Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Parenting to Potential

May 19, 1997. 3:14 a.m. In the months, hours, and minutes leading up to that life-changing moment, I knew I was going to have a blessed addition to my life. What I didn’t know was that my life was about to change at the most fundamental level.

All my preconceptions about God, my life plans, parenting, relationships, and who I was as a person went out the window that day. Like my figure, there was the pre-baby me and the new me.

Having a baby caused me to trust God more; examine my relationships with self, God, and others more; and live in the present. As I rocked my baby to sleep in the early morning hours, the past and the future melted away. During the daytime, lack of sleep made me feel like my neurons were shriveling away; instead, new connections were building, making me smarter in the ways that matter. I felt weak but in that humble state asked for grace...and that grace made me stronger.

In a few hours my baby girl will be 14. When I look at her, I see myself in many ways, but I see other things that just amaze me. I don’t know what God’s plans are for her, but I know she is using the gifts He gave her to become what she is meant to be. At every stage of development, it is like watching a miracle happen.

As we approach each stage for the first time, nothing in the books can fully prepare us to handle them. It is only with the support of family, prayer, and quiet listening for the guidance of the Holy Spirit that we can get through it with grace. And, like with every child’s stage of psychosocial development, when we get through that stage with him or her, we become stronger too.

Not only does God have a plan for every child; He also uses them to help their parents fulfill their own potential. Love them at every stage!

It is you who were the author of those events and of what preceded and followed them. The present, also, and the future you have planned. Whatever you devise comes into being;
the things you decide on come forward and say, 'Here we are!' All your ways are in readiness, and your judgment is made with foreknowledge.
- Judith 9:5b-6

Monday, May 9, 2011

Every Day is Mothers’ Day

My Mom
Nice, loving,
Hardworking, moneymaking, caring,
Very nice to people
Happy Mother’s Day 2011

This was the card my ten-year-old son gave to me the day after Mother’s Day. He had written it in school, of course, as the teacher has them do every year, but had forgotten to give it to me, as I knew to be the case.

I was just as pleased to receive this on Monday afternoon. The adjectives I knew came straight from his heart, and I was pleased to see how he saw me. It was nicely balanced between the characteristics of the traditional mom and those of the modern mom. My Monday was much more relaxing than my Sunday, and I soaked it all in.

Mother’s Day started at 7 a.m., when I was woken by my alarm and repeatedly went to my twelve-year-old daughter’s room to wake her up for her softball games. It was a lovely 70-degree-day with sun and a breeze; it was warm enough to wear shorts and cool enough to wear a sweatshirt. I scored the full fourteen innings of the double header, during which my daughter’s entire team played great.

At home, my husband went food shopping, tended to the younger kids, and then took my eldest daughter to her softball practice. We finally met up at the latter practice, where I opted to stay and bask in the sun and other mothers’ company while he took the younger ones home.

Once home, I took a nap while dinner was cooking. (The previous day had been even busier and I had opted to order dinner out that night instead.) After dinner and coffee, I got to work on a 3,000-word essay that was due Monday morning. I finished that up around 2 a.m. and slept until 10.

It is my freelance writing job that has taken me away from my blog lately. I take what jobs I need to pay for our growing sports bill and the gas to get to all the games. I opt to work at night so I can concentrate better and free up my days to do all the things we do.

The kids like to look over my shoulder. “What are you working on today, Mom? How much are you getting paid?” I like that they take an interest in how I make a living. I think that my husband and I set a good example to them of how a couple can and should cooperate as equals, sharing in household and family duties, while budgeting according to the family’s priorities.

The kids need me less in some ways, but more in other ways. They force me to toe the line on a daily basis. Comment too much on my almost-14-year-old’s Facebook page and she tells me to stop it. Fail to comment for a few days and I get, “Why didn’t you say anything about the drawing I posted?”

Mostly they just need me to wash their uniforms for their daily games. On Friday I neglected to do the laundry and Saturday was yelling at them because they couldn’t find their uniforms. Right before game time I found them on the bottom of the laundry basket. I took them all with the appropriately colored shirt minus the proper logo.

The drier stops. Gotta go fold that right away because this mommy doesn’t have time to iron.

Every day is Mothers’ Day.