Baby showers. Hospital rooms. 24-hour deliveries. No sleep. Leaky nursing bra. Baby giggles. Blurry mind. Toothless smiles. Crawling under the crib in the middle of the night for the pacifier. Yellow poop up the back.
I can’t believe this is my life.
Tantrums in grocery stores. Toddler tunes enough to drive a normal person crazy. First full sentences. Bonked heads. Refusals to nap. Go Dog Go. Happy bubble baths. Weird obsessions. Endless hugs.
I can’t believe this is my life.
Play dates. Obnoxious Nick Jr. Skinned knees. Brown play-dough. Playgrounds. Accidents in pants. Too many doctor visits. Smooshy kisses (right on the lips)! Melt-downs. “Parent’s, please stay with your child” birthday parties.
I can’t believe this is my life.
Homework. The car. The car. The car. Class parties. Sidelines and fields. Strange sounds coming from musical instruments. Mom school projects. Fibs. Surprise “I love you” notes. Whining. Lost jackets, mittens, and hats.
I can’t believe this is my life.
Cliques. Hormones. School performance pressure. Spontaneous hugs. Rolling eyes. Good talks in the car, facing forward. Did I say hormones? Budding independence. Dinners on the run. Concerts. Teams. Plays. Try-outs. Rejections. First paid gigs.
I can’t believe this is my life.
First kisses (and second and third). Team dinners. Slammed doors. Missed curfews. Drivers’ licenses. YIKES. Long unprompted talks. Proms. Less and less control. Senior nights. Heartbreaks. Texts not returned for what seems like hours and hours and hours. Real Christmas presents. Car accidents. College apps. Caps flying in the air.
I can’t believe this is my life.
Dorm shopping. Saying goodbye. Endless mom tears. Weeks between texts. WORRY. Weird campus visits. Saying hello. Curfews??? No. Home-cooked food. Yes. Summer job??? Possibly. Up till all weird hours. Yes. Dirty dishes. Yes. Family. Saying goodbye again. Less mom tears. More mom relief. REPEAT for four years.
I can’t believe this is my life.
First jobs. W2s. Uhauls. “Adulting.” Used car lots. Uhauls. Sincere and heart-felt “thank you moms.” Heated conversations about world events. Tearful hugs goodbye. Zoom family game nights. Did I mention Uhauls? Mother’s Day flowers from afar. Wedding planning. Real friendship. Grandpuppies. Precious and fleeting moments “ALL TOGETHER.” Yup. Uhauls.
I can’t believe this is my life.
Baby showers. Hospital rooms. 24-hour deliveries. Baby giggles. Toothless smiles. After-bath smells. Snuggles and kisses. Toddler tantrums. Excitement over Mommy’s old Fisher Price school bus. Go Dog Go. Sad “see you soons.” Facetime laughter. “I love you the most, Mema.” Happiest hugs hello.
An older mom, whose kids were the age of mine now, shared a GOLDEN NUGGET with me when my second son was starting middle school. It changed the course of my parenting and is something I have had to put in practice, albeit not-so-perfectly, especially now as my kids are mostly grown.
(The content below is based on real-life experiences. The stories may have been altered slightly and names have been removed to protect the innocent.)
Toddler only wants to talk about, read about, watch videos about, wear jammies with and sit on tractors, especially blue ones.
Five-year old wants to wear his Batman costume seven days a week, 24 hours a day. This obsession continues for four more years.
Preteen asks for bassoon lessons. What even is a bassoon?
Teenager flits from photography to guitar to lacrosse to modelling to penny-collecting to painting body for football games to Ford Mustang convertibles all within a couple of years.
College daughter announces plans to move 2,764 miles away to pursue career in Studio City, California right after she graduates.
LOVE WHAT THEY LOVE.
Eight-year-old’s best friend is known as the “behavior problem” in third grade. You have heard from “reputable sources” that the parents have been in trouble with the law.
Sixth-grade son announces he has a girlfriend, the most popular girl in 7th grade (and who you heard is one of the “mean” ones).
Junior in high school casually mentions at the dinner table that she’s dating a boy from work who dropped out of college.
College son springs the surprise at Christmas that he is “in love” with a 33-year-old. You stalk her Instagram and she’s covered in tattoos and sports a lip ring.
Twenty-something daughter texts you that she is moving in with her Atheist boyfriend in a few weeks and they plan to get married in Mexico next summer.
