My husband hit a bright orange Prius the day before our daughter was due.
We were flying down the interstate at 70 miles per hour and he attempted to change lanes. I felt a sharp thud on our left, like we’d run over something.
And we had, sort of- a little hybrid that was no match for our rather large SUV. In his defense, she said she “saw us and wasn’t sure whether to slow down or speed up.” Really? Apparently she chose the latter.
We have a running joke in our family. If I’m expecting, my husband will get in an accident. It happens during every pregnancy, without fail. I guess raging hormones, sleepless nights and unpredictable mood swings stress him out or something.
This time, we made it to 40 weeks. Almost. We were right there at the finish line. Then, thud.
I don’t see how people can think God doesn’t have a sense of humor. He does. Trust me.
So yesterday we celebrated Mother’s Day and as we’re leaving, my mother-in-law calls, “Don’t hit any orange Priuses on your way home!”
With every light and momentary trouble, there is a story. There is a memory. And many times, there is laughter for years to come.
As I reflect back on my nine years as a mom, here are a few things I’ve learned along the way:
- Expect the unexpected. I waddled into labor and delivery hours before my firstborn arrived with a plan. But it didn’t take long before that plan crumbled and nurses were wheeling me into an OR for an emergency c-section. For months afterward, I mourned the loss of my well-laid plan.
While plans are good and often needed, the unexpected will happen. Orange Priuses will show up out of nowhere. And when they do, you have to let Jesus take the wheel and breathe. Nothing will teach you loss of control like having your heart running around in another living, breathing human being. But God will get you through it, one day at a time.
2. Don’t worry what others think. No one knows your child better than you do. But often, others will interject their opinion whether you ask them for it or not. Take it with grace and nod. If the advice is good and said with love, listen. Or at least try it.
Remember mothering comes with a lot of trial and error. Each child will be different and the methods that worked for one may not work for the other. Give yourself freedom to explore and ignore the raised eyebrows.
Your responsibility as a parent is not to others. It is to your child and God.
3. Remember to laugh. I didn’t laugh much during the first year of motherhood. I was so consumed with worry and tried to do everything just right. Then three and a half years later, my little Gabe came along.
I often tell others the reason God gave me Gabe is so I would laugh more. How can you not smile when your child asks you if we can stack ladders up to the moon?
There are plenty of tears and sleepless nights with motherhood.
So when the your child tells everyone at church he had head lice last week, even though you’re trying to keep that story under wraps, laugh.
When your daughter decides her frilly dress is a better chew toy than an outfit, laugh.
Laugh during the moments you’re tempted to pull your hair out and when you thump into an orange Prius on the interstate. Life is too short to stress about the small stuff.
Motherhood doesn’t come with a rulebook. It doesn’t come with a blue print telling you what to do when your four-year-old impales his thumb with his brother’s epi-pen or when your big boy suffers his first heartbreak.
But it does come with a lifetime of memories. It comes with lots of laughter and love.
Sometimes you just have to let the laundry sit for a while and enjoy it. And watch out for orange Priuses, of course.
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