The storm in our part of the country in the last few weeks has nothing on the storm in my heart...
Being the mother of 4 children, I can tell you I have experienced more levels of emotions than anyone ever could have prepared me for . My husband and I have spent countless hours nurturing their hearts, changing their diapers, band-aiding their boo-boos, and taking them for ice cream when their hearts were broken. We have spent time in the emergency room, parent teacher conferences, church trips, vacations, sports, birthday parties and picking up from friends houses. We have spent countless amounts of money on shoes,clothing, fast food, video games, vacations, potato chips and soda. We have replaced furniture,carpet, electronics and appliances. We have sacrificed friendships and endured hardships for the sake of our family.
And now that our children are grown and moving out on their own, I wish I could do it all over again. I would say things to them that I never said, I would change the things I didn't act on immediately and I would have read the bible to them more. I would never miss a Sunday of church, and church camp would have been mandatory. There would be no tv in every room, no video games or cable access 24-7. There would be college funds, car funds and insurance funds. There would be more vegetables.
I cannot go back and do it all over again, and I think my children are going to survive. I know parents always say they want more for their kids than they had- but is that really such a good idea? We have 5 working tvs in this house, two Kindles, Three lap tops and a desktop, 3 working video game systems, 2 televisions with satellite access, and not one bookshelf.
(We use the library, and the Kindles, so technically we do read. Well, some of us read. Some of us - just don't.)
Instead of beating my self up about my children and my failures- as I see them- as a parent, maybe I should be grateful they are all healthy, alive and independent. Maybe I should just ask God to bless them and intercede on their behalf because I am their mother and I love them. Maybe I should stop comparing myself to those other moms who feed their kids organic carrots and have never visited a fast food restaurant for dinner. Maybe I should learn from Martha when she was preparing for a visit from Jesus instead of focusing on him. After all, if I had done that all along, maybe I wouldn't have those guilty regrets in the first place.
I do not want to discourage mommas who are having moments of being overwhelmed and trying to get it all done. But I will say this- when you are sitting where I am sitting, and two of your babies have flown the coop, been married and are developing families, and the other two babies are sprouting and trying out their wings, you realize that laundry, organic carrots and hair styles are not all that important. It doesn't matter what your mother in law says, or the lady at the boutique. The comments from other moms at the soccer field or the looks from the moms who lead the PTO are only going to last while they are being spoken. The second you walk away, they have all forgotten you and your brood- I can almost guarantee it.
And what does your brood remember?
That their momma chose their smile over laundry, their ice cream face over carrots and their splashing in the rain over keeping her hair tidy. They remember your encouragement as they head off to high school, and your tears as they get married. They remember your smile, your comforting hug and that where ever their momma is, that is where they will always belong- no matter what.
The storm in my heart will always rage for my children- they will always be the first people I want to share things with (after my hubby), and the ones I will hurt for, ache with and love in an emotional way that only a mother can understand. When I look at them I see freckles, dirt, milk mustaches and smiles. I see their accomplishments and I see their failure all as my own. I help them get up and dust off when they fall, and I still dry their tears when disappointed.
As this storm rages, a new storm is brewing, in the generation of my grandchildren. If you can believe it, this storm is stronger than the last, because I already know what its like to love a child of my own- and having them raise another generation is just absolutely breathtaking.
Praying for this generation and the next-in parenting and beyond.