Thursday, April 19, 2018

Full Hands, Fuller Heart

So this may be less of a decorating / DIY post than usual, but the reality is that my real job is "mom."

  Once upon a time in my life, I had five kids ages 9 and under.  If I had a dollar for every time someone told me I had my "hands full," or " you're busy," or my favorite: "God Bless Ya, I don't know how you do it!"  -I'd have college for all 5 kids paid for by now.  Honestly, I found this extremely offensive back then, and would have to bite my tongue from spurting out a nasty reply to these folks.


But something happened over the years, and I started to feel empowered by these comments.  I embraced the fact that I could handle something that these "average" ladies just could not.   Confession:  I still feel that way.  I do.  I don't get offended by the remarks.  I am so proud that I have these five gorgeous children (and still fit in my skinny jeans) and have grown to accept and embrace people's insecurities that they project toward others.

But parenting changes.  Kids change.  Somewhere along the road to middle school, society acts like you aren't a parent if your kids are no longer wearing what you pick out or getting snack-time at school.  We focus so much on baby gear and toddler manners that the real-deal kid-raising takes a back seat.  Like all things in life, I guess, when it's no longer "fun" it isn't worth mentioning.  
I'll admit that raising adolescents is not as intriguing as watching a toddler explore a playground for the first time.  Once the little people we've acquired have an opinion and a voice, it becomes much more challenging to enjoy the daily grind.  We are no longer in control of every aspect of  them.  They have their own plans, thoughts, schedule, conversations, and friends (who we didn't choose just because we like the other moms).  It isn't "sweet" anymore and glamorous in the least, hence why it "doesn't count" as parenting in today's world.  

I'm shedding some light on the fact that this is when the "parenting" gets REAL.  Yes, my babies, toddlers, and pre-K's needed us.  We loved those times (I have a trillion pics to prove it).  But now, when the attitudes come home from school, the drama starts in third grade, they get a driver's license, or walk around the house with earbuds in (all day), this is when the we are in the thick of it.  They need guidance, emotional support, lectures, and discipline just as much now (if not more) than ever before.   

We recently faced a harsh reality.  I should say we continue to face it, as our oldest son lost one of his closest friends in a tragic accident.  The details are not important, but the fact remains that I can't take away this pain, grief, and visual of having witnessed what nobody I know has had to endure. As a mother,  my sole focus has been to protect the kids.  I can't fix this.  I have had to learn to be the passenger on this ride, and let me tell you that's not easy.  Learning to listen, grant space, offer words of encouragement at the right time, stop talking at the right time, and letting him just be, are all new paths for me.  Navigating this experience is new to all of us in this family and I will say I have never been more aware of how much I need to be more "present" with my kids and how thankful I am for them each day.

 Once my kids began to grow older,  I began to realize they are no longer my people who's lives I am able to orchestrate.   Adjusting to these changes has been challenging, interesting, but so enjoyable.  Seriously!  I really like the people I have raised so far.  They have conversations with me, help me create projects, laugh with me.  As parents, we are doing good, I'd like to think.  I hope to raise these boys to be great men, and my daughter a fabulous woman; all of whom love God and praise Jesus for all of life's blessings.  That's it:  ultimate goal right there.

But now, unlike before, I really do feel like I have my "hands full."  I could use a "God Bless Ya!"  because some days, I really don't know how I do it.

Thanks for listening...