Austin and I are reading a parenting book. It is amazing and so convicting about so much more than the way we parent. But all this parenting stuff has had my mind so centered on what I am doing, what I am teaching, what I am enforcing, what I am giving, what my role is in the lives of our kids, but I realized that being their mom is not just about what I do. I think our society has such a twisted view of parenthood, they see kids as a burden that we have to reluctantly take on in order to complete the “American dream.” I even came across this video, which is made for comical purposes…but what does it say about our excitement to raise children and include them in our lives?
Disclaimer: This video does have a naughty word. So just...yea be mindful. Also, I don't want to convey any sense of "everyone should have kids now!" so just calm down. I appreciate all stages and seasons of life and don't think that being a parent makes anyone "better." OK. So just...calm down.
Why does society view family like this? Partly it’s because without Christ as the center of anything…it’s only driven by self-seeking “me” centered ambition. But partly, it’s because as parents we have all been guilty of seeking to vent and commiserate about parenthood (because it is really hard work!) and have left out all the good parts. Any mom could write forever trying to explain “the good parts,” but instead I’ll just tell you two little bitty stories. The first story is what led me down this trail of thoughts, which will lead me to the second story.
A few days ago, my kids were a couple hours into their favorite pass time: taking all the cushions and pillows off the couches in the playroom and making a huge pile out of them. They invited me to come down and get a ride on their cloud. So as I was almost literally floating on a cloud with my kids, I laid back onto my sweet girls lap and she started playing with my hair. She was so sweet and gentle; she wasn’t trying to get my hair crazy (which is always so fun); she was being loving and affectionate. She didn’t want anything from me; she just wanted to love on me. Then I remembered a time, the only time, Lyric had done this. There has been one isolated occurrence of Lyric playing with my hair gently. Usually he is either trying to make my hair crazy and weird, or he is trying to pull out a ponytail (because there was a phase when he would start crying and saying “Not like that mom! I don’t like your hair like that!” whenever I would pull it back. I guess it’s not my best look?) But during my pregnancy with Lily, I had migraines almost every day for three months. Eventually the migraines had three categories. 1.Full blown, take me to the doc and get me that shot that makes me puke and feel drunk…it would be worth it right now. 2. Definitely a migraine, but if I turn off all lights I can bear to lay on the couch and let Lyric watch TV all day long. 3. The beginning of a migraine, if I go and sleep and do my ice pack and Tylenol #3 (with caffeine) I think I will be ok in a couple of hours. I was in a category 2 migraine on this particular day. I laid on the floor and put my head on a pillow and just cried. I was in pain all the time and missing out on so much time with Lyric and Austin and I felt so lonely because I never felt well enough to go on a social outing. Little bitty 15-month-old Lyric toddled over and sat down right above my head on the pillow. As he reached out for my head I winced and said “No no buddy! Mommy is hurting.” But he leaned over my forehead and kissed me and then stroked my head gently from my temples to the back of my head and smoothed down my hair. He sat there like that and did that for ten minutes...that's a long time for a newly walking little boy. (and by the way, I’m totally crying right now writing out this cherished memory). I felt so loved by my son. I felt taken care of. I felt less alone. That little boy, my little boy…he loves me. He loves me so much. And I almost missed it because I was just being a mommy and didn’t think that he might actually have something to offer me.
Most of the time I’m spending and giving and working hard. And it is hard, parenting isn’t supposed to be a blow off thing. But during all my toiling their love for me is the strong and pure. And on occasion they minister to me and give and share and those moments are more precious than rare jewels. Don’t let parental exhaustion (whether it’s experienced firsthand, or you just witness it in your friends who have kids) overshadow the bliss and blessing that comes from cuddling with those little people who love with complete abandon, who us give their whole hearts and build their whole lives on us…their parents.
Recently after I said I had three little ones, a woman reacted by saying “You are a rich woman.” And she was so right. And I’m so sad that everyone doesn’t see it that way. Children are a rich blessing and not one that should be taken for granted. In the midst of your working…let them love you.