I have been struck lately at how quickly time is moving, especially with regards to my kids growing up. We sent our oldest off to college this year, the second is not far behind, and then there’s Jesse, who is already trying to wrap his brain around what it will be like to be the last kid standing when it’s only him and no siblings in the house. All this pondering leaves me with about every feeling there is to feel. How do I navigate being a mom to my oldest, who knows everything now that she’s in college (I remember vaguely the time when I knew everything; it was nice); my middle child who knows almost everything (and likes to point out helpful tips to guide me in my parenting mistakes); and my youngest who can’t decide whether to ninja chop me or hug me (depending on the mood and the day)?
It’s hard; it’s emotional; and I’d like to think I’m doing it right….but the truth is, I’m fairly certain that a lot of times I’m not. I remember like a foggy, distant dream those days when my littles thought I could do no wrong. We laughed together, cried together, snuggled together and I could see it in their eyes when they looked at me: simple love, freely given and received. I was their world; and hopefully I remembered to soak it in.
Because then the day comes, and I can’t even really pinpoint the exact day that it happened. All I know is that it happened. They realized that I am flawed, that I make mistakes. Their world expands so far beyond me and as much as I want to grab onto them and make them stay right where they are, I realize that I cannot. They are so much bigger than me, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. (I guess)
So in light of this revelation I want my kids, Chloe, Grace, and Jesse to know some things. As they move beyond me, but hopefully never too far out of grasp I want them to know:
- I love you. Plain and simple. No matter what. This is not conditional. It’s just the way it is. It’s sewn into the fabric of who I am. I cannot not love you.
- I’m sorry. I have and will make mistakes when it comes to how I interact with you and make decisions on your behalf. Sometimes those decisions are fueled by my own selfish desires and I am wrong. Some of those wrongs I will figure out and try to make right; some of those wrongs I will be totally oblivious to. Please handle my mistakes with grace and refer back to number 1.
- If I could wish one character trait for you, it would be kindness. Be kind to each other, be kind to those around you. Be kind to those that are like you. Be kind to those who are not like you. Notice those who need a little more kindness in their lives and share it. There is a shortage of kindness in this world. I want you to be kind.
- If you understand one thing about me, I want you to know that I love Jesus. I want this to define my life. I hope that it does.
- I am proud of you. Chloe, I love how easily you are entertained, your heart for justice, and your passion for creating. You create beauty and it’s immensely cool. Grace, I love your fierceness. You’re not afraid of anything. You will always push the envelope and this will be incredibly tough but sometimes, incredibly wonderful. You seriously can do anything you put your mind to. Jesse, I love your creative mind and tender heartedness that sneaks out in the most unlikely places. You are all kinds of mushy wrapped in all kinds of tough. I am proud of you.
Time moves quickly. Soon (too soon) all of my kids will be out of the house and I will be old. In the meantime I want to embrace the good and the bad; the messy and the ease; the successes and the failures and be thankful. God blessed me as a mama. I know that to be true. And I am incredibly thankful. I hope I always remain thankful, even when it’s hard. I hope that when my kids look at me they will see: simple love, freely given and received. And I hope they soak it in.