Wednesday, February 8, 2017

In praise of a mother

I am tired at the moment. There is so much on the go lately, and all I want to do is stop. Just stop for a few days, and take a moment, you know? I never knew. I never had any idea of just how weighty the responsibilities, and duties, and tasks and chores that fell on a Mothers shoulders were. I never really understood the weariness that it can bring. I know I have years (and years and years!) left ahead of me. I am just at the beginning of my long journey. But it is making me realise how all-encompassing and self-sacrificing a Mothers love is, and it is making me realise just how much, day in and day out, my Mother was Jesus to me.

So thank you Mum. Thank you for waking up, every single morning and making sure I had enough to eat before I went into the world. Thank you for waking me, dressing me, and staying up late at night ironing my clothes so I would look nice, even though all you wanted was your bed. Thank you for washing and folding clothes. Thank you for packing my lunch boxes, and doing the groceries, every single week of my childhood, so that I always had nutrious food to eat, and never, ever went hungry.

Thank you for driving me to school, and making me walk up the street to school when I get older. Thank you for expecting high achievement from me. Your high expectations were the reason I succeeded and continue to have high expectations of myself, and thank you for being a safe place to land when I fell short. Thank you for picking me up, and being home in the afternoon, with afternoon tea and a 'how was your day?' even though I often didn't bother to ask how your day was, and the response you got at times was grumpy, and rude, and sometimes even accusatory. Thank you for pikelets on rainy days. Thank you for helping me with my homework, and assignments, and caring not only about my social relationships, but also caring about my friends. Thank you for giving so freely of yourself.

Thank you for cooking dinner, every single night, especially when sometimes you would have been happy with eggs on toast, and often noses would turn up at the meals you prepared. Thank you for cleaning, and making beds, and washing dishes. Thank you for all the floors vacuumed and mopped and the toilets scrubbed. Thank you for making your house a home that was and still is a comfort to be in. Thank you for ballet lessons, and netball, and piano lessons, and Christmas presents and ice cream cakes at birthdays. 

Thank you for going to work and staying at home. Thank you for going without, and thank you for all the things you spent hard-earned dollars on, so that I could have. Thank you for praying for me, and trusting God with me.Thank you for the sleepless nights spent in prayer. Thank you for your constant support, and encouragement, and belief, and hope, and faith. Thank you for saying sorry when you lost your temper. Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for loving Dad, and showing me how to be a wife. Thank you for continuing on, despite the lack of appreciation you received. Thank you for sacrificing, and putting your time, effort, and energy into those things that the world does not see, and does not value, but are priceless beyond measure. Thank you for a thousand other things that I have forgotten. Thank you for showing me how it's done.


Saturday, January 21, 2017

6, 5 and 3 months


6 years. 

                                                                           
 
Oh how I love 6 years! 6 years is helpful, and tries so hard. 6 years is incredibly beautiful, and developing a nice little attitude that needs adjusting every now and then. 6 years is starting grade 1, and I am praying madly that grade 1 is exceptionally great for her, with so much learning being stuffed into her brain, as well as friendships growing and developing, and Oh Lord just let other people get to know how wonderful she is too! 6 years is her younger brothers best friend and worst enemy. She can be the kindest person in the world to him, who is always on his team, and she can also be the bossiest pain in the butt who teases him and delights in his shortcomings. 6 years very much enjoys being the 'good' one. Working on that. 6 years adores her baby brother, is such a little mother, and is so good at entertaining him, but she can still be a bit rough and she does not cope with crying babies. 6 years can be quite rude, and needs to learn self-regulation, but she loves her Father and I so much, and she is loved. 6 years is a spunky short haircut, and all of the pretty dresses and shoes, and accessories, and a beautiful, strong, independent, darling.

5 years.

                                                                      
   
5 years is currently asleep next to me. He still has trouble with big night time fears and creeps into bed beside me at night, but is (almost) fearless during the day. 5 years worries me at times because he is so strong and physical, and passionate and intense. It can be hard to channel such strength and energy and passion well. At times 5 years is also be so loving and affectionate, and thoughtful. 5 years is incredibly persistent and can push ALL of the buttons. But 5 years also works so hard, and does his best a lot. 5 years can also be far too rough with his sister, and I wish I could help him understand his own strength. I do find that 5 years makes me so frustrated, especially when I feel disrespected, and the pendulum often swings wildly between the deepest love and the most intense anger. 5 years is the most adoring big brother, and although he does get all up in the poor baby's face, he just loves him, and at times his life almost revolves around 'his' baby. Surprisingly, 5 years is handling school like a pro, and I have been so very proud of him. My everything is crossed that school is going to be marvellous for 5 years, and that he will learn and grow so much there. 5 years is incredibly funny, and makes so many people around him laugh with his funny ways and sayings. 5 years is smelly, and dirty, and smart, and brave and makes me feel all of the feelings. 

3 months.

                                                                      
 
3 months is a darling. 3 months seems to have slotted in so nicely, and he just belongs here. 3 months is a content little sausage, who is happiest when he is held. 3 months wakes up smiling, and has very cheerful mornings, but does tend to get crankier in the afternoons. 3 months does not like being put down in the afternoons when mummy has to cook dinner, and organise baths and teeth and stories. But, 3 months sleeps at night. Oh he sleeps so well! The best sleeper of all my babies, and I am just so grateful for that. I know it could change in a heartbeat. But for now having a good sleeper makes all the difference in the world to how a mother copes. 3 months has the biggest widest grin you've ever seen, and he seems (for the most part) to be contentedly, quietly just taking it all in. He loves his siblings, and thinks his Daddy is hilarious, and he is Mummy's cuddly koala. It is going to be so very interesting to see who 3 months turns out to be. But in the meantime 3 months is a happy little ray of sunshine, with the occasional thundercloud thrown in for good measure. 


Friday, January 20, 2017

On raising them well



I was flicking through Instagram tonight, when I came across something shared by someone I follow. It was a lovely family holiday snap, and underneath she had captioned "the greatest legacy we can leave our children are happy memories." And while I appreciate the sentiment, and completely understand that as a parent you want your child to grow up and have wonderful happy memories, my immediate reaction was: Bollocks. 

I love my children, and I want them to be happy. But to my mind raising them happy is not my job. My job is to raise people who love God, are kind to other people, and aren't entitled little jerks the world has to endure. 

I must admit, I've probably dragged myself a little towards the finish line these school holidays. There's been a little more screens, a little less activity and a little more shouting than I would have liked. I know there are going to be times when I'm on the ball as a parent more than others. But I'm just here right now reminding myself not to give up.

Last night Shane sent me the devotional he had read, and it was on refusing to settle. He was talking about it applying to himself. But I think it applies to our parenting too. I don't want complacency to rob me of the goal I am working towards. Which is to help these children grow up to be strong, courageous, kind, gentle, generous, self-sacrificing, patient, disciplined and humble. We were created for more than 'good enough' and I would like to see my children excel as humans. No necessarily to win awards, or prizes, or succeed according to the worlds standards. But to love God, and love others, and be the best version of themselves they can be. No matter what they do. I think what you do can be less important than the way in which you do it.  They may be doctors or garbage men (which is, it must be noted, Charlie's ambition), but whatever path they take in life, I think it is good to give your best, no matter the task. That whatever you do' you do well, 'pressing in toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called you' (Philippians 3:14). 

I don't want my children to settle, and that means that right now, I need to make sure I don't settle for a little joy or peace or contentment. Right now I am kind of in the trenches, because I must work every day to help shape these children into the people they will become. But I need to remember that I really have to do the hard yards now. It's worth it, and it really does matter.
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