LOVE WHO THEY LOVE.
END OF STORY.
I’ve shared this nugget with my kids over and over and over and made this promise to them on countless occasions. I asked my son tonight what he thinks about it as we were having a pretty-heated discussion about my parenting (flaws and all). “Mom,” he said, “I feel like I never have to pretend, hide or worry about being someone that I’m not. I have permission to be exactly who I am. I know you love me no matter what.”
My heart skipped a beat as a tear trickled down my cheek. Yes, my child, I want you to be exactly who God made you to be and I will love what you love, and I promise, whether it’s easy or hard, to love whoever you love. I want to give you the gift that God has given to me. END OF STORY.
“Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that.” (Ephesians 5:2)
When you took your child home for the first time, I bet you felt like I did: nervous, excited, already exhausted, wondering if you would be all the things that were expected of you and that you hoped for.
It didn’t matter whether your child was chosen by you through adoption or born out of your body. Whether you went home with your first born as a single mom or with your sixth child as a married, older mom, this was a big undertaking, one filled with anticipation and trepidation (and maybe a little freak out).
This whole mom thing has been “quite the ride,” filled with quarrels and hugs, tears and laughter, heartache and hope. It feels a bit like you have been in some kind of battle together, sometimes fighting against each other (I know that all too well), but really fighting FOR something bigger than either of you: your child’s heart.
When he has bummer days, you fight FOR him not to become bitter. When she in on top of her game, you fight FOR her to become grateful. It’s an every-day kind of fighting and it doesn’t matter if your child is 2 or 52. P.S. You’re doing great!!!
I’ve got some BIG NEWS: You are NOT the only one fighting FOR your child, even in those moments that tell you the opposite. You are not in this battle alone, even for a minute.
God goes in front of your child, swatting down all the “spiderwebs” and low-hanging tree branches.
God hangs in the trenches with your child, especially for all the minutes that you are not able to be there.
God brings up the rear too, so that your child feels all kinds of safe inside.
God fights fiercely FOR his or her heart. YUP He does!! And He never stops!!
Believing this is one of the only things that holds this fraidy cat mama heart together many days.
Now I’ve even got some BIGGER NEWS: In the midst of the mayhem, God hasn’t forgotten about you. He also battles FOR your beautiful, precious, mama heart, your confused, grateful, anxious, sad, hopeful, kind, trusting, vulnerable heart.
He doesn’t just want your child to thrive. He wants the same FOR you.
He doesn’t just want your child to be free, He wants the same FOR you.
He doesn’t just want your child’s life to be full, He wants the same FOR you.
You are His beloved child after all.
I pray that today, your mama’s heart will both calm and bask in this truth and at the same time, be excited for all the victory that’s ahead on this crazy, never-ending motherhood adventure.
You know all those times you have blessed your child?
You know all those times you have worked so hard to create an environment for happiness and well-being?
You know all those times where you loved when it was hard, sacrificed when you were depleted, exhibited kindness when you were angry, and showed patience in the midst of difficulty?
You really have been a blessing. Sometimes a double one! Even triple!
There is no doubt. And you will continue to bless your child every day until you take your final breath! That part is never over no matter how old they get or you feel (haha)!
TODAY, it’s your turn. I pray that you would be encompassed by those who speak goodness to you, those that bring blessing, not only with their words, but with their lives.
TODAY, may you be encircled by love, sacrifice, kindness and patience the way you have shown these in abundance to your child over and over and over (and then some).
Of course, you haven’t done this perfectly. None of us have (me especially). Don’t let that voice overshadow you at all TODAY!
Listen to a kinder, gentler voice, the one straight from the heart of God! He fills in the gaps of your (and my) lack. He does this perfectly even when you (and I) haven’t and can’t.
His Spirit, the truest voice of encouragement and hope, is right there right now with you. He longs to tenderly share the message of love, grace, mercy, goodness and blessing that you (and me) need to hear, especially TODAY.
I’m awake. It’s 4:00 am. Just 45 minutes ago, I heard the garage door open and close for the last time at this ungodly hour. I ran downstairs to give and get a hug from our youngest.
You see, tonight was the night of nights. After a final dinner celebrating our two graduates, Rachel and her best friend did what they always do. They drove around enjoying our sleepy little town and the surrounding areas, talking about all those things BFFs talk about. This was their last time to do that as neighbors who’ve known each other (and been mostly inseparable) since they were just six years old. That’s why it’s an ungodly hour. I don’t blame them. It’s really hard to say goodbye.
