When “there’s nothing more that I can do…”

…from the heart of a mother.

A couple of weeks ago, I was doing my 60min round-trip drive to pick up my son from work at 10pm and I heard a song that completely undid me.  Natalie Grant’s song about parenting called “When I Leave the Room” melted my heart.

I have the unique privilege of parenting three wonderful children: two teenagers who are launching into adulthood at various velocities and a toddler, age two.  The uniqueness of my sweet family doesn’t stop there.  My oldest, a son, is a courageous, intelligent man (almost 18) with cerebral palsy and a hearing impairment.  Then, two girls who have the strength and opinions of their dear mother!  

One calls me “mother,” one says “mummy,” and I get “mom” sometimes too!  Even that could change tomorrow.  

Photography credit:  Rawle Iam James
Photography credit:  Rawle Iam James

In many ways these three vibrant youngsters are leading me and I am simply trying to keep up!

So, when I had a significant emotional reaction (yep, the ugly cry) listening to this song, I paid attention, reflecting on the powerful lullaby lyrics in my life…

Besides chronicling the remarkable mommy journey that I’m on, seemingly in every stage simultaneously, the song also takes me to a place of considering that scary, almost dreadful place…she sings…

There’s nothing more that I can do…

I don’t know about you, but I’m always doing something.  My deep belief in the idea of what is the next ‘right thing to do’ is almost inexhaustible.  But, then in motherhood, sometimes I get to the end of that.  

As Chief Learning Officer of a school, I am also listening to the parenting hearts around me.  I can see them with pounding fists in those dreadful places:  illness, disability, defiance, distance, exhaustion, waiting, and confusion.  I think every parent knows this dark corner.  

What happens when I’m backed into it?

Again, I have to admit, I am a fighter.  I wish my primal mommy-ing instincts looked more graceful; I’m on a learning journey.  I can see those instincts in my office as well.  We all experience fight-flight-freeze as we watch our children struggle for any reason.

We all have instincts for our children.  Survival instincts.

Yet, sometimes, there is nothing more that I can do, what happens then?  I’ve fought with school, parents, children, and myself.  I’ve been completely shredded and incapacitated.  I have run from school to school, to no avail.

What happens when there aren’t more answers…

There’s nothing more that I can do, But just fall more in love with you!

…but “just fall more in love with you!”  That place of love.  Stroking her hair as she falls asleep, championing his courage to face another day, a kiss on the cheek to say “I’m proud of you.” That soft place.  Truly, a place of acceptance.  It is gentle.  The instincts are overcome by the love.

With a soft heart we can take a long-term perspective, one of faith.  We can trust the Creator to hold us all in His hands.  It isn’t rushed.

With a soft heart we can find our tears, engage with others from a place of vulnerability, acknowledge our fears, and participate in supporting our children to find their place.  Really, at the end of the day, it’s about “falling more in love with you.”

With a soft heart, we can give our children what they need to most from us, our compassionate, present attention.

With a soft heart, we can let go and trust.

O dear!  That’s it!  I think the song, I think my life, really is about letting go and trusting.  I can’t control it all.  I can’t be there each and every moment.  I have to acknowledge that “when I leave the room,” I have to have faith.

Well, clearly, the mommy journey of “letting go” is still very present for me.  I hope I can do it with a soft heart!

In order to #LearnForward, I invite you to describe something in your child’s life that you can “loosen” your grip on and trust a little more.  If you are really brave, leave it in the comments section of this website!