I have a slight change in my blog as Mother’s Day approaches.
I just want to say Happy Mother’s Day to those who are anticipating children, to those who have them at home and underfoot, to those whose children have grown up long ago and to those who have lost their children through tragedy and loss.
And Happy Mother’s Day to those that wanted children and never got the opportunity to have them on this earth. To them I ask that the Lord would reveal to them the great influence they have had in people’s lives who may not be their child but whom they’ve loved just the same.
During this time I also wanted to joyfully relive a couple “mommy moments” of my own. Of course the joy is because most of those “mommy moments” were many yesterdays ago. Just kidding. But seriously, now I get to watch my four grown children go through similar things with their own children. And I also have the opportunity to have a younger one at home to do it all over again. At home or miles away you really never stop being a parent.
My first child was born when I was 19. I look back and realize how incredibly young I was. I made a comment once that I felt like people looked at me and assumed that I was a pregnant teenager. “Well”, said a friend, “you ARE a pregnant teenager.” Hmm, I guess I was. Nineteen is that weird age when you are no longer a kid, but not considered an adult, yet old enough to die for your country.
Then when I was pregnant with my 5th child I was on the opposite side of the spectrum. I was the older mom, the one considered “high risk”. I recall standing in line at a check out counter when this little girl, maybe 6, looks up at me and asks me if I was a grandma. I was pregnant, but not with my grandchild. I was hoping her mom would quickly complete her transaction.
As a parent you can be guaranteed that your children will use their ability to embarrass you. Some incidences you simply want to run and hide. Others are more light-hearted, like when one of my sons convinced me that he could sit by himself in the front row of the church when he was around 9. He leaned back in his folding chair (we didn’t have pews in that church) and fell during the service making a loud crash while also knocking over the chairs beside him. I sat quietly in my chair. The thought that rushed into my mind was, “boy I’m glad that’s not my kid“. It wasn’t intentional but I didn’t get up or even move. Some nice lady got up and helped him as I innocently sat seemingly oblivious to the incident. Oops.
As a mom, I’ve endured the sleepless nights of a newborn, of a sick child, of a loud slumber party (when no one slumbered) and waiting up for a teen not home yet from the dance.
There was never much “down time”. I have had the opportunity to go to wrestling matches, swimming practices, baseball and soccer games, gymnastics, dance and cheer amongst other events. One summer we almost lived in the van going from practice to practice and then from one game after the other. Of course there were concerts and the Christmas programs and birthday parties. I volunteered for EVERYTHING it seemed.
And then there were accidents. They each had their share but I was in the emergency room the most often with my second son, from getting attacked by a neighborhood dog which included many stitches, being hit in the eye with a paint ball gun (we thought he might lose his sight) to busting his arm which needed a couple of surgeries. And as they got older I got the call regarding car accidents (which fortunately was never major) and the call about a broken down vehicle when someone needed rescued.
There is emotional heartache that goes along with motherhood too. Several times the kids would come home saying someone was mean or said cruel things on the playground or someone was left out. And it was hard watching your child try so hard on the baseball team but rarely get to play. As they got older there were relationship dramas and sad breakups. I have walked with them through many disappointments. Sometimes they kept things hidden that eventually came out later in life.
One of the most difficult moments that I recall as a mother was when my six-year-old was lost in the mountains of Colorado when we had gone on a family camping trip. I was horrified. It took Search and Rescue and what seemed like forever (but was only a couple of hours) for him to be found. I counted it as one of my worst days and best days.
But there were also precious fun times. The most memorable times were those that were the least expensive, like when the kids would gather around me in the evening as I read to them and more recently listening to my youngest talk about her plans for her future. Then there were road trips, hiking adventures, watching movies together or just talking around the fire on a cool night.
I cannot count the hours I have spent praying for my kids. I would go into their bedrooms and cry out to God regarding a trial they were facing or simply pray for their futures. It broke my heart when my oldest left the house so quickly. It was hard to take when I waved goodbye to my second born as he left to Afghanistan, promising he’d return. It was heart wrenching to watch my daughter choose to join the Army and be stationed so far away. It seemed unfair to say goodbye to my youngest son as he hurriedly left the state as soon as he graduated.
Where did those moments disappear? That is what being a mother is all about. Loving your children through so much from the moment they are conceived until, well, forever. It’s about cherishing the moments we have together and then having the wisdom to know when to let go.
Fortunately for me I have the opportunity to have a younger one at home so I can enjoy the laughter and the heartaches all over again. And fortunately for me I have grown children that are a joy to visit and a joy to watch as they parent their own children.
Whatever part of this life you find yourself in today…Happy Mother’s Day.
“May your children rise up and call you blessed.” Proverbs 31:28
PS: Happy Mother’s Day to my mother who taught me how to be a mom and is still teaching me the wonderful qualities of motherhood.