After crying and hugging when she came in, and clinging to her (and secretly wishing I never had to let go), she went to sleep in her childhood bed for one more dreamy night and after trying to venture back into my own fitful sleep, I gave up and decided to process just a tiny bit of the swirling emotions coursing through my very bones.
You see, today is the day of days. I begin the long goodbye of driving my precious Rachel across the country to her new life on the other coast in Burbank, California. 2,764 miles from our house to her new apartment. That’s really far. We leave in just 11 hours.
When she burst on the scene 19 years, 10 months ago, I never fathomed the ache I would hold in my heart this morning. The proud and painful and thankful and joyful and awful ache. It’s the universal mom ache that comes every time we say goodbye.
It starts when our babies take their first toddling and tentative steps away from us. That initial ache comes unbidden as we grasp a glimpse of all the future steps they will take away from us, all the goodbyes to come.
The goodbye of walking onto a school bus or into a classroom for the very first time. Tiny hands turn and wave. The ache rears and settles.
The goodbye of a first sleepover or summer camp. They are not “right in the next room,” safe under the cover of our home. The ache rears quietly and settles quickly.
The goodbye of their very independent, “I’ve got this,” preteen self. This one smacks loud and jolts abruptly. The ache rears ferociously and settles slowly.
The goodbye of a challenging teen mishap. Their childhood innocence door slams shut. The ache rears dragging fear along with it and settles in fits and starts.
The goodbye of backing out of the driveway moments after receiving freedom in the shape of a gift from the DMV. The ache rears with memories of a toddler in her car seat and settles with some much-needed freedom from late-night, seemingly endless pickups.
The goodbye of a graduation cap and a college dorm room. Stopping here for a moment. This one was really rough for me. This ache rears and settles, rears and settles, rears and settles, every time they come home and leave, come home and leave, come home and leave.
The goodbye I find myself in this morning. The goodbye of moving out and moving on. The goodbye that speaks to adulthood, active parenting job done, “will they make it on their own? This ache rears fresh and raw this morning. I am hopeful it will settle.
There are more goodbyes to come. The goodbye of weddings and births of grandchildren (I’ve experienced those with my oldest and she is experiencing her own goodbyes now). Every time, the steps are further and further away. Every time, the ache rears and rears and rears. Every time, the ache settles and settles and settles.
I know that with each goodbye comes a settling hello. A settling hello that brings newness, possibility and life. Believe me, I know.
But in the wee hours of this morning, I sit in the real, raw ache of the goodbye, not rushing the pride I feel, the pain I feel, the thankfulness I feel, the joy I feel and the awfulness I feel. It’s beautiful here. It’s sacred here. It’s momentous here.
The sun is not up yet. I sit quiet in the dark. The ache will settle soon enough. I like the ache for now. It’s my very good friend.
(To those of you who have said the worst goodbye in the loss of your child, I am just so sorry. I wonder if there is ever a settling after the ugly rearing of the ache. It’s okay if there’s not. Maybe there shouldn’t be. Either way, I wholeheartedly salute you. I stand with you. I sit with you. I am just so very sorry. You never should have had to say this kind of goodbye.)
If you have the great privilege to meet Brian Herbert Maret, you immediately like him, but more importantly, you immediately feel liked. Did you catch that? You immediately feel liked. Listen again. You immediately feel liked. This is the man I call Dad.
Yes. My dad is a gardener and can grow a mean crop of tomatoes. Yes. He’s a missionary and has lived his life serving the God he loves. Yes. He’s a sports fanatic and will watch almost anything with a ball in it. Yes. He packs the best boxes in the safest ways for shipping items all the way to Africa or even New Jersey. Yes. He loves fishing and touching worms and pulling out all the hooks that get lodged in places fish (and squeamish daughters) are not happy about. Yes. He’s a husband who has loved my mom for more than 63 years. Yes. He is all those things and so much more.
Nature and/or nurture passed down only some of those things to me. No. I am not a gardener. Yes. I love God. Yes. I’m a sports fanatic. No. I can’t pack a box to ship across the street, much less to Africa. No. I don’t like catching fish or touching worms or pulling out hooks. Yes. I love my husband and hope to make it to 63 years (28 and counting – check it out HERE).
