Today finally feels like Spring, am I right? I actually had the AC on in the car and heard the old familiar sounds of the children when they got in before the AC had kicked in, "It's so hot in here! OHHHHH! Why is it so hot?" In May I'm still kind and patient and respond with, "The air will start moving in a sec, hang in there guys, you'll be cool in just a minute". By August, my response is more like, "Oh, it's HOT? Really, our BLACK van attracted the sunlight and made it feel like 7000 degrees in here? I hadn't noticed. I was too busy listening to you complain about it all the way to Target where I bought you slushies, so you'd finally find something to be grateful for. Let me blow some of my own precious lung air on you to try and help cool you down. If I pass out and die, please have your father donate my body to science". At this point the children begin to look forward to school. I think it's nice of me to give them something to be excited about.
Motherhood sure is something isn't it? Mother's Day was yesterday, my 16th on this earth, and the gospel truth is that it gets more special every year. It's not just that I've kept my children alive another year, but it's that we've all learned and grown and changed, and my kids continue to be the best tool to help teach me to be less about me, and more about someone else.
The thing about motherhood for me is that the longer I am a mom, the more aware I am of what little control I have over the four people God has entrusted to Billy and I. The longer I am a mom, the more I have share my candy. The longer I am a mom, the more I have to share my heart. The longer I am a mom, the more I have to share my children.
The longer I am a mom, the harder the conversations are becoming. My dad gave Billy a birthday card the other day and in it he said, "I hate to tell you this, but it was easier in the olden days". While he doesn't win any awards for Most Encouraging Father-in-Law, I believe he is speaking the truth. The issues our kids face today are not simple. For example, I just found out that our school elected two girls as Prom King and Queen. No matter your opinion on it, explaining it to children does not come easily. How about politics? I long to speak with respect for the office of President, but, seriously, our options in 2016 don't exactly fill me with hope. And if we are choosing to not raise our kids in a giant bubble, talking about current events like ISIS, refugees, children dying from drinking dirty water…how do we face all of this as parents and not absolutely leave our kids depressed, scared, and afraid to grow up?
We have to figure this out. As parents we have the most important job we could ever have been given. Unfortunately we often lose sight of this, when we are trying to climb ladders to success. Sadly, we end up leaving our kids behind. We forget why we started climbing in the first place, and suddenly it becomes less about supporting a family, and more about status, money, and security. We forget that instead of being gone all the time making a name for ourselves, we should be at home playing catch and instilling hope in our kids' hearts. Being present in their lives, eating dinner around a table, having real conversations, driving them and their friends to practice, loving them through their mistakes, saying sorry when you mess up, and saying I don't know when you really have no idea---this is all what it means to be a parent. For this mom anyway.
Mother's Day was special here. There was nothing fancy, except a few more hugs than I normally get, and a dinner out with Billy. My teenagers had nothing in the way of gifts, but they were sweet which is gift enough. Will, my 11 year old who has a heart of gold, gave me a book of poems he'd worked on all year in school. There were limericks and haikus, descriptive poems, and simple ones. Almost all of them brought tears to my eyes, and all of them made me laugh, especially the one simply titled "Frank".
The longer I am a mother, the more aware of how flawed I am. The longer I am a mother, the more often I have to say sorry. The longer I am a mother, the more often forgiveness is granted to me. My four children, two biological, and two gifted through adoption, they are what I value most in this world. For some reason God saw fit to allow a mess like me to co-lead these people. The laundry, the sleepless nights, the letting go—I refuse to allow my fears make me less than what God has called me to be. I am no expert, nor am I savvy. Most days I barely get by. On my own I am incapable. But with God's grace, I will run alongside you through every mistake, challenge, victory and failure you face. I will always be your biggest fan. Get over it. This is who I was made to be. I'm your mom.