Tag Archives: Motherhood

Time- a priceless Black Friday door buster

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Time- a priceless Black Friday door buster

I came across the story below reading quickly through my emails.  I had a chance to rummage through my in box, in solitude, as my daughter napped from our earlier-than-dawn retail rendezvous.   The words immediately resonated with me.  Just days before my daughter asked me to watch a movie with her…with one condition.  She wanted me to just watch the movie– no magazines, no emails, no crafting–nothing.  Just watch the movie.

This wasn’t the first time she expressed disappointment that I multi-tasked when we were together.  In my world, what’s the harm in shrinking the ever-growing pile of junk mail while we watch a mullet- haired Uncle Jesse teach an important lesson to Michelle…one more time?

Wanting to be a good and dutiful mother, of course I put everything aside…everything except  my 12 year old daughter who wanted to spend time with me.  We didn’t talk much.  I don’t even remember what movie we watched.  Yet, thinking back, I wish I could freeze that moment of time–where we were just together.  It meant more to her than I understood and therefore it meant the world to me.

I can hear the voices around me reminding me that time flies and I’m lucky she wants to spend time with me.  They are right.  There was nothing momentous about that night.  Actually, we both drifted off to sleep while the t.v. played on.  But, I spent time with my daughter. Something she requested that was so easy for me to give.  After reading the story below, I realize that “time” is a better gift than anything that could be purchased in a Black Friday deal.

You can imagine how the story in today’s news touched my heart.  I hope it touches yours as well.  I’m so thankful for my family and for the lessons they teach me, especially my daughter who is a million times wiser than her age would suggest.

This story is reprinted from the Facebook page of David Rosenman- November 22, 2015

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This morning, at her request, I took our 9-year-old daughter to a coffee shop. She brought with her a little crocheting activity; I brought the newspaper, a notebook & pen, and my phone. This was going to be an outing not unlike others we’d had before: while sitting at the same table, we’d do our own things — she’d keep herself occupied with something, and I’d catch-up on emails, organize my week, get work done, etc. Sound familiar? Today, she made one additional request: “Daddy, can you not read the paper or doodle or check email today? Can we just be together?” I’m not trying to be melodramatic; that was her question. So today, we were together. She showed me her yarn project. I recalled the day she was born. We compared notes about whether or not couples at other tables were on “dates” (she likes to impersonate people on dates — resting her smiling face on her hand and practicing a starry-eyed stare). She told me about her friends and their hamsters. I watched her chew her breakfast sandwich and melted a little bit as I thought about how much I love her. I wished it hadn’t taken her past experience and her courageous reaching out for me to give her the attention she so wanted and needed.
Before we left, I went up to the counter to order a take-out snack for her brother. When I returned to our table, there was a note, left face-down, in front of my seat. My daughter told me that a woman, before leaving the coffee shop, had asked her if I was her father and said that the message was for me. I looked around (nobody was there) and flipped over the paper to find the words below. This anonymous message was enough of a reinforcement for me, that I hope more people might be guided by its power and by its author’s thoughtfulness. 

He tried, but he couldn’t do it…

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I was trained early about weekly church attendance.  If I had been born on a Saturday, my mom probably would have had me in church the next morning.  She would have looked great in her hospital gown topped off with some sort of amazing wool felt hat she made, her Sunday purse (I can still see her making the “switch out” on her bed), and girdle -the sixties version of Spanx.  

We would have attended the early service.  Not quite clear why my parents couldn’t wrap their heads around 11:00 church.   My family has always been one of the few families in the neighborhood awake at the crack of dawn on a day when most were trying to get a few extra hours of sleep because they had no responsibilities for the day. 

Admittedly, there is a compelling reason to make the effort to attend church on Sunday.  Not everyone gets it.  My parents made sure I did.  As I got older, I tried other routines on occasion, but somehow, in time, I would always be drawn back to being in a house of worship on Sunday morning celebrating the goodness of our God.  I have to add, I easily wrapped my head around the 11:00 service.  I guess it was my ultimate form of rebellion against my parents.

Now I’m the mom of a family. I’m not quite as committed as my mom was to making sure we walked through the church doors at every opportunity they were open.  However, I am/we are regular attenders and church is a priority in my life.

A few Sundays back the weather was horrible.  We made the decision to stay home from church.  I got this brilliant idea to try something I had never ever tried before in my home.  I actually had to build up my courage to even allow the words to roll from my lips.  We were going to try having a family devotion at our kitchen table in place of the church service we were missing. While attending church is something my family is very familiar with, having church in our home was waaaaayyyyy out there.

