Tag Archives: children

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me

Sometimes, although I completely celebrate and appreciate the blessing that motherhood is, the responsibility can overwhelm me. The bulk of the day-to-day parenting role in our family is mine. And I am completely honoured and humbled by the joy and learning that it has brought to my life.

No matter what age you are when you start planning your family, no matter how practical you are, I doubt you could ever really anticipate the depth of love you feel when you hold your beautiful new child in your arms. How could you possibly know how many times your heart will break for your children when they experience the harshness of the world around them? How would you comprehend the ongoing, far-reaching connection that never dissolves?

As my children experience struggle in their life, I’m very much aware of how that struggle will shape them and how even if I could protect them from every challenge – I wouldn’t. I know how life can kick you down but there’s so much empowerment and self-worth derived from picking yourself back up, of weathering storms, of relying on your faith, of taking action to make your situation better.

I have never been over-protective, in my estimation anyway. I have been accused of being too lenient with my children. I remember before even becoming pregnant reading a book called, Your Child’s Self-Esteem. I tried to do everything right. Don’t we all have the best intentions? I think the one ideal I set for myself as a parent was to encourage my children’s individuality. Cookie-cutter children without imagination were not my hope. I tried to build them up, to be their champion, to have their backs but I did so acknowledging their responsibility in situations and trying to be real with them. When a child brought me their scribble-drawings I focused on something I liked about it, the colour they used or how they filled the paper, but I avoided saying it was the best thing I’d ever seen. I didn’t talk baby-talk to them but I did sing them lullabies.

Now as all but one of them are in their 20s, I’m surprised by how strongly I’m still affected by their choices and by how they are living their lives. I kind of imagined they’d all be independent by now and my role would be more of just love and encouragement. I’m not complaining. I’m happy to be needed and consulted and to be their mother. But sometimes, when I’m up to my eyeballs in my own stress, my own problems, and I feel as though I’m drowning it’s hard to provide what they need. Is it selfish to think this way? Perhaps. I always love them, I always feel honoured to be their mom and to be invited into their lives. But how do I throw them the lifeline when I’m having trouble treading the stormy waters myself?

My children
My Heart beats

Maybe all they need is someone to hear them and understand. Maybe they don’t need me to solve their problems but just to listen and to believe in their abilities to rise above, to move forward, to actively choose for themselves the life they want, and maybe my role is to let go of the life I dreamed for them. Happiness, independence, joy, comfort – I’ll always wish these things for my children. I’m sure each one will walk their path uniquely and I will trust God to guide them and I will trust them to learn what life will teach them along the way.

So maybe when I’m drowning in these stormy seas, the one thing I can do is show them faith. Perhaps I need to be an example of peace. And when I do become upset, perhaps I need to show them that I can forgive myself for opening the valve and letting some of the frustration go. Perhaps my best option at this point is to show them the dignity that exits in being vulnerable, making mistakes and dealing with the challenges that seem to pop up like hurdles. We can trip, fall down, even cry but if we get up and get over that hurdle, maybe the next one won’t stop us in our tracks for as long.

I’ll probably always wonder if I let them down as their mother, if I taught them all I could, if I was and am who they need me to be. One thing I am sure of, my children all know I love them with all my heart and I hope that’s enough for there to be peace.

Christmas – Traditionally Always Changing

As our children get older and the reality that they may not always want to share their Christmases with us becomes a worrisome thought for me, I can’t help thinking, ugh, just my Guy and I alone on Christmas, how will that be any fun?

My eyes well up with tears when I remember each child’s first Christmas and oh so many fun memories. I worked hard to create our own traditions. We would celebrate Christmas eve with a birthday cake for Jesus, before bed the kids would open one gift then I’d tell them the story of Jesus’ birth using pictures I’d created from construction paper followed by Guy reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. In the morning they had to wait until 7 am before waking us but they could open their stockings.

I remember the year they started to care about giving instead of just receiving. The year they all posed for pictures in matching onesie pyjamas would be so fun to recreate. I was recently remembering too the year they all decided to re-gift old toys to each other and they laughed so hard and had so much fun opening them. Each December we’d take them to the dollar store, Guy would wait out with the kids sending one in at a time to select items for the others and I’d have to remember who was giving what to whom.

Somewhere along the way I gave up on turkey dinners that no one seemed interested in eating and switched to appetizers on Christmas day and after a few years of finding myself all alone after the Lego was built and the kids were off in their rooms we started the tradition of going to a movie on Christmas day.

Over the years we’ve stopped having the birthday cake for Jesus, no one wants to hear the stories. Some traditions remain, some do not. But reflecting helped me to realize that when something, no matter how precious to my heart, stopped working we adapted, we changed, and we started something new.

The truth is, Guy had my heart first and we enjoyed Christmas together before we had children. So in the future, when my kids want to start their own traditions and create their own family Christmases I’ll have happy memories to warm my heart and I feel confident that Guy and I will create new traditions – perhaps Christmas in Florida will call our names!