I am stretched and tired and fearful.
I am wild and brave and broken.
My closet has a sense of humor and clothes in every size.
I’ve worn these hips three times around the labor and delivery dance and they are not ashamed. I speak three languages and that doesn’t include my ability to translate my middle son’s moods.
I have danced circles into the midnight carpet on two continents.
I have rocked restless babes, cut baby curls, snipped fingernails and served a thousand thousand bowls of Cheerios.
I can build a blanket fort, pry splinters out of fingers, and sharp words out of young hearts.
I have lost it, yelled it, fought it, cried it and apologized it all before 9am.
I have fingerpainted, caffeinated, and run out of explanations for a line of why questions that stretches around the living room, out the front door and around the block.
I have tripped on Legos, stepped on scooters, slept on bottom bunks, and strung yards of white, twinkling lights above the heads of two blonde brothers afraid of the dark and their bad dreams.
I have been woken up, shaken up, thrown up, loved up, and shut up. I have never quite, completely, ever given up.
Love sleeps in my bed. Curiosity eats at my table. Delight runs laps around my back yard. Exhaustion is a faithful friend. But so is grace.
If I started tonight and counted backwards all the gifts of the past seven and a half years of two boys and this still-smells-new baby girl I would still be counting when their grandchildren were standing tippy toes with noses pressed against these smudged windows.
So I count dimples instead.
And piles of stray socks and jeans with knees missing and shoes that only fit for a few months and hair cuts and loose teeth and how many times I look at them and say with the disbelief of the proud, “I can’t believe how much you’ve grown!”
I am overwhelmed, infatuated, love struck and completely unhinged. Especially on the nights they bring in wild flowers and all the ever-loving mud in the world.
I am full and fulfilled.
I am older and comfortable in my skin.
I am about the work of raising tiny humans.
I am out of my mind and in my calling and desperate for five minutes alone and a lifetime together.
I see cherry blossom fireworks when two brothers enter school and friendship and new worlds together. Right there, just an outdoor, black top, basketball court away from me.
I want to stop time, tame my fears, bottle their dreams, live a hundred summers of dripping, sticky, caramel ice cream. And in between I hang onto my faith, my temper, and my sense of humor with my fingernails.
These are the good days, the glory days, the slow-as-molasses days. These are the fast years, the wonder years, the how-do-I-find-words years.
But we do. They usually start with “help” and end with “thank you” and the middle?
The middle is a thick layer of one syllable wonder sometimes whispered, often shouted, always answered.
The middle is me. The middle is you. The middle is just, “mom.”
Holy smokes, woman. Beautiful. A true portrait of who we are. Thank you for sharing your art.
Lisa this is a manifesto, a prayer, a beauty. I am so so thankful to have read this tonight and have every intention of reading it again in the morning.
I am speechless. I have read and read and retread this. And I love every. Single. Word. Absolutely beautiful.
Oh Lisa Jo…how do you always capture with your beautiful words exactly what we are all feeling?! So, so beautiful! Thank you for this.
Love your stuff. God has given you a specialgift. I’m thrilled to have eyes to read, fingers to post, a phone that connects, brains to understand, funds to pay bills, peace of mind, & joy in my heart. Thank you for sharing. God bless you & yours.
No words. Just a standing ovation here–from my bed. ;) breathtaking.
holy crap, L-J – this one is a printable. I mean poster-sized printable. PLEASE to something like that with this and get Dayspring to sell it. It would be sold out in 24 hours. AMAZING. Thank you. Such a rockstar you are.
And it was inspired by the prayer you read us our first night at JT :)
Ah. That is some prayer. And this is some piece, dear girl.
Diana, I agree 100%! I was thinking of printing this out and sharing it at a baby shower I am hosting next month. And printing an extra out for myself as a reminder. A daily reminder that I am not alone in the roller coaster of emotions and thoughts and actions I go through every single day as a mother. And although everything in side me knows I am not alone but surrounded by loving friends and family, here I am sobbing because this makes me realize I am trying too hard to live up to ‘their’ version of a perfect mother. (The ‘them’ out there in the media and in our modern culture.) This is a mother, a REAL mother, and it is a hard and lovely job we are Privileged to get to be able to experience.
I am not kidding about this, Lisa-Jo – and I’m not using hyperbole, either. This is definitely printable and should be available somewhere for lots of people. Honest.
Love this! How is it possible we mums (and moms) can feel so many emotions at once??
Oh my. I wanna cry tears of joy and exhaustion as I pick up my messy house before doing it all again tomorrow. thank you for giving me happy tears tonight. Much love to you~
One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read. And what’s more, you nailed it.
Sniff, sniff…me too! Thank you :)
This really is just beautiful, friend!
