"the mother loves her child most
divinely, not when she surrounds him with comfort
and anticipates his wants,
but when she resolutely hold him to the highest standards
and is content with nothing
less than his best."
Hamilton W. Mabie
i wonder if Hamilton was speaking of his own mother, after he had made it through those turmulous years that seem, at least right now, to last much longer than we ever imagined. i remember when the biggest crisis of the day was, well, negotiating breakfast cereal choices with Gideon, or rescuing him from a tree top, while 7 months pregnant. Thaddeus, we just tried to keep him from falling. He was always falling. My mom thought he should wear a helmet...and of course, you couldn't really understand anything he said, but speech therapy fixed that problem. Hanah, her biggest issue when she was little, was her unwillingness to part with her toothbrush and put on clothes..and Caleb, he just wanted to be one of the adults, always joining in, from a very young age with the adults. Babies, toddlers, young children..they are complex and busy and have more energy than ever...but there is an understanding. mom is mom. mom knows best. mom puts me to bed and i sleep.mom knows i will be there in the morning. i bathe, i change my clothes, i go to sunday school, i eat well, i brush my teeth, i hug and kiss my mom often.i go to her and tell the truth, even if it might get me in trouble.
and then something changes....
i remember the year we went to Mexico together. That was the summer that God spoke to me very clearly, more than once, and I don't claim that often. But I know without a doubt that He told me that I wasn't done yet. Parenting didn't end when they became teenagers. Parenting was still a full time, full throtle, fully invested job. My teenagers needed me to continue to be their parent. Not their friend, not their scapegoat. Not their vending maching. Their parent. I needed to be ready for a whole new experience. And honestly, it's been the hardest yet. I love my kids so much. I recognize their amazingness daily! But I also see the faults, the immaturinty, the selfishness, the lost paths that some of them are following. And I too wonder...why? how? how long for? The fears that come with this stage are louder and stronger than any I can remember when they were young.
It would be so easy for me to doubt myself. To doubt them. To blame myself. To act out of guilt rather than wisdom. Yet I choose not to. With the help of my incredible husband, who constantly reminds me to keep my perspective. What I know is that I have parented the best I could with the skills I have. I am constantly learning new skills and working towards becoming a better parent but I know that I am not responsible for the choices they make. I am not responsible to make their lives "comfortable". I am meant to be their mentor, their guide, their parent. And take care of myself in the meantime. Probably, being a role model in my life is the most powerful witness I can give my children. They are watching me, I know they are. They are watching how I deal with my stress, how I deal with my friendships, how Owen and I love each other and work out our differences. They watch how I deal with my illness.
So I think that is it. I think that for this stage of my parenting I need to be a great example and that means I need to get myself into the best shape of my life. Wow! This writing has helped me clarify that for me. i was feeling like I was rambling on at you but now suddenly! Clarity. That's it Suzy! I need to be an example. I need to be a leader that they can follow, when they choose to.That's it. Simple. Work on myself, show my work, be an example, love myself, love them. Trust that God is going to complete the good work he started in me and in them.
i dunno. i am going to ponder this for a bit. thanks for sharing yesterday. hopefully some of this made sense.
i am tempted to delete this.
i won't though.
not yet at least.