Earlier, I received a newsletter that included spiritual activities for the family to do in order to reinforce their Christian walk.  This was going to be our guide and would help take a bit of the fear out of the equation.   Since this was my idea, and very foreign to my family, I was going to be the leader.  I said upfront I knew this was unusual and we might feel awkward, but I felt it was important to live our lives, in faith, out from under the bushel.  

I babbled out some sort of prayer asking God to be present in our worship and to lead us through the time.  I must not have said quite the right words as it soon became obvious that the devil thought he was invited as well.  We started with two of the activities suggested in the newsletter and then got to the heart of the matter.  Along the way my husband was very tolerant of the experience, but my daughter could not have wanted to be further away.  You could tell she was mentally counting down the time to when she could get the ipad into her hands to play some silly gorilla game.  It was frustrating, but I decided to push on through it.

Now we are at the core message of our devotion and guided to a reading in the Bible from the book of Zephaniah.  This is not a book of the Bible I’m very familiar with.  I probably couldn’t spell the name if it wasn’t right in front of me.  The message was about how God uses discipline in relation to his beloved people of Israel who were rebelling against Him.  Zoom forward a few thousand years and this very situation was happening at my kitchen table.  My daughter was yawning, tapping her fingers, sighing- generally making it obvious she wanted no part of this experience.

I asked her to read the suggested passage from the Bible thinking at least she will get involved.  I couldn’t see him, but the devil must have been sitting there with a giant grin across his face.  Zephaniah 1:4-6– the gist is God is recognizing His people are complacent, worshipping false gods, thinking God wouldn’t do anything about their sin.   My daughter is rolling her eyes, mumbling the words, being dramatic about the imposition that this entire experience is having on her life.  I can feel the devil just laughing at us.

My husband erupts in frustration about the way my daughter is behaving.  They get into verbal arm wrestling competition and neither of them is giving up.  I’m trying to get focus back on the readings.  I realize I’m witnessing the live action version of the story from the Bible- everyone rebelling, behaving in ways that are contrary to God’s plan.  Tears are streaming down my face. I was losing the battle.  My daughter was completely wrong in her behavior.  My husband responded in a reasonable way and as a father would.  I felt the moment was in slow motion and it lasted forever.  This devotion was going, was gone, down the toilet. 

My daughter gets sent off to her room.  My husband is bringing down his blood pressure.  I’m holding the Bible realizing the devil won this round.  I read the next selection from Zephaniah (3:14-17) to myself: 

“Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil. On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak.The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

He will quiet you by his love.  He is in our midst.  He has cleared away my enemies.  The devil tried, but he couldn’t do it.  I wasn’t going to give up.  My husband came down from his mountain of anger.  My daughter knew she had been wrong.  They talked it out in time.  Peace and calm was restored to my family.  

I haven’t suggested a family devotion since that time.  We did return to church the next Sunday.  My daughter still rolls her eyes and shows her obvious disinterest at times.  My husband gets frustrated and they get into power battles.   I get involved as needed to bring reason.  Just to be clear, on any given day, my husband and I switch roles about who is going to battle against the pre-teen ninja that enters into our house from time to time.  I don’t want to paint the picture that I’m consistently at ease with what goes on at our kitchen table.  It’s definitely not that way.

What is that way is that I really believe the devil saw an opportunity in our lives and took a hold of it. He knew I was uncomfortable about doing this devotion thing, that I might falter, that I might back down and crawl to a corner.  He tried to prevail.  He used my weakness and my family.  

What he didn’t count on was the commitment I have to God, who I know is with me at all times.  Who I know loves me and my family. Who I know takes care of us no matter what.  He didn’t count on the strong gene pool that came from my parents and their parents before,  who committed their lives to their faith and teaching their children about Jesus by living their lives as they do and did.    He didn’t count on a Mother and Father who made sure their children were in church every Sunday of their young lives at 8:30 in the morning while the rest of the world slept.  

As I look back I realize the direct correlation to building my faith and standing up to the devil’s ways. If I am weak in faith that makes the devil strong over me. But, he can’t be stronger than God. The other day I heard a comment about people thinking God and the devil were on equal plateaus- enemies of equal strength.  It was pointed out,  God created this being, who chose by his own accord, to turn away from God.  He has nothing on God so he nothing on me.  

Set your alarms-I’ll see you in church in the morning…at 11:00. 

