I'm an open book. Most people who know me know that I am one to talk things out. I need to vent. I always say I'm on a "need to know" basis... what I don't know KILLS me, but what I know I can deal with.
In my years of parenting (my poor kids will tell you) I had to discuss ... EVERYTHING. If one of the boys was upset about something - I wanted to talk it out. Sometimes they didn't want to talk, but I always believed things could only get better by sharing those feelings that are sometimes held in. I don't know how my kids feel about it now, but it always made me feel better!
For me, the hardest thing as a mother is watching your child go through difficulties.
The very first time I felt it was when Kale was about 4 years old and had an experience one Sunday evening in the church nursery. He said, "Mommy, W was jumping on my legs with his cowboy boots and hurting me." Immediately, my hackles went up.
"What?! Tell me what happened." He recounted the story again to me and I nearly turned the car around to go find the boy myself. Then, he told me that Miss Brenda (Jamie's mom) was in the nursery and when she saw what little W was doing to my (precious, sweet, innocent) child she picked him up and held him in her lap for the rest of the hour. I felt much better, although the desire to get a hold of that boy was not totally gone.
What is it that kicks in to a mother when someone is threatening ill will toward their child? Don't even get me started on the time some boys in middle school knocked Tyler to the ground and proceeded to pummel him! Something to do with the principal's office and contacting the police if those boys even breathed near my child again....
It doesn't get any easier when they are 8, 10, or even 19 or 21. And still yet, sometimes they don't want to talk to you about it or to help them with it. They are still your babies and you want to protect them from pain... even if they've caused some of it themselves.
My most pain-filled moments as a mother have been when my children have made decisions that go against what they know is right. It literally hurts my heart. And THEN I think about the things I do that bring pain to my God's heart... and I have clarity. An "aha" moment.
From the moment I looked in to each of my boy's eyes in the delivery room (ok, probably from the time I saw blue on the little stick), I have given completely of myself to being the best mother I could be for them and in the great scheme of things I think I've done (mostly) okay. There are times of pain and trial, but there is also great joy.
Having small children is challenging, exhausting, fun.
Having grown children is sometimes challenging, sometimes exhausting, and incredibly rewarding! (Especially when they tell you how much they love and appreciate all you do... and just call to see how your day's gone.) I am blessed.
For those of you beginning your journey in motherhood, be consistent (I swear, that's the toughest part of parenting!)
Love them... and laugh with them!!
And if you haven't seen this book - if you have little boys, it's a must. You will cry. Every time.
I bought one for each of my boys when they were 4 and 2, and wrote a special letter to them inside and have held on to them for later.
Isaiah 40:11 says:
"He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young."
Where would I be without His leading? And some days, like today, I need that sweet reminder.
* * * * * * * * * *
EDIT: After I published this post, I noticed in the picture of the boys together (the bottom photograph) that Kale has his Batman band aids on his thumbs. This is the little trick we used to get him to quit sucking his thumb. I think I have a picture somewhere of him sleeping in the "thumbs up" position with those band aids on. Hilarious.