Love's labour and loss…

I love you

 Love……I wish I did it better.
I mean with the nearest and dearest people,
this love that can get stuck behind the stammer
…the strangled,
and silenced places
when I’ve so much to say and show.
This love that sometimes went tongue-tied
or distracted
or disabled
with the ones that mean the most.
 I wish I had a do-over
 …one more shot
at loving my kids
when they were little.
(I’m not wrecked with mom-guilt.
I gave the best I had to give
and I’ve forgiven myself the rest.
But I can’t have those years back
to regroup and refill their little tanks.)
How did I  love someone more than air
and still cave in to social and religious pressure
to build appearances
instead of soft places to practice and make mistakes?
my fear.
~ it  robbed my kids of so much tender mother-love
And now,  they’ve gone and grown up,
becoming wonderful humans
…amazing, brilliant, beautiful beings
without my celebrating their ebullience
when their hearts could watch
and feel the wind from my twirling over them.
I grinned my quiet grins from a distance
but didn’t smile out loud
right into their hungry eyes.
You see,  now I believe in making blunders.
I believe in ebullience.
I believe in losing the fear
that grows like kudsu
If I had another go,
I’d spend those moments telling them so,
SHOWING them so
with every focused nod of my heart
And when they goofed
I’d scoop them into forgiving arms,
every word soft with mercy,
every glance gentle with comfort,
moving toward them with acceptance.
Have no regrets, you say.
Oh yes,
  I have them in spades.
I have kids who deserved so much more
from the mother I was.
And I feel it.
And it’s real.
The mother I am today
is more adept at letting myself be loved
and losing the fear
that mucked up
the garden
I planted
for my
It’s a safer, sweeter garden now.
Restoration rains there often
and waters undeveloped affection
so that souls do feel
the loveshine
pouring down.
Yes, it’s a healthy place now~and I’m grateful.
And sad.
that my kids smallest feet never got to play in this soft grass
or rest under these bright skies
or breathe in these moist breezes
and for just this moment
I let it be
what it is.
Thanks for letting me share.
(I built my etsy store and was so eager to show you,
to pretty up this place with sunny photos down my sidebar.
But my blog template doesn’t like the javascript that
sent them on their merry way
and so rejected them firmly.
If you like, pop over to
and have a gander.)


  1. Kamana on February 15, 2011 at 11:36 am

    what heartfelt words .. and a gorgeous header!

  2. Bren on February 15, 2011 at 11:54 am

    you wrote my life my friend. I can identify with every word, same regrets, same pressures, same glorious feeling that forgiveness brings. Love your heart, love your writing and now I'm off to check out the opening of your new 'Store' 🙂

  3. ELK on February 15, 2011 at 11:54 am

    oh friend . i know this feeling . the looking back is filled with longing .. to do over..your words touch my heart . your kids sound very is their mom! love your shop

  4. rachel awes on February 15, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    sing it, sister!
    i look back to
    early mothering
    & i was exhausted
    w/not lots left to give!
    i huuuuuuuug you
    with exactly where you've been
    & where you are
    & who you are!
    & i'll love to
    etsy ganderwander!
    xoxox (happy valentines day after!)

  5. Nancy on February 15, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    I think you have taped into just about every mom's heart wish of doing some things over again. I know you have mine….but like you said, we did the best we could with where we were and besides how would God get all the credit for the wonderful adults they turn into if we had done it all perfectly………

    I can't wait to visit your new shop….Congratulations…….


  6. LeeAnn on February 16, 2011 at 1:19 am

    Oh Jen, we all have regrets over one thing or another. And the wonderful thing about it all is that we get to wake up to a new day each morning and start again. I love the words "I'm sorry" because said with sincere love and new action behind them, they melt away many things. I had to tell my daughters many times while raising them (and a few times now that they are adults too) that I am sorry and that I didn't handle that right or I was wrong. I'm glad I learned that it is okay to mess up. Now we all laugh about how imperfect we are together. I've even given my girls vocal permission to talk about me if they ever have to go to counseling! They had a good laugh over that too, but it also showed them that they don't have to feel guilty when they aren't perfect. YAY!!

    If you ask me Jen, you have about a perfect loving heart of anyone I know. Your words express it well.

    Love from your imperfect sister friend!
    Lee Ann

  7. Hindsfeet on February 16, 2011 at 3:48 am

    What a timely gift, Jen……How gracious of you to share out of your grief…allowing your grief to be transformed into Gift tonight….

    …I felt reading this as Ebenezer Scrooge must have felt listening to Jacob Marley…..the gift of a warning from someone else's hindsight….

    Your writing tonight changed my trajectory for the better…I'm afraid I was about to drive off a relational cliff and your words have detoured me…..

    thanks, as always, Jen…..for the Gift.

  8. S. Etole on February 16, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    you speak our hearts
    as well as yours
    thank you
    for grace

    our children
    will probably echo
    these same thoughts
    one day
    about their children

  9. Mary on February 16, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    i hear your heart…it's mine too.
    i think back on the things i carried from my childhood…my wounds, my scars…i parented from those places…but i know how God's love has healed me in some of those places, and i know he will use even the mistakes i made for their good.

    so thankful for a redeeming God

    and Jennifer, I am so thankful for you!

    much love to you!

  10. Peggy on February 16, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    oh you spoke the words in my mother's heart! but you know what is the coolest??? You can give all that you've learned to your grandchildren and it makes for the grandest love- the do-over is possible and your kids love it too! I'm going over to see your etsy store!

  11. Just Be Real on February 18, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Jen, what beautifully written words. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Paul C on February 18, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Thinking back about child raising probably brings back some regrets for most. Life is that way with its imperfections, struggles, vulnerabilities, anxieties. Today it's warmer in our parts and the sun is out…..

  13. Relyn on February 19, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    I think the courage you show here in baring your heart will give so many mothers new courage and a new view; a new tenderness. Thank you.

    And, you know what I kept thinking? Just this, "What a great Grandma she's going to be. Oh, her kids are lucky!"

  14. maribeth on February 19, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    It takes a courageous and very loving woman to expose to the world her true heart. I know this kind of pain and loss; and I also know it to be a friend. We need not medicate our pain or be afraid of it; it brings healing when properly dealt with. At least that is my experience.

  15. Erin Butson on February 20, 2011 at 4:59 am

    Congratulations on your etsy opening! That is huge. I so appreciate this mommy perspective. It can be so hard to see what stuff in the middle of it all. hindsight is so 20/20, but it is so good to hear your perspective. such a good reminder to me to be intentional about everything. i know it's a season, but it doesn't always feel like that.:) xoxoxo

  16. therealbarbie on February 24, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Oh Jennifer — your stuff is SO GOOD! You should consider coming to the SheSpeaks 2011 in July. Just a thought girlfriend.

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