My years of day-to-day mothering a daughter have been over for awhile now. My girl is all grown up with a husband and babies of her own and my mothering duties have changed. I learned so many things during those sweet years. But one precious truth stands out, one unchanging thing:
Love is the glue.
The binding substance. The thing holding us together. The adhesive force keeping one heart close up against another.
Have you ever seen the TV show Parenthood? I was watching a rerun recently and this truth struck me hard in the gut. I just love how this program shows family with all it’s authentic, messy struggle and conflict but at the same time, it portrays a family deeply devoted to each other with unbreakable bonds of love. They’re not a Christian family but they show love week in and week out. Love is the glue holding this wildly disparate and dysfunctional family together.
Towards the very end of the show, 19 year old Amber, who has been living independently for awhile, trying to navigate life and failing miserably, comes over to visit her mom early in the morning. Mom is still in bed, groggy but awake and it’s clear Amber needs something but she either can’t or won’t articulate it.
Mom, in her wisdom, simply pulls down the covers, gently pats the bed and motions to Amber to jump in where it’s safe and warm. Like a little girl, she climbs in, pulls up the covers and snuggles close to her mom, hot tears falling. She doesn’t want to talk about whatever’s bothering her but mutters something like, “I just need to be with my mom” as she lays her head on her shoulder. Mom looks at her with all the love and tenderness in the world and as a wise mom does, she just lets her daughter cry.
I cried watching the scene and here’s why: it’s a perfect picture of what mothering (especially daughters) is all about. No matter how old they are, how far they’ve strayed, how much they mess up, how grown up they think they are, mom is always the safe place, warm and protecting, just like those bedcovers. Oh, let them never be too old to climb under those covers and just…..be. To know they can simply bask in acceptance and know the glue is still there, still holding hearts, even damaged, broken hearts, together.
To know, no matter what, there is one place in all the world where they are loved for who they are without judgement and without reservation. Kids do mess up and they will mess up. That’s why I always say parenting is not a spectator sport. It will tax you to the moon and back, drain you and fill you up all in the same day, sometimes in the same moment!
When our kids are little how they delight to snuggle with us. In fact, most mornings we’ll wake up with one or more of them in our beds. But then they grow up, go off, become independent and are desperate to be separate.
Until the crisis hits.
The huge blunder is made, the betrayal happens, the loss takes their breath away and then, well, it all comes back to mom. Why? Because mom loves them anyway. The older they get, those mom times get fewer and farther between. I don’t experience them as often as I used to and that’s how it should be because, if we’ve done our job right, they really will go and find their own life.
But still, times of crisis will hit. Times of weariness, confusion or just the plain truth of a girl needing her mama. Because no one gets it like mom gets it. And no one has mama’s glue.
Treasure those raw and real moments Mama. Always be that safe place where tears can fall because, as certain as the sun follows the rain, the words will follow and your love will heal…..