Taking it in

I’ve been enjoying the moments this summer. Although the moments are all too quickly sifting through the hourglass of this season, I am trying to be in the moment and savor them as they come along. (This seems to also have meant less writing)

One moment to take in was the other evening when my college bound daughter said in a moment of frustration, “10 days.” My husband said, “You know we can hear that, right?” Another moment was when she laid her head in my lap – the very evening the 10 days comment was made.

During the many trips to and from football practices, I’ve taken in moments as I have listened to my son tell his tales of hard work, sweat dripping from..well…everywhere. He tells of workouts that make my muscles spasm just from listening to him, and I marvel at his dedication and strength, his passion for the game he loves.

I’ve watched my baby girl watch her big sister and I’ve taken in the reality of her best-friend moving out in 9 days. I know there are moments coming for which I am not looking forward, but for which I must prepare. Our dynamic is shifting and I must prepare not only for my own emotions, but for others as well.

Our youngest has ebbed and flowed as summer relieves the tension of school work, but doesn’t relieve the pressure he continues to feels at the loss of a biological mother and a the right to an innocent childhood. Moments have taken place where I have felt absolutely inadequate, frustrated, scared, disconnected and lost.

As my kids have all come home from camps this summer I have listened to them describe moments that changed them…working in the gym during free time to improve a shot, walking campers to the bathroom at 4:00 am because that’s what you so as a counselor, leading devotions before bed to a group of 3rd & 4th graders, asking God to come into the broken heart of a 12 year old boy. Worshipping with all they have and being unashamed. Its been a joy to hear of the moments that took place while they were away from me.
There have also been favorite moments with no kids involved, girlfriends on the patio, music, food, wine, and endless talk and laughter. Another was a friend and I sharing a cup of coffee on her porch and then going for a run together to start our day. (I mean at age forty-five and forty-eight, we were kind of excited that this is how we chose to spend some of our limited time together!)

Moments. Its what’s on my mind tonight. There are some very significant moments coming up as this mother seeks to prepare herself for the end of summer. But for the next 9 days I will watch for, take in, savor and ponder all the moments that I can.

What an Honor

Today, along with the Indiana Mother of the Year, Darlene Cyr, I was honored as the National Young Mother of the Year at the Allen County Courthouse. I am posting, in part, what I spoke about since this blog is about the journey of a year in the life as the National Young Mother of the Year…

As a 45 year old mother of 4, can I just say it is an honor to represent YOUNG mothers!!

For those of you who don’t know, my husband and I will be celebrating 20 years of marriage this month and are in the midst of raising four future adults. I say “future adults” as my perspective has changed as our oldest prepares to head to college in the fall…I am glad we have not raised a child as they are self-centered and are prone to throw tantrums easily.

The opportunity in May through American Mothers to attend their national convention in New York City and meet moms from across this country made me realize that what we are doing is so much larger than what we may realize on a daily basis.

It’s easy for me to get caught up in the daily tasks and believe it’s about homework, chores, practice, dinner and such. But meeting moms from Alaska to New York reminded me that we are raising up this country…in fact the next generation. The new leaders are all in our homes, so what we do on a daily basis matters in a really big way. Such as…

* Walking in integrity and with character…behind the doors of our home. This is important, its what our kids see most clearly.

* Not being distracted when we interact with them, which can be so hard with the cell phone, inbox and text messaging we find ourselves engaged in.* Looking to God so they understand that even we have a higher authority.

* Following through on what we say.

* Apologizing when we need to…especially to them.
* Showing the tender mercies of grace and forgiveness.
* Learning what is relevant to our kids and then leading them through what for us is uncharted territory. (Who knew I would have to be talking to my middles schoolers about messages and pictures that could show up on their cell phones.)

With technology today it seems our kids are leading the way. How many of us have had our kids do things on the computer for us or show us how to use our new phones! They are moving in a world of technology many of us do not understand and so some of us stay out of it. Let me say, we can’t stay out of it. We must lead them through this even though we walk in uncharted territory. They may not look like it or sound like it, but they are looking for guidance and boundaries and we must step up and lead them.

If you have ever looked at your kids and were confused about where they came from, remember they were created by our creator and He knows them better than we do, so we go to God for guidance. He longs to direct our steps so we can help direct them in the way He created them to go.

Look to other moms. I am here today because I rub shoulders and lean on other moms for wisdom and strength, counsel and prayer. Keep or get some moms who are a little ahead of you, a lot ahead of you, right next to you and even younger than you on this parenting thing.

The truth is this, the very fabric of our nation is coming from our homes. Be reminded that from this generation, who right now we get to wrap our arms around, is coming our very next generation of leaders.

One of us is raising our future President.

All of us are raising future church and community leaders, teachers, CFO’s, CMO’s, CEO’s, managers, engineers, sales people, mechanics and so much more more.
Seeing the bigger picture can be a little overwhelming. But you and I will create this tapestry one day, and one parenting decision at a time. What an honor. I look forward to doing my part and walking alongside you as you do yours.

Hold On…

It is a big weekend. My daughter, Courtney, turns 18 today! Her commencement ceremony is Saturday and her graduation party will be Sunday. With much to do during this time, my mother-in-law has been in town most of the week to lend a hand. The other night while we were all in the living room enjoying some time together, Courtney crawled into the chair with me and laid her head across my lap. It was a moment to take in.

I was suddenly keenly aware of a few things: One was how peaceful, and even proud, I felt to have the relationship that we do at this stage that she would snuggle in like that. Another was that even as I stroked her hair I could see her little girl face just under the surface of her almost adult one. And then I looked at my husband and glanced at his mother sitting across the room and wondered how many more moments I will have like this with my child. When will she simply sit across the room from me?

Who knew there would come a time when the simple act of holding my daughter could mean so much and affect me so deeply. I don’t recall thinking, this is the last time I will bathe her, wash her hair, push her on the swing or hold her in my lap to read her a book. Those lasts just happened while I was unaware.
It is a busy, busy time in our family right now, but being cognizant of moments like this is what will help make the transition we are about to make a little easier…for we are in transition, and I am about to move a little further out on this parenting thing, but for now I will hold on where I am today with eyes wide open.