A sudden burst of crying came from the Ayanna’s room.
My eyes popped open. 2:34AM.
Hoping that it was just my imagination, I pulled the covers over my head.
Five seconds later, Ayanna walks into our bedroom and comes directly to my side of the bed. (Mom Pet Peeve # 621 – Neither of my kids automatically go to Jelani’s side of the bed….EVER. Or ask him to do anything, outside of fun stuff, first. They always come to me first. Why??? It’s like I have magical powers that are unbeknownst to me.)
Sniffling, “Mommy, I had a bad dream.”
Exhausted, I respond, “It’s just a dream, Dew.” (Dew, like the morning dew not the soda, has been my nickname for her since she was born. I don’t know how I came up with that. I just started calling her that. She used to love it. Now she forbids for me to call her that in public.)
“Everything is OK. You can go back to bed now.”
She rebutted, “But mommy, it’s a bad dream. Can you come sleep with me?”
Nestled warmly underneath my blankets, I said “It’s ok, Ayanna. The dream is over. You can go sleep in the bed next to your brother.”
Jordan has his own room. But, he sleeps in the extra twin bed in Ayanna’s room. Neither of them like sleeping alone, so that’s the compromise. As per Ayanna’s rules, Jordan cannot play in her room, unless she invites him to. But, excluding the occasions when either Grandma or Nana visits, or she has a sleep over, he can sleep in her room. So, Jordan, plays and watches TV in his room and retreats into Ayanna’s room at bedtime. (A spacious playroom and my own personal office space – with a door that closes and locks- has been added to my personal list for our next home. And the ultimate dream home wish list has a whole floor designated just for me. My personal “mom” floor, not a cave, will have balcony, grandeur library/office space, white-luxurious- no-kids-or hubby- allowed furniture, leopard print and gold accents, splashes of deep green, pops of fuschia, endless closet space, and the list of Margaret only details could go on and on. Oh, I’m gonna have this space one day!!! Trust and believe! From my pen…to God’s ears! I’m always getting sidetracked…lol..back to the story.)
Quietly, Ayanna left my bedside and returned to her room.
Ten seconds later, Ayanna appeared at my doorway. “But, mommy can you sleep with me?”
Annoyed, “No, Ayanna, sleep with your brother. It’s just a dream. Please go back to sleep!”
(I hear you over there asking yourself, “Ahh she was crying and she had a bad dream!! Why didn’t she just go and sleep with her?” Don’t you mom shame me! I don’t shame you when you forget to pack a snack, show up late to a school event, or raise your voice at your kids. Why? Because motherhood is an exclusive club and we’re all in this thing together. So, take your mommy shaming comments to the altar and finish reading my story😉)
Ayanna left the doorway and returned to her room once again.
I pulled the covers back up underneath my neck and turned on my left-good-sleeping-side. Back to sleep, I go!!
But as soon as I closed my eyes, I got this sudden tap on my spirit. You know, it’s like when someone taps you on your shoulder from behind? That’s the tap. But, it wasn’t a physical tap. It’s the tap that the Holy Spirit gives me when I need to readjust.
Internal response to the Lord # 1, “Yes, Lord…it is thou servant, Margaret. What do you possibly want from my life at 2AM?” LOL.
The Holy Spirit responded, “You only get one shot at this. One shot at responding to bad dreams. One shot at being the mom she needs. What are you going to do with it?”
Internal response to the Lord # 2, “Why you gotta be so deep at 2:00 in the morning? I can’t even see my pen to write all of this down! Do you wake the other mommies up at 2:00AM with spiritual revelations and reminders of how they need to get it together?? Huh? How about Jelani? What about him, Lordddddddddddd? Why, you ain’t wake himmmmm up and tell himmmmmmm about his one shot????!!!”
I’m sure the Lord of all creation was shaking his head at all my extra-ness.
Nevertheless, like all good yet petty wives do, I purposely made a whole bunch of moving commotion in the bed hoping that Jelani would get up instead. He was sound asleep. SMH. I grabbed my pillow, blanket and headed to Ayanna’s room. I climbed into the bed with my daughter.
She returned to sleep in a matter of minutes. But thanks be to the Lord of Hosts, I was now wide awake hanging off the side of my daughter’s twin bed and wrestling with the tulle-beyond- the- veil-hot-pink- Justice-canopy that Ayanna just had to have for her birthday. I was wide awake and overdramatically re-evaluating everything I’d ever done as a parent. From my decision not to breastfeed to Montessori education to allowing her to watch YouTube slime tutorials for 2 hours straight earlier that day. And then, wondering if my daughter would end up on therapists couch at age 20 because her mom left her crying out of desperation after a bad dream. LOL. I’m sure I took it to the extreme, but you get the point.
