I often think of my kids when they are older. I’ve done this for as long as I can remember, but looking at our oldest at 20 years old, and our next in line being 13 years old, has really made me consider what life looks like with adult children.
One of the things that I have been considering is what will they say to their friends, or to each other, about me/the way they were raised/our home?
What I want them to say is, “I know who I am, I know what God is calling me to, because my mom held space for me figure it out. I always knew she was there, I knew she loved me, she would answer questions, but she let me figure a lot out, she didn’t suffocate me under her expectations, her rules, or her ideas for my life.”
Then, I let that statement inform my reaction and response to many of our day-to-day interactions.
Now, I know they will call each other when they are grown and have moved on and laugh about the time mom lost it over one thing or another. “Do you remember that time she was so red it looked like her head might pop off?” And they won’t remember clearly what they did that made me that mad, but then again, neither would I if they asked. I probably wouldn’t remember being that mad or red, and would probably laugh it all off awkwardly.
That is the grown up joy of siblings – no one knows quite what it was like to grow up the way you did like a sibling does. They understand the nuances of family life in your childhood and can help you relate your childhood experiences to useful tidbits for adulthood.
But that’s not all I want them to remember – not always or only the red-faced mom who was just so done with that day. I want them to also remember my presence. I don’t think they’ll always remember my words, whether it was the best advice or the worst. I don’t think they’ll remember every outing, every meal, every outfit washed, dried, and put away. In fact, I know they won’t. But I want my presence to be powerful – because I was calm when they weren’t, because I was strong with them, for them. Because I held space while they navigated a challenge and cheered them on.
I want them to remember that I believed in them, that I fought for them, that I never ran from a battle where they were concerned. As I think on what I want them to remember, it is a powerful force for how to be now. Whether I only have one more day here on earth with them or 50 more years, considering their memories is a powerful motivator for how I respond today.
I desperately don’t want them to remember that mom was always sick. I hear it in their voices when they prepare to leave for their Dad and Step Mom’s house – “Are you going to be okay?” “What if you have a really bad day?”
They know how much they help me on the really bad days, and how much they do for the littles and the farm when I am not up to par. This weighs heavy on my heart often, but as I write this to share, even more so. This isn’t what I want them to remember about growing up. It doesn’t feel fair that they have to grow up with a sick mom.
If I’m being completely honest, it’s the spot where I have to be the most intentional about being soft to the Lord and His guidance and will for my life. I could easily get angry that He let my kids have a sick mom. But He is faithful to redeem our deepest pain for His greatest glory. And I know He will use their experience with a sick mom to reach people around them through their whole lives.
What I want them to say is that I was there for them, present, kind, gracious, that I love Jesus fiercely and lead them to do the same. That I love them deeply and without wavering.
I know they’ll say they grew up with a sick mom, and that hurts, but having a sick mom is as much part of their story and being a sick mom is part of mine.
Until next time,
A Prayer to Share:
Dear Heavenly Father,
Help us consider the memories our children will have as we parent, help us to think on what we want them to say about us and sharpen our parenting, Lord. Help us honor You with the way we raise these precious little people you trusted to us.
In Jesus’ Name,