Our older kids have started to ask why my answer is often, "Just because I said so." Perhaps I just don't feel like I really need to explain to them why they can't eat cookies a half hour before dinner, or ride their bike in the snow, or stay up until 10:00 on a school night. Or perhaps I believe they just need to accept authority for the sake of authority, without always having a reason. In "real life" we often don't get explanations behind the decisions made for us by our employers, lawmakers, and our ultimate authority, God Himself. But most times the thoughts that fly through my head as I'm justifying the "I'm your mother and I said so" logic go something like this:
I carried you for nine months. I lived with nausea and vomiting and peeing every half hour while you tap danced on my bladder. You gave me stretch marks and a bruised tailbone that has never been quite the same since. I endured hours of painful labor, a not so pleasant delivery, and stitches in places where no one should ever have to be stitched. From late night feedings to bed wetting and bad dreams, I have lost more hours of sleep than you can fathom. I’ve sat on the edge of your bed watching you sleep when you had a fever, dragged out the humidifier and Vicks in the middle of the night when you had a cough, held back your hair and waited with a damp cloth while you vomited in the toilet, and cleaned it up when you didn’t make it to the toilet. I have encountered more pee, poop, spit up, snot, and vomit than you can imagine. I have stopped in the middle of necessary tasks to put cream on invisible mosquito bites and band-aids on miniscule scrapes. I have endured the humiliation of letting you scream your way through the grocery store, hoping to teach you that you will not always get what you want. I have waited many half hours for you to learn to dress yourself, when I could have done it myself in two minutes. I have gone through alphabet letters, counting by two’s, and memory verses enough times to make me want to put my head through the wall. I've sat in the freezing rain at football practices, listened to tone deaf children sing in Christmas concerts, nervously prayed that you wouldn’t forget your lines during class plays, and cheered for you like a mad woman at all of it. I have searched for more lost shoes, toys, and homework than I care to think about. I have stayed up until 2:00 AM on Christmas Eve wrapping presents, then awakened with you at 6:00 on Christmas morning with a smile on my face. I have dealt with playground bullies and unfair situations on your behalf in ways that you will never know about. I have stood in your doorway for hours to make sure it was done right while you cleaned your room, hoping to teach you responsibility. I have worn in public the ugly jewelry that you so proudly gave me, and displayed countless pieces of “artwork” simply because you made it for me. I have sacrificed things I would love to do and have, so that your needs and wants could be fulfilled. I daily serve as your cook, maid, chauffer, and entertainer. I have listened to hours of mind numbing chatter, and answered thousands of childish questions. I have held back tears while I watched you fall and make mistakes, so that you could learn for yourself what not to do, and picked you up again without an “I told you so.” I have dreamed for you, grieved for you, and prayed for you, while you live your life in innocent oblivion. But despite all the sleeplessness, struggles and “inconveniences,” I love you more than my own life, I humbly count it a blessing to be your mother, and I call you a gift from God. And for all those reasons, “I’m your mother and I said so” IS a perfectly acceptable answer. Thank you.