about sometimes waking up to a difficult day and looking around my house and thinking, “Who exactly is in charge of all these children?” And then realizing, “Oh, (possible minor expletive)… It’s still ME.”
Let me pause here and say, if you’ve been with me on this journey for a while now, you know that I consider parenting and my children as one of the greatest gifts on planet Earth. No other title but “Mommy” has given me greater joy and purpose in my lifetime. However, that being said, every once in a while, I simultaneously feel awestruck, terrified, underqualified, and incredulous in the face of the acute reality of my identity as the mother to my children.
This awareness of the gravity of my position was exasperated recently with the birth of our third child. I suppose suddenly having more children than adults in a house would and should introduce not only unadulterated joy, but a little healthy terror into the hearts of any parents. But, the other day I looked at myself in the mirror as each of my three children needed me individually at the exact same time (conveyed by crying in stereo) and I confess, there was more than just a little terror in my heart. Thoughts like, “Who do I comfort first?” “Is there enough of me?” “Can I do this?” and of course “Jokes over, seriously; who’s in charge here?” went racing through my mind.
Then, in the midst of the almost comical chaos, I remembered something someone told me once about parenting. (Also, I can’t remember who told me this, so if it was you; I love you long time.) They said:
If you were given these children, you will also be given the grace to raise them.
I wish I could tell you that I supermom-ed the situation after that and everyone quit crying simultaneously. I also wish I could tell you that every day has been breezy and that my 3-year-old son doesn’t think the new baby is his own personal rag doll playmate. But, the chaos only grew throughout that one day and just today my 3-year-old tried to put a muddy tuft of grass into the new baby’s bassinet as a “gift.”
It’s pure chaos around here since our latest addition, albeit, the best kind. The kind of chaos that makes you want to scream while it’s happening and dial 9-1-1-N-A-N-N-Y. But at the end of the day, you stare lovingly and longingly at the pictures you took during the chaotic day reliving it all over again. And the kind of pandemonium that still prompts me to consistently confront the terrifying fear of being a parent with the awesome realization that yes, I AM the parent. I CAN do this. I am in charge. And most importantly, I’ve been given these children so I have also been given the grace to raise them.