I actually wrote this piece several years ago. Today my son turns 20. Twenty. No longer a baby, no longer a boy scout, a dancer, or a teenager. He is really and truly a man, and I couldn’t be more proud of him.
So take heart, my mama friends who struggle with kids who learn differently, kids who stretch you, who baffle you, who make you doubt your ability to do this momming gig. Our Father’s got them. And in His time, they will turn out to be far more than you dare to imagine…
Better Than I Imagined
My finger was bleeding. As I watched the crimson bead form on my fingertip I wished, not for the first time, that I was more skilled with a sewing needle. I reflexively put the injured digit in my mouth and looked down at the size 10 men’s ballet slipper resting in my lap. I had to get the elastics on before my son’s next lesson. Resuming my work, I smiled as I thought of all that had led to this rather surreal moment. My son, the ballerina?
My last nerve was exposed and raw, just waiting for a spark that would ignite it like the fuse on a stick of dynamite. When my daughter entered the room in tears, the match was lit.
We’ve been in the middle of rehearsals for a theatrical production and the choreography wasn’t turning out as she’d hoped. The grand visions in her head simply weren’t panning out in the sphere of reality and as a result, she felt stuck and unable to continue.
This sweet, smart, sensitive daughter of mine is my polar opposite in many ways. Most notably, she is emotionally expressive, while I am not. My daughter and I have a major disconnect in this area, and as I said, on this particular day I was already operating with the last nerve ready to be tweaked.
At the risk of destroying all ‘good mama’ cred I may possess, I have to make a confession here. Being a mother did not come naturally to me. Feeling only a profound weariness at the birth of my firstborn, the first thing I wanted to do afterwards was eat. I was famished. The only tears I almost shed that day were for the hospital enchiladas they brought me. Never had institutional food tasted so good. Only after I had enjoyed my feast did I wonder where they’d taken my baby.
That stings to admit.
“Can we hang out tomorrow, Mama?” My 13 year old daughter asked. I assured her that we would indeed make the time to do something together, glad she wanted to spend time with me. We chattered a bit more when she said something that struck me like a hammer.
“You know, I love to go shopping or play cards or walk with you, but it means a lot more when you are the one who asks me. It tells me that you actually like hanging out with me.”
Now, I pride myself on being the sort of mama who will set aside the to-do list whenever possible if the kids are needing some mommy time and that’s indeed a good thing. However, I realized that I have fallen into the habit of allowing the kids to direct when those times happen. I wait for them to tell me of their need for quality time rather than taking the reigns and suggesting it myself. It honestly never occurred to me what message it would send if I were to occasionally ask them for some time.
So now I must ask myself, do I actually want to spend time hanging out and chatting with my kiddos, or are they just another duty to check off my list? The answer is easy. I really, really like my kids. I love spending time with them, seeing what ideas they come up with and watching the wheels turning in their amazing brains. There’s no one on the planet I’d rather spend my hours with than these four precious people and their daddy.
The real question then becomes, do they know that? Do they know that this mama is absolutely over-the-moon crazy about her chicks? That I think they’re fun and interesting and worth spending time with?
They sure will now, because I want my actions to say loud and very, very clear: Mom thinks you are super groovy!
Grace and peace,
Photo credit: Featured image by dolgachov at bigstockphoto.
Instead of the usual Friday Q&A, I want to take the opportunity to share a few sites to help you plan the upcoming holiday, and since I’m actually on vacation at the moment, loving on my own peeps, I’ll keep this short and sweet.
For your overly active little people, here’s a great article with some games to keep ’em moving…and hopefully to run off some of the inevitable Valentine’s Day sugar high!
Active Valentine’s Day Party Games
Here’s some ideas based on love languages. These ideas would be great any time of year!
25 Valentine’s Gift Ideas Based on the 5 Love Languages
And here’s some fantastic ideas for family activities that incorporate faith and serving others with your holiday fun!
10 Ideas: Valentine’s Ideas for Your Family
Being Valentine-challenged, I loved these articles! I hope you enjoy them too and that they spark some fun and creative ideas for you to use with your family this Valentine’s Day!
Grace and peace,
Photo by Actina at Pixabay
“If I hear you two argue one more time today I’m going to duct tape you together until you learn how to get along!”
The kids knew I was teasing…sort of. They also knew that when I uttered this lighthearted threat, I really was at the end of my emotional endurance with their bickering and arguing. Nothing frays my mama nerves quite like sibling conflict.
Last week’s Q&A was from a mama who is at her wit’s end with the kid battles, and while Cristina Grau and I answered from more of a heart training angle, I think it’s worth also looking at some positive ways to foster love between siblings.
The girl’s face was tomato red, round and glistening with sweat. Breath huffing like an enraged bull, she charged. Holding up our spears, carefully crafted fir branches sharpened to fine points, we held the line and drove her back into our makeshift prison. Righteous indignation welled up in our prisoner and burst forth in a scream of fury. Head thrown back, white fists clenched at her sides, she howled her impotent rage to the trees above. With widespread feet planted in the dirt, our spears gripped with firm determination, we looked on passively as our captive crumpled to the ground sobbing, her fighting spirit released to the sky, leaving her defeated.