“Did you win, Mommy?” Were Astrid’s first words as she walked in the door Saturday at noon and immediately reached up so her arms could wrap around me. “I missed you.” She whispered as her mouth met my ear.
“No, Baby, I didn’t win.” I answered. “But I wasn’t trying to win. I was just happy to finish strong.”
“Oh Mom, that’s too bad.” Esther said as she hugged me around my waist and I kissed the top of her head.
Eloise gave me her typical kind of ‘lean-in to touch shoulders with me, almost a high-five, bend her head down to meet mine, and then turn away quickly’ pseudo tween hug and said “Good job anyway, Mom. Do you know the person who won?”
Their innocent faith in my abilities made my heart grow 50 sizes in that short, shared moment. Because honestly winning was never in my game-plan, training plan, mind-set, physical abilities or truthfully even a pipe-dream that I’ve ever had.
I just wanted to finish the race with a decent time, not last, and without poop in my shorts.
Kind of like I just want us all to reach bedtime each day alive..and maybe clean. My goals are small, short-term and I hope doable.
That’s how I tackle motherhood, because frankly the daily defeats would leave me frustrated and depressed.
So my mantra each day of motherhood is just to finish strong.
I mean sure we want good things each day – a favorite meal, a new book, to run around outside in the sprinkler with friends and to go on a bike ride. Maybe we got to watch our favorite show, taught our cat a new trick or went out for ice cream.
Good things happen along the route each day of our race – the fans clap, we get water, someone yells our name tells us we are doing awesome. But that still doesn’t make me win or even give me the will to want to win.
It just gives me the will to keep going – even on those very hard days and miles that I just want to quit – one foot in front of the other, waffle toasted, one more dish put away, shirt folded, bo0-boo kissed, pictured colored, lunch packed, lap snuggled, tooth brushed, goodnight kiss.
Because this motherhood road is long and winding with finishers medals that look like clay hand-prints for Christmas trees and smudges on light switches..and juice boxes remains that we drink instead of champagne.
And I will never be a winner in this race – but for my children, I vow to try to always finish strong for them each day. Because they believe I can.
And to hopefully I will do it without poop in my pants.