Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday Funnies

On our way to Ohio for a family reunion, I tell the girls that I don't think their cousin Cole will want to play babies..
Paige: Cole can be the dad.
Brooklyn: Cole doesn't like to be the dad.
Paige: Yeah, he likes to be the dog.
Brooklyn: Well, he's not a very good dog.

Brooklyn wants Paige to read her a story on our way home from Ohio. 
Brooklyn: Please will you read me The Magic School bus?
Paige: No, it's too long.
Brooklyn: Fine then.  Just read me the New Testament.




Thursday, August 11, 2011

Knowing

I recently had a glorious kid-free lunch and shopping trip with a dear friend from college.  As we talked she said that of all her "mom" friends, I know my kids the best.  To be honest, it kind of stopped me in my tracks.  The next day I polled a few other friends.  They confirmed that, indeed, I do know my kids.  Funny how you have to have other people tell you who you are sometimes.  Even still I would argue that there are plenty of moms more versed in their children than I, but that is neither here nor there. 

The point is, we have to know our kids.  Just living with them is not enough.  Caring for their every need won't do it.  Raising them to adulthood doesn't guarantee it.  The reality is that many mothers never truly understand their children.  They don't know the little people who follow them around and soon enough they have missed their chance. 

As a mom, it is my job to help my kids understand themselves.  If I don't know them, how can I help them know themselves.  What makes them tick?  What sets them off?  What feeds their insecurities?  What engages their creativity?  How do they handle correction?  What speaks love?  What hurts feelings?  Until I understand these things about my kids, I cannot help them. 

These answers only come with an intentional approach to parenting.  We have to pay attention. We need to ask questions.  "How does that make you feel?  Why did you make that choice?  What bothers/excites you about this?  What can I do to help?  What have I done to hurt?"  These questions, and so many more, can open windows into our child's heart.  Then and only then do we truly see them.

Knowing my kids is a daily assignment.  I will never stop learning.  I am certainly not an expert, but having a child who is difficult to understand has required me to make this a priority.  I am so grateful that I have the honor to know such amazing little people.  I hope that they continue to give me open windows and I pray that I make the most of the opportunities I am given.  Don't you feel the same?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Through Her Eyes

Today I took Brooklyn to the dentist.  My mom came over to watch the other kids and, since she had parked me in, I drove her car.  As Brooklyn climbed out of the car she said "Mom, I love how these seat belts go back so quickly.  They are so nice!" As I smiled, both inside and out, I couldn't help but think of how much this 5 year old girl inspires me.  Brooklyn appreciates things that most of us don't even notice.  The curtains in a hotel, tile in a lobby, sparkles on the floor of Forever21, chandeliers in a jewelry store.  Sometimes I focus on the challenges of her sensitivity.  The crying, the whining, the hurt feelings.  Today, I was reminded of the good her sensitivity brings.  Brooklyn is grateful.  I hope that she stays that way.  I hope that she always appreciates the beauty around her.  I hope I become a little more like her.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Promise

To my children:

I recently saw this sign...

"I am not your friend.  I am your parent.  I will stalk you, flip out on you, lecture, drive you insane, be your worst nightmare, and hunt you down when necessary because I love you and when you understand that I will know you're a responsible adult.  You will never find someone who loves, prays, cares, or worries about you more than me.  This is my promise to you."

At first glance, I thought I might agree, but then I read on.  The words that followed didn't settle.  You are little and, right now, I am not your friend.  On day, I hope to be and so I am making you a different promise.

I will give you the freedom to test your wings and the boundaries to keep you safe.   I will enforce constructive consequences that will help you better understand the choices you make.  I will listen to your fears, needs and desires.  I will treat you with respect, grace, and love always remembering that you are a work in progress just like your mom.  Though there will be seasons of life with more wrong than right, I will never quit trying to understand your perspective. 

When you are an adult, I pray that you will see me as a friend who loved you enough to let you become the best version of you.  I hope that I have helped you understand your strengths and your struggles and given you the tools to make the most of both.  I want you to look back on the those times of trial and know that I made tough decisions with your best interest in mind. 

I will spend the next 20 years treating you with the love and respect a friendship deserves, so that when the day comes, you will choose to be my friend. 

With Love,
Mom