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Is life coming at you like the balls that are shot out of the machine at a batting cage? In that vulnerable place, is your only hope to swing at each new, in-your-face incident, hoping to connect with a few? That has been—and still is—my prayer and hope.

My nest has emptied. Though—praise the Lord—it occasionally fills back up. But I remember those days when I was standing with a bat in my hands and my heart in my throat, as one new challenge after another zoomed at me. Daily I was required to step up to the plate. By the grace of God I connected with the important ones. However, I also missed my share. As I have told my children, who now have children, it’s all about the track record.

We cannot do a perfect job. Our children will be fine if our track record has more hits than misses. If we dwell on the missed or messed-up opportunities, we will be too preoccupied to see the next ball when it comes our way. Anyway, our children aren’t counting. They are more perceptive than we give them credit for being. They see Mom up at the plate, bat in hand. They understand she isn’t perfect. In fact, they are more comfortable in a loving, imperfect environment than in one where Mom thinks she is in control of everything. (Notice: I could not say, “one that is perfect.” There are no perfect situations. My only alternative was to express the above comparison as “one where Mom thinks she is in control of everything.”)

We have hit on something here! A mother’s unrealistic outlook can create bad circumstances—one for herself, and one for her family. From such an artificial scenario, a tired, sad mom—and confused, angry children—will emerge. On Mother’s Day, Mom will not hear accolades of, “Thank you, thank you for giving your all to project perfection!” Rather, she will be amazed at the resentment that all those efforts will reap.

Children who live in reality and learn how to accept their imperfect environments are better prepared for life. Herein lies the legacy that our children will be able to vocalize to their children: “Well, I’m going to miss some of the balls that come my way, but I will show up everyday, sincerely focus, and try to connect with each new challenge. And in addition, you—my dear offspring—will have a front row seat to watch how a person can appropriately respond to those missed or messed-up challenges.”

Then, their children—our grandchildren—will grow up and be able to echo the same authentic witness.

More importantly, all these generations will understand the real power behind the successes and how their mothers were able to humbly accept the imperfections of life. This witness takes place when, before they see their mothers step up to the plate, they see them down on their knees.

~ A.R. (Alice) Cecil