Sunday, March 23, 2008


What is the phenomena of children? Thinking hard about it begins to be a bit weird. Is that because I'm the mom? I mean, think about it. For nine months this person formed inside my body. I think that's a little intimate. During that time, I knew it would be a person... someone who would develop into an adult with his or her own life... but not until he or she had gestated fully and been taken care of, guided, nurtured and taught enough to be able to live on his or her own.
During the time of care, guidance, nurturing and teaching I got a little attached to each of my children. I spent an inordinate amount of time with my children because they were with me so much. I got to see their little quirks, enjoy their development ("I wan' a hammagergerger!"), see the changes and personalities develop. I never resented all the time and energy it took... and it took a lot of both... I can't tell you how much... and because I took each day, each child, each facet of development seriously; maybe more energy and time than usual. I liked the job.

Now I know for a fact that I made a lot of mistakes. I know they each have some adjusting to do; relearning to do; changing some of their preconceptions; but at least they have something to work with... I mean rather than the way some kids I work with today who have very few tools to forge their own lives with and little in the way of foundation.

It's unfortunate that children and mothers don't have reciprocal experiences. I think of my own mother who probably spent an inordinate amount of time with me and my siblings... and I don't remember it... snippets here and there of memories... well, more than that really. I don't recall making biscuits hundreds of times with my mother, but I must have... because it is without thinking that I know how to do it. Likewise, my children do not remember the phonics lessons we did, the pre-reading skills I worked on with them or the thousands of books we read together but today they read stacks of books without blinking. (yay, by the way. I meant for you to.)

It's unfortunate that mothers are never satisfied with their children. Are they? I hear mothers say they are disappointed with their children's accomplishments (not me), or unhappy with their choices in significant others (not me), or what their children wear (not me) or how much they get to see them (me), or why they don't come to visit (i confess, me). BUT, on the other hand...

A smart mother thinks from her children's perspective. She remembers they have to think of their s.o.'s family, their father's family, their jobs, their interests, their schooling, their own committments, their friends, and all the other things they've built into their lives besides her... and actually... wasn't that the goal anyway? To prepare them to be able to manage their own lives on their own???!!! Well, of course.

But... although I hear women say they don't care if they ever see their kids again and they're only too anxious to get rid of them..... I will never forget the intimacy of holding that child for the first time... the beauty of that tiny face... the potential wound tight in that little body... the possibilities in that little brain... the Jeremy; the Sharah; the Misti; and the Darcy-ness of each one... becoming the adult they are now... growing and changing, morphing daily according to their environments, their experiences, the people around them, the complexities of their brains, the depth of their faith and psyche. I will always crave their company, desire to know them better, enjoy spending time with them. Revel in the joy of their very existence.

Do I NEED to be with them to enjoy my life? No. But life is so much more enjoyable when I can share life with them. I'm compelled to seek them out, and I celebrate this life that God has given me with four amazing people I can call my children for the rest of my life.

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