BUT BUT BUT…
There’s a few more powerful life lessons he shared with methat made me be a better mom (and a better human)…
1. GET DOWN ON THE FLOOR
For as long as I can remember and especially during my young mom years, the image I have of my dad is ON THE FLOOR surrounded by children (and toys and crafts and books). The key is ON THE FLOOR. At their level. Doing what they love.
One day, I watched my daughter crouch down to speak with a child who was asking her questions. I asked her why she did that and she responded, “I learned that from you, Mom. It shows basic respect for them, even though they are little.” “Oh my goodness,” I said, “I learned that from my dad. It just comes automatically.”
Thanks, Dad, for helping me to “get down on the floor” with my own children and those I don’t even know very well, to be a respecter of persons, no matter whether they are two or 92, brown-skinned or blue-eyed, the King of Ethiopia or the poor Somali boy with no shoes. Based on the podcasts I have done with my now child-adults, this idea of respect at all costs for all people seems to have struck their deepest chord. Thanks, Dad.
2. TALK TO STRANGERS IN GROCERY STORE LINES
I know how to embarrass my kids. That’s for sure. Especially when my two youngest were teens. I talked to strangers in strange places, but especially in grocery store lines. If they were wearing a Steelers hat, I would strike up a conversation about the latest game they lost or won. If their cart was filled with healthy fare, I would make some comment of admiration, knowing my checkout receipt was laden with Cheetos, Gogurts and frozen pizza. To add to the problem, their older brother joined in the fun! They, however, hoping to avoid this horrible atrocity of connection, would rebuke me quietly in my ear or poke me in the ribs, reminding me that we were just here to shop and get home.
I was a little kinder to my dad when he did this very thing (probably because I secretly loved it). It wasn’t just grocery store lines. It was the man sitting next to him at a sporting event. It was the new neighbor getting their mail. It was the teenager crabbing on the same pier. I am still kind to him when he does it and in fact, I spark up the conversation right along with him.
Thanks, Dad, for teaching me that people, and even my own kids, want to be known and seen and heard. That you can always find that “something” that provides the sacred space of human connection and by doing so, reminding each one that they are of great value. Thanks, Dad, that finally, my now 19-year-old admitted to me (the last time it happened) that she “gets it” and that she actually likes that part of me. Thanks, Dad, for passing along that trait and your friendly self to my second-born who is relentless in his pursuit of a common connection with those he meets (as one of his friends reminded me just yesterday).
3. MOW LAWNS THAT AREN’T YOUR OWN AND KEEP IT A SECRET
I found out recently that my eighty-something parents drive their widowed, ninety-something neighbor to get groceries. Lots of secrets were kept about these very kinds of things. I would find out from others all the little (sometimes big), kind, generous, unseen gestures that my dad would do for them. Mowing lawns (“I’m outside anyway.”), washing endless dishes every night when we were teens, sharing zucchini from his beloved garden, giving money to the poorer at a time he was poor himself, praying every single morning for us kids and now his grandchildren (along with my mom), and of course, so many things that are still a secret.
Thanks, Dad, for encouraging me during those unseen times of being a mom (countless loads of laundry, lunches made, sleepless nights and booboos kissed…something I now have in common with my own child-mom). Thanks for reminding me that it all counts (not just the stuff that’s noticed), that nothing is too little, that each ordinary act of kindness makes me a better mom and the world a better place, a place where God and all His kindness, generosity, and many times unnoticed Self is revealed to those who need it most.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, DAD! And all you other amazing dads out there! It’s your day and I celebrate you!
“There’s a boy who stole my heart. He calls me mom.” (I have no idea where this came from)
YOU ARE THE ONE, Joshua Brian Goetz, who burst on the scene on April 4, 1996, weighing in at 9 pounds and 13 ounces (yikes!).
YOU ARE THE ONE who started out with baby acne and a fairly largish head and I felt mild pity for (just being honest) and a lot of extra love.
YOU ARE THE ONE who became the most adorable baby with your year-long toothless smile (so much for my pity party).
YOU ARE THE ONE who took three naps until you were one, giving this tired mommy a much-needed respite from handling three little ones under five!
YOU ARE THE ONE who sat with books in your crib for hours, happily “reading.” (Little did we know then that you are a high introvert and this was your plot to have some peace and quiet away from your hovering and excitable siblings.)
YOU ARE THE ONE who would only color with the orange crayon.
YOU ARE THE ONE who had all 150 Pokemon characters memorized and their “moves” when you were only three!