Perfect! I am currently working on a story about a not so glorious day of motherhood with a redeemed ending. As I ponder how to tweak it just so and describe a very realistic day around here – based on several that really did happen – and ended in tantrums and tears (on my part), I wonder if it all sounds too contrived. Would the intended audience really believe the drama and high strung emotion? And then I read this and am firmly put it my place. I am not the only one experiencing such wonders. The mess, the mud, the glory, and the grace.
Wow! This is beautiful! Thanks!
What a gift. That you have shared…but also the one you’ve been given! Thank you for giving beautiful words to us all.
*passes out* *gets up* *passes out again*
You said what I couldn’t find the words to say.
Lovely. And poignant.
“i am about the work of raising tiny humans” – love it! i am (though one is nearly my size!).. my 24/7 gal and boy; and also a growing brood from ages 3-12 in church! And boy, do we need believers; which honestly we can only find in fellow moms!
Just gorgeous, Lisa-Jo. Your words here reveal the sacred ordinary in all it’s glory. Almost makes me want to go back and do it all over again. Almost ;)
What a beautiful post! Thanks so much for this hymn to motherhood! Blessings.
Good grief…your words catapulted me back into the days of my mothering. Wild beauty here…terrifying love. I’m sending this to my daughter expecting her first. Thank you for your wordcraft, dear friend-I’ve-never-met.
you have capture motherhood beautifully!
You described my heart and thoughts. Thank you for this.
Mmmm…one of my favorite posts. Ever. LOVE the poetic-ness of it. Good job!
Wow. Lisa Jo, I LOVE all of your posts, but this one might be my favorite to date! Such a beautiful, real song of motherhood. I’m floored but my spirit is lifted. Thank you, what a gift you are. :)
Lisa-Jo, this is beautiful and poetic and raw and true. Amazing words. I am keeping this to read and read again. Thank you for your wonderful words.
So eloquent and true! Thank you for this, today and everyday!
Oh I loved this: “Love sleeps in my bed. Curiosity eats at my table. Delight runs laps around my back yard. Exhaustion is a faithful friend. But so is grace.” … yes…this is what it is.
Wow, I am speechless. This is SO beautiful!
And then you killed me with the last word and I can hardly make put the letters on the keyboard to type “Thank you!”.
Another wonderful piece! Thank you!! :-) God has most certainly given you a gift to express what some people sometimes feel, but cannot say….
Wow, Lisa-Jo! Just thank you! You have truly captured the raw & bittersweet emotion of being a Mom and made my days with my 4 little ones feel a little less crazy and a little more normal. Thank you for your encouragement and for reminding us of the beauty in the trenches that I am often too busy or exhausted to stop and breathe in. I’m off to embrace the little things today, thanks to you! :-)
My children have been adults for 10+ yrs now. It doesn’t matter. Mom is still the middle word from their mouths at some point on most days. And it is the word that makes me happiest, keeps me going and makes me the most proud. And the best part is it’s neverending. Thank you for your words and for allowing me to share mine.
You have a true gift for writing, but an even better gift for encouraging mothers. Thank you for taking the time to blog your thoughts and put into words how I feel every day in motherhood. Bless you.
You capture it ALL in these words…I’m printing this out and sticking it in the back of my prayer journal for the days when I am at my wits end or wondering where “I” have gone…Beautifully said.
Wow!!!!! This made me cry! Such an accurate depiction of who we are as moms! You seriously tugged at my heart! This needs to be printed and framed and hung on my wall so I can read it often and be reminded of the the messy beauty in raising babies :)
You love being a mom, I can tell. Thanks for the lovely thoughts. Being a grandma now, I can pitch in on occasion and bring relief. It’s a great life!
Oh my. This is gorgeous. So beautiful.
BEAUTIFUL…SPEAKS FOR GRANDMOTHERS TOO….
Oh Sweet Jesus… this was breathtaking!!! How it pulls on my Mama Heart and stirs me up… for as I am nearing the end of a season with my own and am seeing so clearly the space in between ‘grown up littles’ and ‘little grands’ will give me more time to continue to pour into Mama’s who are still in the beautiful mess of it all!
So thankful for you, my friend!
“Love sleeps in my bed. Curiosity eats at my table. Delight runs laps around my back yard. Exhaustion is a faithful friend. But so is grace.”
This. Somewhere on my wall, in front of my eyes so I remember when its crazy to stop and see the beautiful. Thank-you.
This made me cry and cry and cry. Thank you.
This sobbing and smiling-all at the same time-me wants to tell you, Thank You. From the bottom of this over-whelmed and ever grateful heart for this written blessing to all of us mothers, Thank You.
Beautiful. Just.Beutiful. Thanks for that gift. Blessings to you!
This is awesomeness times 10,000. I was nodding, yessing, amening and practically cartwheeling through this whole piece. Holy mother you can write.
That was absolutely perfect! I blubbered through the whole thing. Such beautiful words.
