Racquetball and Motherhood - they seem at first to be an unlikely pairing. However, there are many more parallels than I would like to admit. I usually play racquetball twice a week with a group of men, all of whom are better players than me. I feel out of my league motherhood wise at least twice a week, if not more often. Most days, I play racquetball hard, give it my all, and still lose. Every once in a while, I win, usually in doubles, every now and then in cutthroat (3 players) and very seldom in singles. When it comes to mother hood, every once in a while. I feel like I have a great mommy day, where I gave it my all, my emotions didn't rule me and I was successful in handling Emma's unexpected behavior. I win more often in parenting doubles as well. John brings the balance and sense of perspective that I often lack. Three player parenting is where we have the most success - remembering to include God in the everydayness of our lives - the mundane and the miraculous.
Every once in a while, on a really bad racquetball day, where nothing goes right, it brings me face to face with my very worst self. My inner voice tells me to quit, I am stupid (among other things), and I am wasting everyone's time by playing. I plunge into a downward emotional spiral that easily bleeds over into other areas of my life. I recognize that voice, but can't always silence it. I am certain it stems from building my self esteem at an early age from performance, both athletically and academically. On my worst mommy days, that inner voice would have me believe I am failing miserably, that Emma deserves so much more than I have to offer and so does John, for that matter.
I could walk away from racquetball and at least avoid the confrontations with my very worst self, but it wouldn't really solve anything, just remove the outward circumstance that reveals a soul still so in need of changing, maturing and growing in my dependence on the Lord. Walking away from motherhood isn't an option. Even on my worst days I take great comfort in knowing God knew these days were coming and He still chose me to be Emma's mommy - me - flawed, broken, incomplete, imperfect me. And I do trust Him, even when I don't trust me.
Better days always come, both in racquetball and mothering, when my perspective is right and I am able to enjoy the journey and not worry about keeping score. I realize anew my identity is Christ, not my performance, whether it be racquetball or motherhood, or a number of other things that I somehow try to use to measure my worth. I have worth, eternal worth, for one reason alone: because God loves me. That's it - He loves me. I can't add to it or take away from it - just learn to accept it and revel in it. He loves me.