YOU ARE THE ONE we called Spot because you have had EVERY. SINGLE. POSSIBLE. RASH known to the medical community (you just had another one two months ago)!
YOU ARE THE ONE who hid behind the couch every time I left the room and jumped out and yelled “SURPRISE!” when I returned (one of my all-time best memories)!
YOU ARE THE ONE who wore some kind of cape everywhere we went, which morphed from a bandana to a full-fledged home-made BAT cape! You were my little superhero for sure!
YOU ARE THE ONE who drew on the hood of our friend’s brand new SAAB with a rock you found (cha-ching, cha-ching).
YOU ARE THE ONE that ONLY wanted a State Quarter Map for Christmas when you were four (we still have it in your room and it is full of quarters)!
YOU ARE THE ONE who organized all your outfits in your drawers and were mildly (okay, not so mildly) obsessed with shoes for years and years and years (who gets Famous Footwear gift certificates when they are just a young boy)!
YOU ARE THE ONE who fell sledding and ended up in a country hospital emergency room with stitches (which I had to take out because we moved three days later)!
YOU ARE THE ONE who asked this question when you were just 5 1/2: “Mom, if Jesus was Jewish, did He believe in Himself?”
YOU ARE THE ONE who did a cannonball into our indoor tub (it was kind of a big tub; I will grant you that).
YOU ARE THE ONE who filled our house with singing. I knew you were sick when it stopped and you were better when it started up again (you still sing today)!
YOU ARE THE ONE who always had a bucket and a net in your hand, catching all the creatures in lakes, gardens, ponds, rivers, and our backyard!
YOU ARE THE ONE who was rushed to the emergency room with a tonsil abscess and needles were poked into your throat and you threw up all over the doctor! You obviously lived to tell the tale!
YOU ARE THE ONE who had every kind of lizard and reptile as a pet (from anoles to geckos to bearded dragons).
YOU ARE THE ONE who was Hot Rod Hanson in the summer musical, girls swooning around you as you belted out your notes.
YOU ARE THE ONE who almost caught our house on fire with your water gun filled with lighter fluid in one hand and the BIC grill lighter in the other.
YOU ARE THE ONE who was fascinated by your lacrosse stick, walking constantly around the house with it, and eventually figuring out how to string it yourself!
YOU ARE THE ONE who made weird faces when playing on your game system, your mouth moving in all the directions of the controller.
YOU ARE THE ONE who broke your clavicle because you were chosen to play in a lacrosse tournament with the big kids. Emergency room #3!
YOU ARE THE ONE who was Gaston in the middle school play, Beauty and the Beast, again girls swooning around you as you belted out your notes (this time right before your voice changed – Gaston never sounded so feminine – and I don’t think “every last inch of you was covered with hair”)!
YOU ARE THE ONE who played on four basketball teams in Eighth Grade (no wonder your grades slipped into an uncomfortable place for this mama)!
YOU ARE THE ONE who watched the Office non-stop for about four years (I think you are still watching it).
YOU ARE THE ONE who grew about eight inches in one year, going from one of the shorter guards on your basketball team to one of the “big men.”
YOU ARE THE ONE who was obsessed with purple and penguins and hats (with the flat brim) and game systems and legos.
YOU ARE THE ONE who had a kids’ Batman backpack all of high school (yes, even into your senior year)!
YOU ARE THE ONE who had a 1 in 100,000 people knee injury your junior year playing basketball. After surgery, nine months of recovery and two more surgeries, we are crossing our fingers it’s finally healed!
YOU ARE THE ONE who got your ears pierced at sixteen much to my chagrin (you did take care of them much to my happy surprise – and you don’t wear them any more much to my “I-don’t-care-anymore-what-you-do” attitude).
YOU ARE THE ONE who bought kitten and lamb folders for your senior school year (you never ever ever ever ever cared about what anyone thought about you).
YOU ARE THE ONE who wrapped your arms around me one day when I was afraid and said, “It’s all going to be okay, Mom” (I recall you doing that again just last week).
YOU ARE THE ONE who beat everyone at Poker all the time. Enough said.
YOU ARE THE ONE who told your basketball coach not to put you in the starting line up your Senior Year, that you wanted to be the Sixth Man coming off the bench (WHO DOES THAT?!?).
YOU ARE THE ONE who proudly donned your “Raritan Valley Community College” t-shirt on “Decision Day,” while all your friends sported their VIP universities.
