Mothers #9 — The Children
(Originally posted May 12, 2017)
These are my five kids. They were great little kids and now they’re amazing adults. I love them. Each one of them. Deeply. Wholeheartedly. Unconditionally.
We’ve been through a lot together. We’ve all grown up together. Perhaps the most difficult thing about mothering is that it does’t come with one fail-safe instruction manual. If it did, I can promise you, I would have read it. Dozens of times. I would have done my best to apply it. Instead, all I could do, was do my best – period. And my best has been anything but perfect.
I thank my kids, for not only endowing me with that all-encompassing, messy, ennobling, emotionally-charged title of “Mother”, but for putting up with me while I fumbled through trying to figure out the application of all that comes with it. They and Dave have been through it all with me.
I know they’ve seen me at my worst, but I’d also like to think they’ve seen me at my best. They’ve seen me when I’ve been short on sleep and long on expectations. They’ve seen me lose my patience and lose my temper. They’ve heard me rail on them and (regrettably) yell at them, and plead with them and pray for them. They’ve seen me full of faith and full of fear regarding them. They’ve driven me to my wits end and to my knees in prayer more often than I can count. There are times we have been totally in sync and other times we have been totally at odds. In other words, I think our mother/child relationship has been pretty normal. 😉
It has been my great privilege to have them in my home and to call them my own. All five of them. They have similarities. They had the same two parents, the same home, the same neighborhood, the same meals etc. But each of them is unique. And I have loved and learned something different from each of them. And I still do. They brought different strengths and challenges to the table. The older ones had different parents than the younger ones – not just because they were different, but because Dave and I were different. Our principles and our priorities were a constant, but our circumstances and our approaches to their individual needs evolved as we evolved. In all honesty, it has been a big, all-important, all-consuming, all-in, 30+ year experiment. And we’re still inputing the data and analyzing the results.
And nothing has mattered more to me, or been more satisfying to me, or been more frustrating to me, or been more demanding of me. Looking back I can say I wouldn’t have it any other way. In the thick of it, I probably couldn’t have said that. I would have given anything to have it all be smooth-sailing – no bumps, no riffs, no set-backs; no heartaches, no pushbacks, no disagreements. But now I see that that’s what mothering is all about. It’s not just about what you can teach your children (which is critically important) but also about what you can learn from them. And it’s about what you can learn about your children and what you can learn about yourself through the whole arduous process. It’s an education of the soul. That’s why it’s so important for all parties involved. You learn things that simply cannot be learned in any other way. For “there is no other way”. It’s by Divine design. Eve figured that out. That is what I’ve come to understand. I know it.
What I don’t know is if my kids really understand just how stinking proud I am of them. How deeply grateful I am for each of them. How much I still think about them and pray for them and worry about them — even though they all have their own homes and their own families. Because even though they’re no longer under my roof, that doesn’t mean they’ll ever be out of my heart or ever out of my head. That’ll never change. That’s just part of being a mom. And I’m grateful to be a mom. And I’m even more grateful to be their mom.
3 John 4 “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
PS – I kind of lied. There is a parenting manual. It’s called “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” I’ve included a copy of it in the photos. There’s nothing comparable to it. Nothing. If you’re a parent or if you’re a child or if you ever hope to be one or if you ever were one, I highly recommend studying it and applying its precepts.