How many times do folk stop me and say: “Those aren’t all yours are they?” But really they are all mine… And that is very closely followed by how busy I must be… And they are so right I am busy, full time busy!!! The amount of work required to raise eight wonderfully creative kids is incredible… Let’s be honest: Just the laundry is incredible. But in a GOOD way!!! I have a feeling the amount of work raising one child is quite as much as raising a handful, or more than a handful because mothers do put all their hearts into it. And I know that this sounds totally idealistic, but hear me out…
One of the most surprising things for me, when I became a parent, was just how very much you love your own kids and like most people I thought I would never love another as I loved my first. Surprise: Your love just grows. And I have had people stop me and say “How could you love them all.” Seriously, folks stop me and ask me that!!! The answer is always the same: “Easy, your love just grows.”
Now, for all the love I have for my kids I was never quite prepared for another parenting surprise and that is all the faults I see in them quite as much as I do, as they get older!!! I never thought that my kids would disobey quite as much as they do or be as unmotivated to work hard at projects or chores quite as much as they do, that they would make getting into the car a matter of negotiation of international proportion. Something as simple as just sitting in church on the pew, without saying in a stage whisper “Is it finished YET? She’s got a pink button on her dress, my dress doesn’t have a pink button,” followed by a flay of misery under the pew just out of reach!!! Grab your seats, because I had a vision that my children would leap to serve with all their strength on a daily basis. In fact I thought my children would be perfect. They are a gift from the Lord after all.
Turns out they are perfect, they have their faults of course, but the main reason why I am so very good at noticing their faults is that I am so very good at pretending that I have none. Turns out my mothering uniform isn’t always quite starched and sometimes there are quite a few cracks in it. How often do I moan that they aren’t ready for school in the morning when I have gotten up late, how often does school drag into the afternoon because I have been distracted. How often have they not gotten round to their chores because I have said: “Let’s just read another chapter.” Turns out my children have so many more faults when I have been to bed too late, or I haven’t remembered to have a snack. I shouldn’t be amazed, I really know it and just don’t care to admit that my grumpy attitude doesn’t make their behavior worse but it does make mine intolerable!!!
Now that my kids are getting older and I am realizing just how fast this whole “raising kids time” in our life really does pass, I have been wondering what my kids will remember best about their mom, and while I was a little nervous to interview them it did occur to me that for all the fun and effort that I do make, they may well remember me telling them to tidy their room for school in the morning better than they remember buckets of play-do and endless stories.
Turns out these wonderfully crazy children are my gift from the Lord, for a time, because I need extra-special training and refining. Clearly I need more refining than most, and their imperfections are my training ground. It is one thing to say your kids are a gift from the Lord and quite another to act it out. Lets face it actions really do speak so much louder than words. Just lately I have been making the effort to lecture less and act more. Yes I can lecture better than all of you, I can go on and on and on about anything!!! Luckily my kids are articulate enough to mention that I may be going on… somewhat!! I can also be really skilled as the “grand martyr of motherhood” and let me say it again, actions speak louder than words… no wonder my children aren’t always leaping to serve!!!
Turns out Matthew 7:3-5 was written just for me…
I have a feeling the best way for them to have a pile of happy memories may well be for me to stop looking for the sawdust in their eyes and start working on the plank in my own. And while my kids grow up living and learning and exploring each day it is my fervent prayer that I will leave them with happy memories and a heart to serve the Lord with all their strength. So while I pray for their future, and their jobs one day and their future families, I also pray for their past and their memories that they might know that, while I tripped and splattered through a forest along the way, I really did love them with all my heart and that they remember the good times we had together.