The way to love someone
is to lightly run your finger over that person's soul
until you find a crack,
and then gently pour your love into that crack.
~Keith Miller

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Looking at some old pictures recently and thinking about how really fast life moves along.  These four, the first of my five, are adults now.  A mother of young children asked me, "What would you tell your just starting out self if it were possible to do so?"  She asked on Monday and I've been thinking about it this week.  People tell you "it" happens fast ... they tell you that the days are long but the years are short. There are long days, but looking back they all seem to have been just yesterday.

I thought I was going to raise/rear them, instead they have been the most significant collaborators in growing me.  I am grateful for the moments and ... I wish there was a way for them to see what they have meant to me.
I wasn't a kid who babysat, never thought of myself as the least bit maternal ... almost totally lacking in domestic skills even at 27 when the eldest was born.  I remember when it was time to leave the hospital with this perfect helpless newborn, I told the hospital guys that I was completely clueless about child care and that sending him home with me was tantamount to child abuse.  They laughed.  Eventually, I figured a lot of it out ... if anything my children were over tended ... I intentional made myself not hover.  Mothering didn't come naturally to me but I worked at it quite diligently.  I concluded that loving them as much as I did (and that amazed me, the emotional bond) was probably going to be what I could rock ... everything else was just learning experiences.  Even with them practically all grown up, I still spend plenty of time thinking about them and how I can be my best for them.

One of the things I think I've noticed about myself and some other moms who I've observed is as we "pour ourselves" in to these very significant others we seem to forget/neglect who we are or maybe should best be becoming.  And, if that is true and I think it is, over time the mom becomes empty.  I don't know how a young mother can monitor that, in fact, we are encouraged to sacrifice all for the building of a child-person, to do less is thought of as self-serving.  At least that's been my (cultural) experience.  But ... I think it's a really bad plan for any number of reasons.  For one ... nobody benefits from a "deadhead" mom ... another, it is not loving to build overly entitled children (formerly known as  If I had it to do over again, I would try to take better care of myself sooner .  I don't know how anybody else would do that, for me it was taking on the challenge of flying.  I began it right around the time this picture was taken ... and I think it was in the nick of time.  So ... whatever it is that stretches and strengthens you - find it and do it - it makes you a fuller person.  I don't think any of my kids are impressed with any of the stuff I do well, they take it all very much for granted, but I come to the relationship(s) better prepared to contribute.

It's starting to be time for me to spend more time with my own mom.  I dread it ... really.  It's always been a difficult relationship.  But ... I'm thinking that a good bit of life spent with the people who are my children has prepared me better then I might expect.  They taught me how to love.


John Venlet said...

They taught me how to love.

That's beautiful, DeAnn. Though your kids may have taught you how to love, they also learned how to love from you. You, and they, are still learning, too, I'd bet.

DeAnn said...

Absolutely correct ... and isn't it interesting that in the process we may come to more grace-full-ly experience God's love for us all.

Ask your mum and your sweet Melis how they would answer the young mother ... I'd love to know.