YOU ARE THE ONE who broke your hand playing in a Charity game and pretended your cast was a fashion accessory. (Most of our mom/son memories have come in that “room” at the doctor waiting endlessly for the knock on the door. We have had more than enough time to solve all the world’s problems).
YOU ARE THE ONE who wore a Batman shirt under your prom tux and painted (well Sarah painted) the Batman symbol on your graduation cap, a constant reminder of the superhero that you are!
YOU ARE THE ONE who took a Gap Year before you went to college, again being your own person and not falling in line with everyone else. (It was one of the best decisions you’ve ever made and we loved having the bonus time with you.)
YOU ARE THE ONE who jumped off a fifty-foot cliff into the waters of the Pacific Ocean on a whim (so so so glad I found out about this after you lived through it).
YOU ARE THE ONE who built your own computer with Lego Batman holding up the graphics card.
YOU ARE THE ONE who decided to major in psychology even though you don’t like people all that much. Of course. Of course.
YOU ARE THE ONE who wants to know a million random facts about anything and everything from why non-poisonous snakes flatten their heads when they are threatened to whether or not “pronunciate” is a real word (those are just the two from this past week).
YOU ARE THE ONE who became fixated on headphones and you actually write reviews on the internet for the subculture of headphone lovers. (Your college graduation gift is to get custom headphones made for your unique ears.)
YOU ARE THE ONE who did not walk at your college graduation because ceremonies just don’t cut it for you.
YOU ARE THE ONE who I can talk to about everything spiritual, cerebral and you always have an opinion about the subject matter at hand (kind of like your mama). Our banter is my favorite.
YOU ARE THE ONE who is still pulling Batman shirts over your head some mornings (I personally think you are way cooler than Batman)!
YOU ARE THE ONE who I am so thankful to have shared the last 24 years with. There is no one else quite like you. Really. Seriously. No one.
YOU ARE THE ONE who will always march to the beat of your own drum (or play a completely different instrument).
I don’t have to discipline my child so that they don’t embarrass me (in public) – especially the child that has a real knack for that! (Jennifer Holmes)
My popcorn-eating, ice-chewing, overall-wearing, quirky teen actually grew up to be a popcorn-eating, ice-chewing quirky adult (she stopped wearing overalls thank goodness)! (moms of one-of-a-kinders)
Being stuck in a certain stage for the rest of my life is a total lie! (Martha Grimm Brady) No stage lasts forever. (Kelly) Being up at 4 am with my newborn sixteen nights in a row doesn’t mean it will be seventeen nights in a row. (Melony)
“Different” does not equal “less than.” I am not doing anything wrong just because I have unique kiddos. (Sue)
Being a mom exposes my vulnerability like nothing else. Brave into it every time. When I feel overwhelmed, lost, and emotionally spent, I might be surprised to find the deep peace of God. (Brenda Seefeldt Amodea)
I do not have to take everything SO seriously!! Have FUN and relax. (Karen)
I’m glad that I was, in the words of my daughter, committed to leisure 😊❤️ (Marilyn Gardner)
The everyday moments are the glue and foundation of my future relationship with my adult children. What seems ordinary at the time becomes precious. (Debbie)
Let them see me sweat, cry, try and fail and say I’m sorry! (Brooke McGillivray) . Just because they are little people doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a big apology. (Carrie)
A mother’s gut instinct about her child is just about always right. I don’t have to second guess myself. (Val)
How important it is to surround myself with other moms, especially those who are a season ahead of me. It takes a village to care for the village. I am not alone in how I feel. (Shelby Spear)
99% of the time what I worried about NEVER happened! (Susan)
Parent my kids according to their unique needs. Study them to figure that out. (Debbie Jones Warren)
Beautiful, firm boobs are highly overrated. (Every mom everywhere)
What my kids did wasn’t personal even if it felt like it. It was all part of them trying out things appropriate to their stages of growth: like my busy little guy doing toothpaste art on the bathroom mirror or my teen keeping secrets. (Julie Miller Elder)
Make them get a job and pay for their own cell phones. (Pam)
It’s healthy for my kids to ask questions about their faith. I didn’t need to have all the answers and it would take bravery in working it out alongside of them. (Therese)
The impact of sugar and carbs on the body and mind. I might have cooked a little less pasta. That’s tough to say coming from a big Italian family. (Shirley)
Having a half-naked two-year old running around my house peeing on the carpet (and once every so often making it to the toilet) is completely normal. (Desperate potty-training moms)
