This photo was taken last week on a family hike. Moms seem to rarely make it into the photo, so I’m grateful that my husband captured this exact moment. What you can’t see in the picture is that we’re sitting on the edge of a cliff, looking out over the Blue Ridge Mountains just off camera. What a peaceful and purely joyful moment...for the kids. My pursed lips and vice-like grip on my children tell the mom’s side of the story.
We’ve all been the mother in this moment, and we might be feeling like her all the time lately as we navigate our way through the current social and health crises. On the one hand, we want our kids to feel so confident and secure in this world that they’ll go out and conquer whatever it is that they want to achieve---they’ll take risks, they’ll be courageous, and they’ll be rewarded with those breathtaking views. On the other hand, it’s our job to keep them from falling off the freaking cliff, and we’d like them to just stay safe and innocent within our bubble until they turn 45, thank you very much.
This push and pull (otherwise known as ambivalence) and constant vigilance over our children are among our most important jobs as mothers -- and often the most exhausting. Our opportunity is to let the waves come and go without knocking us over, and to find our balance between the hanging on and the letting go.