As I laid in Ayanna’s bed, one booty cheek off and one booty cheek on, I thought, “How did my mom do this?” (Hold UP!!!Don’t hate on this black girl’s voluptuous shape! I already know that my girls and my little sister are all laughing at that previous statement. Except for my friends Janelle and Delisha, my booty is smaller than all of theirs. No shade Janelle or Delisha. Just love and facts….LOL)
And the questions kept coming…..
How did my mom manage to produce two practically sane, God- fearing, grounded and responsible young women?”
How do I not mess up my “one shot” as a parent?
How do I know when I should stay in bed for bad dreams or when to let them go back to sleep alone?
How do I maintain a countenance of love, grace, and patience amid frustration and weariness?
How do I stop yelling so much or overreacting?
How do I prepare them for their future and rear them according to God’s plan for their lives?
How do I pull my mom crazy mode back from a 12.5 to a balanced 6?
How do I loosen the reigns and eventually let them go in such a cold and scary world?
How do I do all of this and still maintain my sanity and individuality?????
To make matters worse, I thought of a quote on Pinterest. Jessica Scott wrote, “You only get 18 summers with your kids….If that’s not perspective. I don’t know what is.”
18 minus 10 equals 8. Which meant I only had 8 pre-adult summers to get my stuff together as Ayanna’s mom. Then I tortured myself even further and did additional math. Ayanna is 10 and she turns 13 in less than 3 years. Which meant I had less than 3 years before teenage independence knocked on our door. Help me, Lord!!!
Instantaneously, I rolled my half booty out of Ayanna’s bed and hit the ground.
With a mixture of tongues and mumbled English, I began praying desperately. I paced back in forth in between Ayanna and Jordan’s beds pleading, “Help me not to miss my shot, Lord! I can’t afford to make any major mistakes! I can’t afford to mess up my kids and send them to therapy over me sleeping through their bad dreams!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
As He usually does, the Holy Spirit waited until my emotions and overthinking reduced from a 10 to at least a 7.5. Then He began to speak once again.
“A pro never takes a shot without understanding the requirements of the game, sacrifice, hard- work, expert coaching, supportive team. Everything you need to ensure that you don’t miss your shot as a mother, is already or will be provided accordingly. Despite the hiccups you’ll experience along the way, with Me by your side, you’ve got this!”
And in that instant, although the questions remained, the peace of God flooded my heart.
Reassured, I adjusted Ayanna and Jordan’s blankets and gently kissed their foreheads. I could now go back to sleep and confidently awake to face another day of motherhood.
I write this to encourage every mom who feels weary or like they are failing miserably. I’ve been there. I know the feeling. I was there this morning, on last Tuesday and on December 20, 2018 at 11:15AM. I’ll probably feel that way again throughout the course of parenthood. But I want you to know, that just as the Holy Spirit whispered to me, You’ve Got This!!! Everything you need to take advantage of your one shot as a parent is within you. With God’s master plan, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, your determination to give your all to the “ministry of motherhood” and with your support team, YOU CAN DO IT!!!!
Know that you are not alone. There are mothers everywhere struggling, balancing, conquering, and simply trying not to forget to sign their kids’ homework or make the morning drop off line just like you! You were made for this! God has specifically assigned you as the earthly warrior for your children. Your work is not in vain. Your sacrifices are not without reward. Your children, despite their individually unique paths, shall become everything that God desires for them to be! God hears your prayers. He knows your heart. He desires to see you win as a mother.
The God of the Universe has your back and He has your children!
Pray this with me😊
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for creating me to be the mother of my children. They belong to you, but you have loaned them to me to love, guide, protect and rear. I need you. I admit that being a mother has moments of difficulty, exhaustion, and uncertainty. But grant me the grace to trust You more – to be confident that you have given me everything I need to succeed as my children’s mom. Thank you for your wisdom, your peace and your love. Thank you for my family (husband, parents, in-laws, siblings, etc), my friends, professionals and resources you have provided to support my children and I on this journey. Anoint me afresh each day! May I bring You glory, and may my kids become everything you’ve destined them to be.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Photo Credit: Jakob Owens