Six years into this mothering gig and I’m a ragged new version of my old self. The wear-and-tear of rearing a strong-willed child etching a forever imprint upon my heart, though you recognize it by the wrinkles and fatigue, is taking it’s toll.
As a natural born people pleasing extrovert I wasn’t prepared to feel a need to crawl into a hole and retreat. I use to like being around people and interacting with them, but with my life is on display everywhere, because parenting isn’t something you can shelf and world changing kids make themselves known everywhere, home is a safe manageable space.
But life isn’t safe and we cannot manage a tail-spinning world to our satisfaction.
As mothers, it is our responsibility to teach our children to forage, survive and learn to thrive in the ever-changing world around them.
So we go.
Because we are learning, a necessary skill we will take to our grave.
And there are the days, like the other day when we ventured to the pool where opportunities to practice abound. Reminding my son to be considerate of the man enjoying the rise of summer on the nearby chaise after a cannonball only to turn and correct my daughters screech-whining I refuse to grow accustomed to, I held my breath as the man walked in my direction.
“Your doing a good job mom,” a smile sweeping across the man’s mature face.
Unrequested tears flooded my eyes and my heart felt like it had taken the first dose of an antibiotic.
Then he said more, “I work with kids everyday and you’re doing great! Keep up the good work!”
The work of a mother is largely in solitude with no immediate gauge of success because the need for training is constant. But this man reminded me of a deeper need to step back and admire the work God is doing in our lives. We will flounder when our focus is solely on the work at hand, when we don’t look to what God has been creating in us through the process.
Though it seems we are the featured performers by nature of being a parent, we are only a tool for His handiwork. When you’d rather be my neighbor in solitude, take heart and venture out. And while out, shift the focus from the too long to-do list of child rearing and find rest in the faithfulness of our Creator. With our diligent steps, He is faithful to chisel, sand and smooth His work in both our hearts and our children’s.