I was one of "those" moms...in the early years, anyway. You know the ones.
Those same moms made my older self sigh with exhaustion when I saw all they were doing with and for their kids.
But I got to the point where I really appreciated them...their vision, their enthusiasm...their ENERGY. When I made the decision to take a step back, it was just good to know that things would be under control. I'm typically not a good "chief" or leader. I like to be the helper and work behind the scenes. If there's not a good leader, I'll do it. It's just not my skill set at all.
But, in the beginning, I was all gung-ho. I kept up with ALL of the class paperwork. My kids wore the right color on the right day. I made elaborate snacks and helped with the parties and went on all the field-trips. I cut my kids' sandwiches into different shapes or letters, depending on what lesson they were discussing at the time.
And I didn't do it to impress any other mom or teacher. I did it for ME. Because it was FUN!
And maybe, subconsciously, I did it because my Mom didn't do any of that stuff for us.
At any rate, I wouldn't change a thing.
I loved every minute of it.
But somewhere along the line, I lost a little bit of my edge. I had more children. I had less time. I had to prioritize things. I made a conscious decision to major on the majors.
Oh, I still helped with the parties...I couldn't do that for one of ours and not do it for the rest. I just signed up to "help," instead of being the Home-Room Mom. Honestly, it was bliss...a lot less pressure. And I still volunteered in the classrooms and in the school office. I loved doing that.
For us, the major thing we wanted to focus on was our kids' spiritual development (here, here, here and here). That, and family. Everything else had to either fall away, or fit in the empty places. And what better way to have an idea of what is going on in the school and the class and with the other kids...than to be in their classrooms or help out in the office? It kind of gave me a inside look into some of the struggles the kids faced on a daily basis.
And, you know, anytime you can be a light to a kid or a teacher...that's always a good thing. Not saying that I WAS...just saying that I tried. We can all use a friend, am I right?
I wonder what my kids will remember?
We tried to be there for them...every practice, every game, every meet, special lunch days at school, open houses, church events, piano/gymnastics/dance recitals, awards ceremonies. Will they only remember the ones we missed? We tried to be their greatest encouragers. Will they only remember the times we were too hard on them?
My mother-in-law...she is so good about remembering. She remembers everything. Anniversaries of lost loved ones, details about people, my favorite glass I use at her house, all of our favorite foods and candies.
I've tried to do the same with my own kids, even in the little things. My mother-in-law gave me a fork with an "L" on it...she bought it at a garage sale, "you, know...for Logan." Doesn't everyone have forks with the initials of their first names on them? No?
One of Joshua's "jobs" here at home is setting the table for our meals After Logan went to college, Joshua would say, "I don't want to give you Logan's fork, because I know it will make you too, too sad."
See? We all know that is LOGAN's fork, even though Logan has never really used it. I know Joshua will remember that.
When the kids have a birthday, or a game, or have done well on a test, or when our married/college kids come home...we make a "sign" for the door. Right now on the door coming in from our garage, there are 4 signs. Three are football related (for Clark), and one is a "congratulations" sign for my son-in-law, Aaron, because he closed on a big deal last week. Just typing paper and markers...no biggie. I wonder if the kids will remember stuff like that?
My kids took their lunches almost every day when they were in school. Well, not Joshua. Boy liked him some hot meals. And, after Logan got into high school, he usually bought his lunch in the cafeteria. But Holly and Clark? I packed their lunches nearly every day, and every day, they got a drink, a sandwich, some chips, and some sort of treat. I know, right? Soooo healthy.
But I always packed a napkin in their lunches, and I always wrote a note on it. When my kids were little, they called them "love na'kins." Sometimes I wrote an encouraging word or a Scripture verse. Sometimes I wrote a poem. I have been known to bust out a made-up limerick or two. Sometimes I will draw something on them. Clark almost always has a smiley face on his napkin. It's kind of a "thing" from when he was little. This past Wednesday, I drew a camel on his napkin...okay, it was pretty pitiful and looked more like an amoeba, but it was supposed to be a camel. And I wrote the words, "what day is it, Mike? Huh...huh?" You know, because it was WEDNESDAY! I don't even know if he reads them anymore.
But I still make the effort.
And also in Clark's lunch, every day, he gets a yellow Powerade. Or red, or orange, or purple...but never blue. I pack blue Powerades on game days.
I wonder if he will remember...or if he even notices.
I figure they will remember "Sunday Rolls." We have cinnamon rolls every Sunday. When my kids were little, they called them, "Sunday Rolls." They are just out of a can, but we have them every week without fail. The one time I dared to make them for a Saturday morning brunch, Joshua spent the entire rest of the day mumbling, "I thought we only had those on SUNDAYS...but it's Saturday and we had cimmmm rolls." Over and over and over.
The one thing I KNOW my kids are going to remember...because they remind us of it ALL.THE.TIME. is all the things they didn't get to do, places they didn't get to go...and TV shows they didn't get to watch. It's a fun little game they love to play. UGH. They are all rat-finks.
But they are all fairly well-adjusted (relatively speaking) (ha), and they all love Jesus...so maybe we weren't all THAT unreasonable as parents.
There are just a lot of little things that we do here in our family. I'm sure we sound so weird to anyone else who is reading this...favorite forks and signs on the door? Yep...we are. Since the main thing we wanted to concentrate on with our kids was their spiritual walk with Jesus, there were some things that we did that made no sense to them at the time...but it was deliberate and part of our plan as parents. We taught them at home about our values and things that were important to us. We LOVED incorporating their AWANA songs and verses. We talked about God's hand in every area of our life, but mainly just in the day-to-day things like Creation and how all people need to hear about Jesus.
If that's all they remember...that all people need to hear about Jesus...then I'm okay with that.
"There is salvation in no one else..." Acts 4:12