 

“Mommitude”

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Years before I had my daughter I questioned if I could really ever be a good mom.  I had an amazing example to follow in my life and I just didn’t know if I could be on par with that.  As a young adult I saw wonderful examples of motherhood surrounding me and it was intimidating.  I really figured I’d mess it up so it was better not to play in that game.  Admittedly, there was a selfish angle to putting off the thought of motherhood, but ultimately it really came down to the question of whether or not I could be good enough. I loved kids. People would tell me I would make a good mom.  Yet I doubted.  

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In 2002 I learned I was going to be put to the test; and in 2003 the final exam began.  It’s an exam I believe you take in parts and as I understand it, you never really complete it.  I’ve gotten through the initial phase, I believe. My child is still alive, has a relatively good self image and doesn’t appear to have any permanent damage that I can see- at least thus far.  

Today I experienced an impromptu “pop” quiz and I learned I have developed some “Mommitude” over time. There’s still room for improvement, but the oral exam of this day went pretty well.  I have a certain level of pride about that, but mostly I am humbled (as I should be). I am humbled that God put a life into my world that I am to foster along, provide and care for, guide through tough times, celebrate with, and at some point let loose on the world hopefully making it a better place to be.  

I’m getting way ahead of myself though.  

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For months my 10 year old daughter was focused on getting her ears pierced. I thought she was too young to be responsible, but after lots of discussion, my husband’s agreement, and her persuasiveness, I decided it would be o.k. to do.  I timed it all so that her ears would get well-adjusted to the foreign objects punctured into each lobe in time for us to give her new earrings for Christmas.  

As we ventured off to the mall to get the procedure done there was a sense of anxiousness in the air. It seemed fairly normal.  As we hustled down the corridor to get to the piercing shop butterflies in my daughter’s stomach were noted.  Reasonable to me.  We go through the experience of selecting the perfect pair of starter earrings, having her ears swabbed and marked, and getting the little bear to hold onto for security (not sure if that’s for the child or the parent, but in our case the child held it).

The first earring was injected.  We got through it.  The second earring was inserted and my daughter had an odd look on her face. Within seconds her eyes rolled back in her head and she passed out.  Thankfully she was sitting and I caught her right away.  That part of the test was awful.  My fear level was at the max, but I got into action and took the typical steps to try and bring consciousness back.  All the while I was reciting what I had learned in first-aid:  if the face is red raise the head-if the face is pale raise the tail.  By the time I got to figuring the rhyme out, my daughter was coming to.   I clearly recall her expression and her asking why are you saying my name like that- what happened?

It was a great story to share and my daughter seemed to enjoy the attention this little incident brought.  She did a great job caring for her ears and avoided those nasty infections that I experienced when I was a kid (where was hand sanitizer then?).  It didn’t take long before talk of wearing new earrings.  I explained we had to wait.  We had to be patient.  Christmas was coming etc. etc.  And indeed, Christmas came and my daughter was generously treated to new earrings by several family members.

Enthusiastically we tried a brand new set.  The nerves mounted again.  I advised about breathing this time…like remember to do it.  I pulled out the original earrings.  The response was, Mom I’m woozy.  Here we go again I thought.  However, I talked her through it and we were able to get two new earrings inserted.  Perhaps she was being a little dramatic when she asked to have help sitting down and for some water.  However, she did seem a little pale.  That moment passed and the new earrings looked great.  The test was going pretty well now.

Time to change the earrings again.  She wanted help.  We took out the current studs.  She was getting a little uptight. We decided to wait a day.  We tried again.  Out with the alcohol, washing our hands and picking the pair to wear. Drama sets in.  Mom, I feel like I did when I got my ears pierced.  I need to sit down.  Can you get me a glass of water?  I don’t feel good.  O.k. I’m ready.  No, wait, wait.  O.k. I’m ready.  Breathe.  In through the nose out through the mouth.  O.k. ready?  Ready.  No wait!  O.k. try one, but if I say stop…stop.  

I got the earring to the hole and my daughter’s pupils started changing.  I stopped.  Are you o.k.?  Let’s try this sitting down.  Let’s try this standing up.  Let’s try this with you sitting on the counter.  You want to sit on the floor?  O.k.  Let me get you more water.  I ultimately say, I’m not sure you can handle this.  She says, you are right, Mom.  I don’t think I can handle this either.  Her response made me laugh a little.  

Let’s try again.  If I say stop…I know, I know, if you say stop I will stop.  O.k. Ouch, ouch, ouch, stop. ( I barely got the earring tip near the hole).   Mom, I think we need to try this tomorrow.  O.k. it’s not a problem.  We’ll try it when you are ready.  Will my holes close?  I don’t think they close that quickly, but if we wait too long that could be an issue.  