I have never, ever left a comment on a blog before, but there was no way I couldn’t after reading this.
THAT is the most beautiful thing I have ever read. PERIOD
Yeow – thanks for that Michele. Honored.
I am a Mom, and now a Grandma…. You said it sooooo beautifully ! Hang on to these years ! They go way too fast !
Very sweet and so true! Thank you!
Your words are soooo real and inspiring, I am often moved to tears as we mother are united by that same experiece. Thanks for this, I needed it:)
Wow… and WOW! Your words are like a balm for my heart. Thank you so much for this.
Just shared this with all my ‘mom’ friends on Facebook. Everyone deserves to read this. Simply beautiful!
Love seeing the ZAR flag on my blog :)
I think you somehow managed to sum up my experience as a mom in a single line:
“I am out of my mind and in my calling and desperate for five minutes alone and a lifetime together.”
LOVE that line! Might have to have that written on my wall!
Awesome. Beautiful. Lovely.
These are the words of my heart, but I can’t say them only grunt them in unny ways. Thank you for eloquently putting what we all feel, and even though it isn’t a job filled with atta girls and accolades, it’s the most rewarding job in the world.
You have a talent for saying what most mothers feel… the ones who strive to give their best to their children. I sincerely hope there is a partner to help share the love and the load with you and your precious ones. I am a grandmother now, but I can still recall so very many moments of absolute wonder and awe that God placed such a remarkable being in my care for a time; shame at losing my temper with that magnificent child; and of bone-tiredness when I thought I would have to die to get any rest. Thanks for sharing part of your soul with us!
I came to your blog via Kat Lee and after the first time, I promised myself never, never to come back again. For the simple reason that you make me cry! Every. Single Post. And by last Friday, the Lord had used enough of it to speak to my heart. Of showing me what courageous love looks like. Why and where the heartaches are. You see, like you, I live not in my passport country. I never expected to be a mother. I am so amazed to be redeemed that I can’t see beyond how much that love hurts. And now I know, as my Lord loves me with a reckless abandonment, I too am called to love likewise! Oh my heart aches. DO I DARE? It’ll hurt. And yet, like you, as I count the blessings of years pass, there won’t be enough pages in all the books of the world… Before my baby days, I would have accused you of writing sentimental slop. Now, now I am so thankful for each word of grace. Long ago, I knew I would have to spend a lifetime learning to live up to my name. Never did I realised that the Lord would choose miniture human beings to accomplish it! So LisaJo, write on. We need more words, more grace.
Chills all over.
I am disappointed that I hadn’t written this myself ☺
Everything I feel and wasn’t able to surface.
You left me speechless and in tears. I am a mother of 2 under the age of 3 and I couldn’t have said it better. The mediating, the pride, the fulfilment I experience when I look in at my babies and admire the photos displayed in heaps in my bedroom when I finally have some me time. The time with them is going by so quickly and I am trying through gritted teeth most days to do more memorable things. Thank you for your words and only a mother could truly appreciate what was written, but that is not to mean that another heartfelt woman couldn’t relate.
next year on Mother’s Day, I am printing this out on pretty paper and giving it to my mom. Beautiful and you really spoke my mama language….
Thank you so much for this! It’s beautiful and so captures all those feelings of loving more than you think your heart can hold and struggling with the world and our own perceptions of being perfect or best. I”m a full time working mom of 4 (13, 4 and 3 year old twins). Most days I’m so exhausted I struggle to find time to connect with my husband and to not rush the kids bedtimes so I can finally collapse. This is a wonderful reminder that I’m not alone and that my work as a mother is the most important thing I do.
May I have your permission to reprint this in it’s entirety to my Mothers of Multiples newsletter? We are 165 mothers of twins and triplets who have the additional joy of mothering multiple children at the same age in addition to our singles.
Thanks for this beautiful piece. Do you know the singer/songwriter Dar Wiliams? She’s got a beautiful song called “The One Who Knows” that captures the ache of love and letting go.
Thanks for writing this beautiful piece. Do you know the singer/songwriter Dar Williams? She has a beautiful song called “The One Who Knows” which tells of the ache of love and letting go.
My friend just sent me this with the word *snif* (as in, crying a little tear)…well I’m bawling! This is a perfect, beautiful poem that sooo speaks to ME and so many other moms I’m sure. I love it and will book mark this to re-read on a regular basis. THANK YOU!
Mom of an almost 5 year old boy, an almost 2 year old boy and a brand new baby girl. :)
Lovely, so touching and so very true. Brought a little tear and a big smile :))))
How sweet & true! Even the most trying times can make the best memories and everything worthwhile. Thanks for you words :)
Beautiful. You’ve picked up on and so eloquently captured dozens of simple moments of mothering/parenthood. Thank you for writing something that so many of us can relate to. Keep writing, I’m eager to keep reading!
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