Kids keep life interesting. This morning when I was passing through the livingroom to the kitchen, I looked down at a large plastic bag I was about to trip over and saw a hand inside. Yup, a human hand. I was a bit startled, to say the least. Of course, it was molded from plastic and it is a tool my daughter Maddy uses for her cosmetology practice to work on manicures. That’s my assumption anyway. I didn’t know it was in our apartment until I almost tripped over it. I never know what to expect from those four kids of mine.
One Christmas, after we finished eating our Christmas dinner together, my four children and I were sitting around the table talking. In the midst of our conversation, my son Markie casually pulled a fake arm and a suture kit out of his bag and began to practice suturing wounds on the arm. After a few comments about the arm, and pausing to watch my daughter Melodie give suturing a try, we resumed our after-dinner conversations without a glitch. When I thought about it later, I realized it was unlikely any of my friends had the same experience on Christmas day.
I have been a mom for thirty years and my kids have blessed my life and filled it with entertainment and joy. There are moments throughout our lives in which time freezes and our memory banks hold those precious seconds forever. The blessed seconds when I held each one of my incredible children for the very first time are moments like that. Those memories are etched deeply into my mind and have become a part of me. I love to take time now and then to invoke the amazing experience of holding close precious new life. Misty is now thirty and Maddy nearly eighteen but when I reach back to the day I first met each of them, it is like time has frozen and I will never forget. It might as well be yesterday.
Parenting those four individuals has been by far the greatest, most fascinating adventure of my life. When a baby is born, its parent cannot fathom he/she will ever grow up and become whatever he/she becomes. As I gazed at my own tiny infants, I couldn't picture them as children, or teenagers, or adults. During the years they were all children and teenagers growing up I never imagined the day would come when within a few short months they would all four be considered adults. (I do kind-of get a chuckle out of the idea of an eighteen year old being considered an adult - no offense Maddy.) In the midst of sports and activities and homework and friends and sleepovers there is precious little time to consider what is coming in the future.
When Maddy was three we had a conversation one day about her future husband. I am a parent who started praying for my kids’ future spouses when they were babies. So one day three-year-old Maddy and I were talking about her growing up and I said something about how I prayed for her to someday have a good husband who loved God and I was rambling a bit about that, when I looked over at her. She was watching me with a stricken expression on her face, her eyes filled with tears. As our eyes met, she blurted out, “NO! Stop! Call off the wedding! I don’t want to get married! I’m never going to leave you!” I laughed hard as I pulled her to me and reassured her she didn't have to leave any time soon.
These past few months she has been apartment hunting with some friends. I am feeling bittersweetly blessed. I love she has come to the point where she is independent and ready to bring all the gifts and talents she possesses into the world. I know she is going to be a blessing and accomplish great things wherever she goes. Maybe a tiny part of me still wants that three year old baby who clung to me like a monkey to be around forever, but I am proud of the young woman she has become.
Over the course of the past thirty years, I have spent hours in emergency rooms, doctors’ offices, school conferences, softball games, hockey games, Christmas musicals, Christmas programs, Awana events, and numerous other activities that go with the marvelous role of motherhood. I wouldn't change one second of those cherished events. They came and went much too quickly and kept my life interesting and colorful.
I eagerly anticipate the moments to come as well. Last fall my oldest daughter Misty married the love of her life, Isaac. She waited faithfully for God to provide her with the best possible husband and He truly did. Her marriage gave me another role to embrace, that of being a mother-in-law. So far so good. It is a joy to have Isaac at our gatherings - he fits in beautifully and brings new life experiences to our mix.
I can always count on Misty to give me her honest opinion even when it is painful for her to do so. The wisdom God has given her and her insight into human nature are invaluable to me. I am learning a lot from her. Markie is a wealth of medical knowledge. He will be a doctor at Harvard in just a few months. I call on him all the time when I’m faced with a health issue I have not encountered before. He always has an answer. Melodie is one of the funniest people I have met. I still laugh out loud every time I picture her at the bowling alley on my last birthday celebration; right after we finished our final game she energetically led us all in a round of awkward birthday “high fives”. Her humor brightens my day frequently. Maddy is going to be such an amazing woman. She is ambitious and ready to face the world. She has great ideas and so many dreams. I believe she is going to leave an indelible mark on the world just as she has left on my heart.
Hmmmmm. Perhaps a boring blog for you today? A lot has been on my mind these past few months as I begin a new chapter with my life and launch Maddy into hers. I never in a million years expected the doors to open for me which have opened recently. When I was in the trenches supporting and taking care of my kids I didn't see myself ever being anything except “Misty’s Mom” “Markie’s Mom” “Melodie’s Mom” and “Madison’s Mom”. Now I am co-founder of a non-profit organization and learning all I can from that. Being a mom defined me for such a long time and I see how the lessons I learned from the four individuals I raised are guiding me and informing me as this new journey begins.
So excited for what's next.