she wanted a life in the castle, but got the suburbs.
she wanted a charmed life, but got 5 wide-eyed children and one charming husband who fell very short of being a prince.
she dreamt of being swept up to a better life, all the while watching us contentedly make our sandcastles and mudpies. and even though her longing was for safety and provision, God saw fit to write a different story.
a better story.
she faced the hard stuff and didn’t give up. and in doing that, this is what she gave us..
she gave her children the key to imagination.
she gave it to us – in the form of a perfectly unkept house.
in the form of play…lots of playing.
in the form of reading bedtime stories.
in the form of laughter.
in the form of being “game” for anything.
in the form of not controlling, or hovering or managing us-but letting us
have the space to just be children.
in the form of celebrating well…which made life feel bigger and brighter,
even for just that moment.
and the the most valuable key she gave us came in the form of her being an imperfect human.
she may not like me writing those words, but it was the single most beautiful thing she gave me. because from this gift, i never thought i had to be perfect at anything. i knew i was loved and delighted in-just for who i was. i felt equipped and capable because of her holes.
she wasn’t a do-it-all domestic genius, in fact she hated cooking and housekeeping. but she did her best.
our summer’s were filled with running barefoot and spending hours digging, exploring and making messes. the chaos never seemed to bother her.
and need i mention, we tortured our fair share of babysitters.
my mom knew she was in over her head most days while raising 5 rambunctious children, but she kept showing up. making us oatmeal, packing sack lunches, mopping floors, driving carpool, tucking in, spanking… alot, doing mounds of laundry and cooking those damn dinners. then, waking up and doing it all over again…for lots and lots of years.
and this was how the beauty queen became real.
she took off the crown and decided to receive with grace the life before her. and now many years have passed and her children have grown and left her care but they carry the gifts with them. the imperfect, beautiful gifts of being raised by a mother who was flawed and human but was brave enough to not quit when life wasn’t a fairytale.
and, as is often the case, the real tales of struggle and fought-for-goodness and grace are far more valuable then the cheap stuff anyhow and those tales need a heroine of real courage.
and those tales, turn the fairytale upside-down and right-side-up…into a better-tale.
and stories like that make us who we are. thank you mom for making me who i am.
and most importantly, when the time came for me to become a mom, thank you for showing me i couldn’t fail if i just offered my imperfect self- fully and sacrificially and wildly to the task.
this is dedicated to Patti Joye and all those delightfully imperfect mothers who are just the kind of mothers their children need.
by grace, xxoo jamie