 

Tears well in eyes.  I ask what’s going on.  She doesn’t want the holes to close up, but she can’t stomach having earrings put in. She is frustrated.  She is failing (in her mind).  This is when, like the exposing of a super-power, I develop my “Mommitude”.  We discuss what’s going on and how she’s feeling.  I throw out a few adjectives and she begins to cry real tears.  I know she is feeling she has let herself down and maybe me.  I reassure that whether or not a person has earrings doesn’t make the person any better or worse. I love her whether she decorates herself or not.  It’s not a big deal if she chooses not to wear earrings.  She tried and whatever she wants at this point is fine. Now I’m stroking her hair, talking softly and she’s leaning into me.  It’s a comfortable position I remember when she fell and bumped herself as a toddler.  Though now, the stakes are getting higher.

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She gets even more emotional when she says people got her all these earrings for Christmas and she can’t wear them.  She is concerned about how they would feel.  This might have been the first time I saw my little girl express a mature and authentic concern for how someone else feels.  Now I’m choked up.  I explained again she was loved and no one would care how long it took her  to wear the earrings they gave her or if she ever wore them.   Gifts are given from the heart.  I was being the gift of motherhood at that very moment.

As for the heart, genuine feelings were exuding from hers.  I could feel her sadness in my heart as well.  I pulled her closer and we shared some memories about how I used to do that when she was much smaller.  She grabbed me tighter.  More conversation about what’s important and what’s not in life.  As I held her close I tried to say the right things at the appropriate times and let there be silence when that was needed as well.  I felt my Mommitude expand.  After a little time things were getting back to normal and the earring incident was long gone.

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These pop quizzes are challenging.  What’s the right thing to say?  Will I screw it up? I know this is the first of many experiences where she will need to hold me tight, where I will stroke her hair and talk about feelings, where I’ll reinforce she is special no matter what the circumstance.  I’m honored that I am the person taking part in these tests.  As I tilted my head to rest on top of hers I thanked God for the opportunity to be a mom- to be her mom.  I expressed my gratitude for being put to the test and saying things I didn’t regret.  You never know what might come out of my mouth the next time.  For now, I’ll take this experience as a true gift and I’ll keep sharpening up my Mommitude for the tests to come.  I have a feeling there will be many more “pop” quizzes ahead.  

 

Motherhood Comes In Many Forms

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I’ve been traveling overseas for two weeks and I’m in places that don’t allow use of WordPress.  Yes, there are places in the world that restrict use of any social media tools for fear of what the rest of the world might find out about them I’m guessing.   That’s an entirely different blog entry for another time.   My intention was to publish this entry on  Mother’s Day.  Unfortunately, it couldn’t happen, but the message remains the same no matter what day of the year it is.

knitting_649Psalm 139:13-16

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

As I’ve mentioned in other writings, it’s quite amazing to me how many times the words of God’s unfailing love are mentioned in the Psalms.  Unfailing is some seriously deep love. God surrounds His children with love from the moment He knits them together.

They are so precious that He laces them carefully into a protected cocoon safe and harbored from storms until it is time for them to venture out into the world.  The cocoon is the divine creation within a woman that nestles and tenderly holds a baby while God’s plan for development unfolds.

Through a mom, God’s creation is surrounded in warmth and tightly woven in love.  The gentle form is able to move around and try things out, but is continuously embraced with protection.  Through God’s provision mothers offer sustenance and nutrients that help His  masterpieces to grow in ways we can’t really understand.

God must have an amazing trust in mothers that He would give his children to be carried inside of them for any length of time…any length of time. God proves His unfailing love time and time again.  Sometimes women might forget to acknowledge how important our role is in fulfilling His plans.

God occasionally places His precious bundles into mothering hands outside of the womb.  Sometimes God creates motherhood through less traditional means.  Of course, when He goes this route it is equally as important to bring His plans to light and these women are trusted in similar fashion. These mothers are just as precious to Him.  They also provide warmth, nurture, safety and love.  They are the knitting around His precious children on this earth.  They have impact beyond what we can imagine.

Somehow we are all mothers.  Not always in the traditional sense, but in a way that makes sense to God so His plans are carried out. He loves all of His children and all of his mothers the same so Happy Mothers Day to ALL women because in some way God allows you the gift of caring for His precious hand-formed creations and loves you deeply for it.