Thursday, April 28, 2016

Reflections on My Mother

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My mom and I are cut from the same cloth. This means we understand each other very well but also that we can butt heads. Thankfully, after my husband, she's my best friend so we get along more often than not. =) After I became a mother, my gratitude and appreciation for everything she's done for me and my siblings over the years increased dramatically. There are a few universal truths about parenting that you either just don't know or don't fully comprehend until you are a parent.

Yes, you hide that last piece of special food so your child doesn't want it and you can eat it when they are sleeping. Sometimes. Other times, you gladly give it to them even though you would really like it simply because you love them, and it makes you happy to see them delight in such a simple thing.

You cry. A lot. Over everything. And nothing. You don't want anything bad to happen to your children. You want to bear everything for them, but you know you can't. And so you watch them live and get a small glimpse of God's love for you in your love for your child(ren).

And you worry because - wouldn't you know! - kids don't come with a how-to book. And every child is different. And you really, really don't know what you're doing. Sure, as a child you thought your parents knew everything, but the truth is they were just making it up as they went along and hoping they were right. And praying God would guide them. Its unsettling.

But somehow, kids survive anyway. And more than that, they thrive. And then have children of their own. And you get to see your parents be grandparents. Now, I'm sure watching your children be parents is rewarding, but getting to watch your parents be grandparents? Its pretty awesome.

My mom has always been a stay at home mom - which was awesome - and now that means that me and my kiddos get to see her a couple times a week during the day. And my children? After asking about daddy every day, Grandma is a close second. I love seeing their love and I love knowing I can 100% count on my mom to have my back and enforce what we try to teach at home at her house, and I can 100% trust her and my dad when they babysit. We don't have to worry about if they'll see something they shouldn't, or hear something they shouldn't. They will be protected, loved, and have a blast!

Even though I see my mom a lot, certain things still make me think of her without fail. My mom is a total beach bum ... at heart. We don't live by the coast, so she doesn't get to act on it often, but we're close enough she usually gets at least a couple weekends at the beach a year. She loves lighthouses and the ocean and, well, pretty much anything coastal. She's the first person I think of whenever I see something beachy.

She's also an amateur birder. She and my dad love going on walks, and half the time now they choose somewhere where there have been reports of a bird they've never seen before. And there's a lot of water fowl out there which means ... an excuse to go to the beach. I love it! But my parents are some of the first people I think of what I see something relating to birds.

And my children already have a love for birds that has been passed to them from my parents. My not-yet-three year old already knows that different birds make different sounds. She knows mockingbirds, woodpeckers, and chickadees by sight & loves telling you if she sees one. One of my second child's first words was "bird" and he gets excited every time he hears one.

Growing up, my children will probably take this knowledge for granted, not realizing why they have it and that it isn't common. I smile, knowing its a special bond they will forever have because of my parents.

And so, this Mother's Day, I want to thank my mom for everything she's poured into me as I grew up, for being my friend and mentor, and for setting an example for me to follow as I raise my own children. And my heart is full when I thank you for the love, energy, and time you pour into my children. I'm a better person because of you, and they're better little people because you're in their lives and invest in them.

I love you.

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