Mom Life

Why This Doesn’t Make Me Sad…

When I first became a mom a little over nine years ago, I used to mourn the passing of each stage. I would find myself sad when she was no longer that itty bitty newborn, and not just for the fact that she was no longer sleeping the majority of the day. I remember saying, oh, you’ll never be so big, and the thought would cause me to be sad that my tiny little person would be gone.

A friend was once talking to me about her youngest son graduating high school and moving out for college. I asked, “Doesn’t that make you so sad?” And her wisdom has stayed with me. She said, “I’m not sad at all. This was the goal all along.”

You see, at the time, I had a toddler, a preschooler, and a first grader. I was still very much suffering from tunnel vision. I could barely see past Dora the Explorer and the Cheerios that needed swept from the floor. Again.

To this day I’m still so thankful for the reminder that our kids are not intended to be little forever. We cherish those baby snuggles, and we will never forget that sweet baby smell. The feeling when you first hold your tiny one in the hospital will never leave your heart. But God never intended for them to stay little forever. The goal has always been to work ourselves out of a job.

 

This is my first “baby.” Here are some lessons she is teaching me:

  1. My kids are not going to need me forever. And that’s ok. Really. I have had to let go of the reins a little bit, and realize that this little girl is no longer quite so little. She is smart and funny, and she has a mind of her own. She has a love for Jesus that just comes naturally from her heart, and she has a desire and passion for serving others.  It wasn’t until I began to stop micromanaging her behavior that I was truly able to nurture her need for independence. She still needs her mom, and I will continue to guide her gently on her path. But she has helped me realize that she is moving out of the stage of dependence and starting to figure out who she wants to be.
  2. It is absolutely possible to be friends with your kids. Ok, before you start sending me hate mail, hear me out. Of course this isn’t the only aspect of our relationship. Our first job as parent is caregiver. Remember that tiny infant who was completely helpless? She relied on me to meet her very basic needs. Very soon she learned to speak, walk, and even feed herself. My role changed as her independence grew. Soon, she was reading and learning to be responsible for her own homework and library books. Now she helps do her own laundry, loves to cook basic meals, and keeps a calendar so she doesn’t forget things. {What can I say? The girl is more type A than her own mother! Yay for recessive genes!}. The older she gets, the more fun we are able to have together. She is the Robin to my Batman, the R2D2 to my C3PO, the Lane Kim to my Rory {had to throw in a Gilmore Girls reference}. The time we spend together is more enjoyable in this age than ever. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t perfect. I would love to trade in the tween attitude most days, but we are walking through this new tween realm closer than ever.
  3. With age comes the need for less discipline and more gentle guidance. We are out of the stage of time outs, and now in a stage of talking through the complicated stuff. There are more choices she has to make for herself now, and less opportunities for me to swoop in and save the day. {Although, there are still many days I wish I could put my cape on and rescue her!}. I’m learning to recognize that she doesn’t necessarily need “saving,” but she often needs to talk through what is going on in her life and then be given the freedom to walk through the experience herself. Whether it’s friend trouble at school or trying to decide if she should run for student council, there are certain things I just can’t handle for her. As much as it pains me, she has to have the freedom to make some mistakes and learn from them. My role is changing from disciplinarian to coach. I get to cheer her on when she succeeds and encourage her when she fails. I get to remind her how beautiful she is inside and out, and challenge her to move outside of her comfort zone. Ultimately, many of the decisions are hers to make. My prayers have changed so much as my oldest has gotten to this age. “God, please walk with her when I can’t. Hold her close to You, and remind her Whose she is. Help her to love like You love.” As I guide her into the world of adolescence, I am reminded of Paul’s words in Philippians 1:9-10, “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” I pray she longs for knowledge and Godly wisdom, and that He would give her discernment when she needs it. A sweet friend of mine reminded me once that our children are on loan to us, they are not really ours–but they belong to Him. So as I pray for my children, I daily place them back in His hands. They are Yours, Lord. Help me to trust You.

So I’m no longer sad as we move from stage to stage in my children’s lives. I look forward to the future, and I’m expectant of what God will do with the people He has entrusted to me.

 

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