Get into my kids’ world and discover what makes them “them” AND also invite them into my world and what makes me “me.” (Aimee Welch)
It’s NOT all up to me. I can’t take all the credit, but more importantly, I can’t take all the blame. (JoAnn)
This mom thing is not for sissies. It is a wonderful gift AND the most challenging thing I will ever do. There is nothing that could have prepared me for my heart to be walking around outside of myself with no way to control what happens. But the joy, oh the joy that comes from driving out to the boondocks at 3:00 in the morning to pick up a bunch of tipsy high school seniors. That joy comes from years of building trust, it is worth every minute of dusty floors and unfolded laundry, every book and every lego you step on in the middle of the night. (Katie Spiller Kibbe)
It’s so important to ask for help. Don’t wait to throw up the white flag. (Sue)
My five-year old wearing a full-Batman suit or Disney Princess costume with high heels makes every other mom in the grocery store give me the “I get you” mom side-eye. (subculture of moms of costume wearers)
In the very painful moments of parenting when God seems to say nothing, when my children are suffering, He is not resting, but active. (Roey)
Provide time for myself. Purposeful self-care might have helped me enjoy the kids more. (Sandy Sheridan) Put your own oxygen mask on before you assist others. (flight attendant moms)
It’s not about being the perfect mom. It’s about having the perfect God. (Bethany)
They WILL sleep through the night. (Recovering sleep-deprived moms)
It’s just as important to accept, value, nurture, love, honor and delight in myself as well as my kids! (Annie)
I am going to be okay no matter what! (Esther)
WE ARE IN THIS GIANT MOM LIFE BOAT TOGETHER! LET’S KEEP PUTTING PRESERVERS ON EACH OTHER AS WE NAVIGATE THIS SOMETIMES PEACEFUL AND OTHER TIMES STORMY SEA!
And that’s when I heard it, “Hold space for them.”
“Hold space for them? What does that mean?” I asked God.
I sat there in my car in the parking lot of the addiction rehab I taught at and knew God was calling me to embark on a journey with these women. As I hung up the phone, I was caught by a sweep of His presence, as I felt the answer to my question settle in my spirit…Just show up every week and be there for them. Be present to their pain.
It’s been almost a year since I heard those words, “Hold space.” I’ve learned to stay present without a response. Without turning away from the pain of others. Loving without saying a word, giving each other space to feel. I’ve learned “holding space” is a beautiful way to sit with them in their pain. It’s finding the depth of love necessary to allow them to feel without judgment, without rushing in to clean it up or fix it. It’s standing beside one another offering hope without saying a word.
A few months ago, the Holy Spirit sweetly asked, “Yeah, but do you know how to hold space for yourself?”
Hold space for me? There’s no time for that.
I’m learning what this means. In a season of five active kids, a dad fighting for his life, and a husband with a demanding job I’m finding I need more time for me. Often times our own self takes a back seat during busy seasons. The thing is, we can’t afford not to take care of our own soul. This is why David spoke to his soul, “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone” (Ps. 62:1,5). We live unawakened lives when we neglect our souls.
Join as I’m a guest on The Dolly Mama and the Millennials podcast where we talk about ways to hold space for ourselves and why it’s important. Laugh and cry with us for thirty minutes as we explore the need for soul-care and how to do that during this busy journey of motherhood.
“Today you are you. That is truer than true. There is no one alive that is youer than you.” (Dr. Seuss)
Being a parent means supporting our kids to be fully who they are, not who we are or think they should be. It’s not about creating “Mini-MEs” but about birthing “YOUs”!!
For me, it means processing math lessons and listening to crazy student behavior with my teacher daughter, along with reminding her of how great of a mom she is on those tough days with a toddler (#allofthem)
It means hearing stories about ride-on mowers almost flipping over and buying chocolate muffins from Costco for my landscaper son.
It means asking (and then actually listening to the response) about the latest headphones on the market and being okay with my senior not wanting to walk at his college graduation.
Today, it means sitting in the back of a dark Sony sound studio after a very long flight and short night of sleep with my recording arts major watching her heart come alive and her dream come true! She does know what all those buttons do!
It’s not easy. It means we are stretched farther than we ever thought possible as we put aside our longing to hold them close and safe with the better choice of releasing them into the adventure of their own journeys!
What ways (big and small) are you doing this today for those you love??