It doesn’t always go as planned.
Bowled over with newborn love,
the way ahead seems clear and untroubled,
devotion deep and wide enough
to weather any storm.
So we say a prayer, Darling Mother,
for when the crying baby
will not be comforted,
and the night knows what
we want to do.
We say a prayer for when we
reach for the tantruming toddler,
knowing we barely control ourselves.
Prayers for the endless endless housework,
prayers for best things broken,
and for the children fighting.
Prayers for facing down
our own anger, bitterness, fears, self-will.
Prayers for years of power struggles
and learning to let go.
And when they walk out the door,
and our great love surfaces
like a whale coming up for air,
be with us as we come to terms
with the mothering we’ve done,
and the mothering left undone.
Give us grace to apologize,
to forgive, even ourselves,
as we move into gentler waters
of parenting adults
no longer children.