Tag Archive | parenthood

First Love

Being a parent doesn’t mean someone issues you “Parental Fix It” in a can like “Fix a Flat” even though that certainly sounds like a marvelous idea. One of the hardest parts of being a parent is witnessing your child hurting. It doesn’t matter how old they are, if they are hurt in any way it is hard for a parent to witness. It’s even worse when there is absolutely nothing you can do to ease the pain except hold them and pray.

One of the joys of parenthood is witnessing your child stepping out into life and making decisions that will be foundation stones for their life. Our daughter made such a decision recently at a Wednesday night worship service.

She had harbored a secret for the last few years and with only the nudging of the Holy Spirit, not only went forward to ask Jesus into her heart for rea,l but to admit that her previous public profession was made with the wrong motivation. She made her “fake” decision at a time in her life when she was acting out over the hurt and anger she had towards her biological mother who it seemed, to her, just up and left her and created a new family. Our daughter knew what she was doing was wrong but, she reasoned then as a child, if she was saved she could get into Heaven regardless of her behavior. Now, as her reasoning and decision making skills have expanded she realized the greater wrong was in lying to God, herself, us and her church.

We’re proud of her. It showed a lot of maturity on her part to realize she was wrong and step forward with no one telling her she should to right her wrong. She came home with such a peace in her eyes I was astonished and with an attitude change that has lasted!

Two days later, she is sobbing in my arms with her first broken heart. The two parts of parenthood I’ve already mentioned collided and we had a third piece of the parenthood picture, leading your child to do the right thing regardless of their own pain.

What and how it all came about isn’t important. Let me just say that the young man involved is a smart, funny, kind 13-year-old who truly cares about our daughter. He and his family live with his Asperger’s diagnosis and part of that, for him, makes crowds hard to tolerate. He wanted to go to the Homecoming game and dance with our daughter. He planned to go. He was excited to go. But despite his wants and his good intentions he left in the second quarter of the game.

My husband was with our daughter and this young man at the game. It was hard to see our daughter hurt like that firsthand, he wanted to leave and bring her home, but she braved the game out even though she found the dance to be too much to deal with on her own. It wasn’t until she was on her way home that the tears came and she walked into our bedroom, threw herself into my arms and wept.

Her initial reaction was to tell the young man a few things that weren’t going to help the situation, especially if she hoped to salvage a friendship out of the relationship. As parents though it was up to us to help her handle the situation in a way that would honor God.

We wouldn’t let her text the teenage boy and “break up” for we didn’t want her to “do unto another and have it done unto her” later. Despite modern societies obsession with electronic communication it doesn’t mean it’s the right way to handle letting others know what you’re thinking or feeling.

Gently we reminded her of the times and ways this young man had shown her he cares deeply for her. When the two of them are together the light and laughter in their eyes blows us away. He was her defender when they went to the same school and stood by her even when she was making really rotten decisions for herself after she broke his new eyeglasses on purpose. We reminded her of his Asperger’s and how, although it was terribly painful, it was the Asperger’s part of him that hurt her, not all of him. It wasn’t deliberate. He truly didn’t understand how deeply he would hurt her. Someone hurting you on purpose, or unavoidably doesn’t give you a license to hurt them back.

Our daughter’s first broken heart over a boy. She’s handled it well. She’s made her decision that perhaps they will best be a part of each other’s lives as friends and she knows that for him to be a part of her life that the social situations they are in will need to be thought out to ensure he and she are comfortable and can have fun. She knows it is possible, they’ve done such things before. But a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship or simply a friendship that involves anything in a crowd without his parents is unlikely to occur. To want those things, football games and dances, parades, fairs and hayrides; doesn’t make her a bad person or selfish. They are both way too young to have a serious relationship and her social development is also important. Plus it is a step in teaching her the things she will need to consider when she’s older and ready for a more mature relationship.

Above all else, her falling in love with Jesus came at the perfect time, as does God’s timing always fall. Prior to that Wednesday night decision our daughter wouldn’t have handled the Friday night crushing disappointment well at all. When she got out of the car this morning to go into school I wasn’t concerned she’d act out and I’d be getting a phone call later today from her principal.

As a parent I drove off with my own smile on my face. First love. Yes, our daughter is on the path to eternity with Jesus and He’s her first love, above even herself. I know there are still tough times ahead for her, other broken hearts over other boys (or the same one) but I believe too she will come to have her heart broken for the things that break God’s heart. Maybe if all I can do is hold her and pray for her or simply pray for her during those times she weeps for what makes God weep then I am doing the greatest part of my job as her mother after all.

A praying mother,

–Faye

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The Child, the Teen, the Mother and the Door

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Watching our daughter run from slide, to swing, to bouncy purple dinosaur to the monkey bars I smile remembering other hours at the park.  Smaller hands grasping and smaller legs climbing.  Same short attention span, as if she is trying to cram as many turns in as possible.

