When I was just a young girl, I knew that more than anything else in this world, I wanted to be a Mama. I wanted to love and be loved without restraint in a relationship that can only come when you behold the face of your child. It was a dream that I tucked deep into my heart. I also knew that I wanted to fall in love with the “perfect” man for me. Someone who would see beyond the brokenness to the huge heart for love that I was longing to share.
God did it all. HE fulfilled my dream beyond what I could even imagine. First, HE gave me the man who was blind to my misfit pieces and saw my heart. He saw in my eyes the things my heart could not speak and loved me through the darkness. He taught me “love” and about who God really is to me. He loved me in spite of me. He taught me to live in the light and in the SONshine.
Then, God gave me three children. Each of them were and still are very unique in their craftsmanship by the hands of God. Their personalities are as varied as the sunsets. Each of them filled in a different part of my heart until it overflowed. But their very individual uniqueness presented challenges.
Let me say here ~ There is no manual. Folks will give you lots of advice when you are a new mommy or daddy and in the moment you may think for sure they read some handbook that held all the answers. Most of the tips you are given come from ahdo not apply to your child and if you try to follow to the letter what others have shared, you will be frustrated and so will your child. The greatest advice comes from just listening to your precious little baby. From the first cry, which will be different from the next, to the age they cut teeth and the moment they take their first step ~ Listen, watch and take notes because you are learning from that child what they will expect from you in the future. They will expect you to understand them when you feel hopeless. They will expect you to accept them when you no longer recognize them. They will just know that Mama can figure it all out when her figuring skills are depleted. They will expect you to cheer their finer moments even when you cannot embrace the concept that propelled them into the moment.
In the tough times refer back to your heart notes. The last time your child cried, they needed you just as much as the first time they cried. The last time they stumbled and experienced a life~fall, they needed you just as much as when they were learning the rhythm and balance in their very first steps. When they are ecstatic and celebrating, you must rejoice just as you did the first time they went “potty”. You see, not only were you learning what they expected of you, you were teaching them what could be expected of you. A Mama who loves her babies with her whole heart will always love her children with her whole heart. You cannot shut off the valve to stop the flow. But here’s a news flash ~ your child will try.
If they want to be alone, they may try to shut you out. If they are doing something they know you would not approve, they will try to shut you out. When they think they have all the answers they will ever need, they may shut you out. The first time this happens they are about a year old and can walk alone on that two inch wide wall that is about two feet off the ground. They refuse your hand, your caution. When they fall, and they usually will, you will have a huge learning moment. Do they need you to coddle them and do some magic mommy healing kisses or do they brush themselves off and spend 15 minutes trying to get back up on the wall, only to fall off again? We all have memories of when our children defined themselves. It may have been when they were barely walking, fought the wall and won. It may have been when they were six and bravely told the truth in spite of their siblings and the punishment they would face. It may have been when they were just five years old and defended themselves against a bully and made you pop your parent buttons all over the place.
You may not experience the shut-out until they are a teenager and bent on rebellion. You may not feel it until they are in adulthood and raising children of their own, but trust me on this, they will shut you out for a time. How long you are left out depends on you and the heart notes you took.
Did you learn when they were having a stubborn moment that you just need to walk away and let them be for a time? The child is still the same and you may have to walk again. It will hurt. One of the worst pains you can imagine, but you must walk away. That very child will walk back to you when they are ready. One of my children tried to always blackmail me with the “I am going to run away!” When this child was just five years old, I finally agreed it might be the best solution and I helped them pack some clean underwear in a brown paper bag, walked them to the door, gave them a hug and a kiss and sent them off into the wild blue yonder and firmly shut the door behind them. I then rushed to the window, peeked out a bit and stood there crying. My child walked down the drive and sat down on a big boulder. I waited a couple of minutes and then walked out. “I wanna come home!” was all they said and we walked back in the house together with never another discussion about running away from home. I could do that because I knew that child’s personality. I knew they wouldn’t go off the property. Now if I had offered that option to one of the others? I have no doubt, they would have gone much further and I would have regretted the lesson I was trying to teach them.
When you know the heart of your young child, you know the outcome before the test. When they think they are throwing you a curve~ball, in your heart, you have already hit the ball out of the park and are doing a two-step on home plate. As they grow and stretch, they will continue to teach you what they expect of you and sometimes it hurts until you think you heart is irreparably broken and everything becomes much less clear. Only your child has the ability to affect you that way. But the reward in parenting is matchless. I was forever blessed when I gave birth to my three children. I love them with all my heart and no matter how many curve~balls, sliders, or spitballs they throw, I will always be waiting right here at HOME~plate ready to do the dance of joy with everyone of them. They are their own person now. All three are grown and living their lives. Some things have changed and some things have stayed the same. The one constant? How very much I love them and the joy they have brought to my heart.
My dreams have been realized. I have been able to love without restraint!