By now, I understand how to manage the routine. I know how to get the kids up and moving, feed them cereal, brush their hair and teeth, and help them to pick out clothes that (mostly) match. I know how to read story books and coax them to eat some of their vegetables. I know to use a baby wipe to clean their hands and feet, proclaiming it good enough so I can wait until tomorrow to give them a bath.
But there's so much that I don't know. When I sit in the school cafeteria at Back to School Night, I have the creeping sensation that I'm not qualified to be raising a second grader. Have I instilled enough in her? Not just academically, but morally, socially, and emotionally?
When the girls are arguing over the same toy, ignoring the plenty around them and focusing only on the one thing that they don't have, I wonder if they're learning any of the lessons that I'm trying to teach. When I lose my temper, raise my voice, and act as childish as they're acting, I wonder if I'm doing irrevocable damage.
My middle daughter, Brooke, attended her first day of preschool this morning. I listened when Reese, my oldest, got off the bus and asked her about her day. "So, what did you do at preschool?"
Brooke tilted her head to the side and paused for a long while. "I have no idea."
Reese wasn't deterred. "Well, did you have fun?"
Brooke nodded and said yes. "I'll go back," she added.
How often do we, as mothers, bumble our way through our days? We hope, we experiment, we scratch that idea off the list. We pray, we blow it, we improvise, and sometimes -- on those amazing moments -- we nail it. We bask, we pour ourselves out, we cry, we bite our tongues, we wish we had bitten our tongues, and we remind ourselves to breathe -- just breathe -- and put one foot in front of the other and get through the next five minutes. Or the next five hours until bedtime.
And we wake up the next day and try it all again.
I'll go back, she had said, even though she hadn't any idea what she was doing. What a brave proclamation.
I'll replay those words in my head when I don't know what I'm doing. Just keep going back, Robin. Just keep going back. Because that's what's brave. Not having it all figured out, but proceeding in faith even when you don't.