Before asking if she could go play she snuck a glance at me and quietly commented, “I love to play at little kids parks like these, but I know I’m to old”.  She pauses then continues, “I like it better being alone, even if it is lonely sometimes.”

I see the child she still is and the young lady she is becoming. I blink. Then I realize that this is what it is like watching her peer cautiously through the open doorway between childhood and adolesence…so beautiful, so frightening.

Now other hands are reaching through the door to grasp our daughter’s, hands that were once flickering shadows are now flesh and bone. Other voices, once faint whispers have now grown louder, more audible and call her name.

In a nanosecond she is poised to leave the coziness of childhood to stand in her newly and wide open to her teenage years, doorway. Tentatively she touches, faintly, briefly but firmly, those outstretched hands. Softy and shyly she answers the beckoning voices of invitation to walk through the door. “I’m coming,” she says!

My breath catches. My heart pumps madly. Never have I regretted my inability to run as I do now. To think I have been grateful to lose my leg after she knew how to look both ways crossing the street, not to dash into the street after a ball or from between parked cars! Oh how I long for it now! As if I might physically restrain her, somehow stop her, freeze time until I know she’s ready…but I long for the impossible.

For long bittersweet minutes, as she remains one foot in childhood and one poised in her teen world I understand an old wisdom saying. The one that says, “A parent must give their child two things, roots and wings.”. I see almost visibly how that notches in with the Proverb so often quoted about childrearing, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it”. The life verse we gave claimed for her, Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”

Roots. Have we given her good, healthy roots? We know, for we were not blessed with our child until she was four, that some of her roots started off weak, so we’ve tried our best to strengthen those and help her grow roots in deeper, richer, better soil.

Wings. I see her wings shaking as the breeze ruffles them. She turns back to me and our eyes lock and we cry each others tears. Her hand touches mine and she grasps tightly. She whispers, “Mama”! I hear the first time she called me Mama eight years ago in her voice.

I touch my chest, exactly over my heart and she mirrors my actions. In silence without words we speak what we’ve often said aloud, “Always in here we are connected. The bond cannot be broken. Wherever you are, whatever you do we are together here!”

Wind. Wings need air to fly. Air currents. My actions, reactions, my words…they will set her free…they will lift her in prayer, by praising Our God for our forever family her wings will grow and strengthen beneath His breath.

For a moment I think of her birth mother. Of her difficult choices, her gift to us. The child she blessed us with is barely recognizable. Oh what she has missed!

Oh, thank you Jesus for what I have not been deprived of! Thank you for every tear, every frustration, the years our daughter hoarded food and things afraid they’d disappear, every therapy session, every broken, bleeding memory she pulled forth, every teacher conference, every worship service, every pillow fight, every dandelion, every rose and every thorn! Thank You Jesus for these, the last minutes of her childhood.

Roots and wings. You, Heavenly Father gave me mine. For my parents just didn’t know how! And You are also giving our daughter her roots and her wings, whether through me or her father they come ultimately from You. You are the vine with deep healthy roots and wings that cover, protect and soar. You are our Rock and our Savior and You have these moments of our lives, our brief existences, in the palm of Your hand.

The child, the teen, the mother and the door…You have us all

Let it be!
-Faye

Motherhood

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The first time I heard our daughter call me Mama she was four-years-old.  We were in a local Mexican restaurant and out of the blue she asked me, “Can I tell you what I want Mama?”

When at first I didn’t acknowledge her request or use of “Mama” she piped up asking me hadn’t I heard what she called me?

At that moment in time she was neither legally my child or foster child.  She was my niece left in our care by my husband’s sister who was away at Army bootcamp.  Yet her heart and mine had been uniquely bonded since we first laid eyes on one another and her choice of Mama by which to call me was tempting to approve.  Still I explained she had a Mommy and we needed to talk it over with her to see if it was okay.  Mommy approved.

Later we’d be asked to adopt this mischievous, darling, dark eyed, curly haired darling nearly five-year-old girl and the answer was yes.  Although we prepared for her biological mother to change her mind she held firm in her decision.  Our daughter made us a forever family when a rather friendly judge legally declared us parents.

Our daughter has called me Mama countless times since that first time, every time echoing back to that Mexican restaurant.  Being her Mama is my sweetest joy and most fearful undertaking.

Now eleven, life is speeding to the teen years no braking and both feet on the gas!  Mama has a new tone in it and the first time our daughter remarked that our silliness was embarrassing her my husband and I looked at each other and he said, “Aww Honey we must be doing our job right!”. Which earned us the first official eye-roll.

I had prayed for a child.  There had been three miscarriages and my heart ached with longing.  My prayers were sweetly and generously answered by a very young woman who bravely realized she couldn’t provide what her daughter needed and when she might be was very questionable. 

Somewhere out there she is the mother to two half-siblings to our daughter and lives with our child’s decision to cut ties with her.  Some day we pray that will change but it really is about what is best for our daughter.

I love being a mother.  Regardless of how motherhood descended upon me.

What’s your motherhood story?

-Faye