May 29, 2013

From One Mama to another... on What I've Learned So Far...

In which I write about what I know now... from one Mom to another - just in case it may help. So let's sit back and chat over a cup of something yummy... let's Talk Real, Live Honest, and Offer Hope...

Let me start by assuring you that what I actually DO know now is still not much... I am no expert! But what I've learned over the past 18 years, well - most of it I had to learn more than once!

So, first off - the lie that you have blown it... well - it's just that - a lie! Trust me, for there have been more times than I could count when I was pushed down low with that one, but more often than not we get another chance to try... another chance to choose a different reaction or approach. We get – if not a Do Over – at least a Do It Again, and maybe next time- maybe next time, we'll have learned.

Next up: There is no way you could've known beforehand... no amount of studying could have prepared you enough to understand the shift in balance of your universe the first time your eyes locked on to this miracle of flesh and blood - of your very heart beating now, breathing now, on the outside of you. So relish in it... be amazed by it - by her or him... and then, turn your attention to the Father who so gets it!

He understands that feeling - that love... that I-would-do-anything-for-you emotion that rises up... He understands it, He meant it - and no matter what is wrapped or naked, cradled or cracked - He means it still.

Also, you know this: that there will come a day when you miss those Po Na Na's (you know... the little ponytails that stick straight up with toddler curls!) You will miss the chubby thighs and cheeks (that one day you will swear up and down and promise that neither thighs NOR cheeks are chubby... You will PROMISE!) You'll long for the days of innocence first trying on a lie... of the sneaking that is anything but sneaky... and of drama with friends when it involved playgrounds and recess more than facebook and snapchat!

What you may not know is this: You'll even miss the attempt at slamming doors, eyes rolling at epic proportions, & words escaping without thought - or worse yet - with a lot of thought, intended to cut. You'll miss the heart break (theirs and your own), the yelling, the garbage not picked up, and the piles of laundry – intermixing and co-mingling and the who-can-know-if-it's-clean's. Yes - even this, you will miss!

And let me tell you why:

Because all of it – the good and the 'bad' – all of it means you are living a life out loud. You're creating a family and that is messy and hard, sometimes – but easy and joy-filled at other times. Hopefully, you're pouring out the very heart that was broken and poured out for you... you're learning from your mistakes... and from theirs... and the one piece of advice I have to offer- the most important thing I have learned is this:

I have learned a secret... it's both terrifying and freeing at the same time and here it is:

There is no One Way... perfect, tried & true way to raise a child... and even if there was, there is no guarantee!

I know some of us (ahem) like the idea of following in the footsteps of other successful parenting stories, but you can do all the things right - and they can still choose a less-than-stellar path... or you can do all the things wrong, and they can choose the straight and narrow!

I used to look around me, trying to judge what went wrong or what others were doing right. It was a mildly hidden form of comparison, but I did it silently and under the guise of 'learning from others' mistakes' in order to map out a plan. But here's the deal - we get moments to sow, to speak, and to pray into them. We must take those moments, jumping in with all that we've got. But we're raising tiny humans and they'll one day choose their own maps, their own plans, and dream their own dreams!

The thing that you can always do... the one thing that will always hang on, always hold through, and always win out? It's His way: Consistently strive to pour out Love and offer up Grace, for them and for you!

Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.


* I originally wrote this as a guest post, but I just couldn't leave it in my Drafts folder - unpublished, unread... and then I read THIS by the amazing Sarah Markley - in which she oh so beautifully expresses the same thought... 

Linking up today with Barbie over at The Weekend Brew:

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