It was my turn soon. All the other mothers were saying such sweet things, exactly what you might expect. What was I going to say? Not what anyone expected – or even what I expected, but there it was.
When my youngest was 6 months old, I went to a new Bible study at a church other than my own. It being my first one, I didn’t know exactly what to expect other than learning more about the Word and enjoying fellowship with other women. After singing and prayer, a smaller group of moms gathered in a large room ready to get to know each other. Sitting in a big circle, we were asked to share why we loved being mothers.
What do I like about being a mother? A deep breath. (Please don’t think this is weird…) 1. “I like to touch them.” No one said a thing. I explained. “I love to comb their hair, give them hugs, tote them around on my hip, hoist them when they reach up their arms and say, “Up!”, rub their backs as they fall asleep on my shoulder…” I didn’t need any other examples. The women supplied them. Suddenly everyone was nodding their heads and saying how they loved tucking them in bed at night, wiping their tears, putting on band-aids. Touch is a beautiful gift and I’ve told my children often how important it is to be held and hugged and touched. Not everyone is ‘touchy’, but children need it, and as a mom, it was a pleasure to hold them every chance I got.
2. Watching them become who they are meant to be. We can nurture and introduce but they find their niche and we parents get to revel in their exploration of sports or music or theater as was the case in our house. Having a variety of interests is healthy and I’m doubly pleased when a good friend or mentor introduces them to a new passion and another layer of interest is added. Sweet indeed.
3. They make me laugh. Their baby books are full of hilarious comments (one child at prayer time, “Dear Lord, I’m nervous about tomorrow but I guess I’ll serve you in the storm.”) but the laughs don’t end with their preschool years. Two of my kids are feisty while funny and the other is so dry! All sharp minds, it’s funny what they pick up on, how they twist it for a laugh and how light-hearted they make a home.
4. I get to teach them. Thankfully, I had two of my kids as students in class but I also teach them skills in the home and with people. All began chores at the age of 6, they all do laundry and dishes and a few can cook a little bit. They’ve learned to listen, to sympathize, to try to walk in another’s shoes. They’ve helped their family with their time, sweat and sometimes money. I’ll be oh so proud if they’re giving adults.
5. They teach me. I hate to admit it but I can sometimes feel sorry for myself. Usually it’s when my extroverted self is thwarted from doing something that will stimulate me. My extroverted oldest son once had a group of “friends” go out of their way to exclude him, make it obvious to him and then ditch him quite rudely. All this on his 16th birthday – a Friday night no less. If anyone could have felt sorry for himself, he could have, but he didn’t. We didn’t know about the backdrop to his evening for many months but his attitude and behavior that night was astounding. He was gracious, patient….everything I wouldn’t have been were I in his shoes at his age. That example has stuck with me and I try to emulate him.
6. They’re gracious with my limitations. Everyone knows that no one is perfect but sometimes we moms would like to be for the sake our kids. But, like everyone else, I have limitations. I can’t tell you how many times my kids said, “It’s okay, mom,” when I apologized for behavior that wasn’t up to par. Each time, they hugged me, ‘let it go’ and moved on. I wish I could be everything to them, but then I’d miss out on the grace they freely give me.
7. It’s a supreme honor. I look at these children and wonder, ‘how blessed am I that I get to be their mother?!?’ Growing up, I never expected to marry or have kids but I’m so thankful that God had something else in mind for me. It’s a huge responsibility and one I haven’t taken lightly, ever. But they make this life so much more joyful. They encourage me and stimulate me and fill my heart with more goodness than I thought possible. Thanks, guys. You and your dad are life’s greatest gifts.