Right now, my son is downstairs with his friends celebrating sixteen years on this earth. I love hearing the laughter, the conversation without words, the evident camaraderie. I've been instructed to make myself scarce so I am sitting in my bedroom with my ear stretching to the floor. I can't actually hear any words. I can just hear that they are enjoying each others company. That makes me glad. Motherhood has taught me to take pleasure in another's happiness.
Motherhood has taught me many things. Gretchen Rubin has a saying, “The days are long but the years are short.” That is a true thing. Last night when I couldn't sleep, I went downstairs to look at cds of “old” pictures of when the kids were little; I wanted to collect the best ones of Michael, a kind of retrospective of his life. I know for a fact that not every moment of his childhood was happiness and sunshine, but with a little distance, that is what it sure looks like. Those early years were sometimes challenging, sometimes boring, sometimes lonely, but mostly they were satisfying, fulfilling and joy-filled in a way I can't explain. I am only filled with deep gratitude that those were years I shared with my children, day after day, year after year. Their happiness was my happiness; my happiness was their happiness – and we were - we are – happy together, in each other. And now to see my kids, my son in particular because it's his birthday, turn out so well makes my heart swell. Even just posting his picture to Instagram got me a little choked up and teary-eyed. He's handsome, responsible, smart, kind, eager for life and learning, respectful, grateful. He makes me so proud. And thankful. And optimistic for the future ahead of him.
Having kids is a great way to have some of one's rough edges sanded off. Kids have a way of holding a mirror up to you, for better and for worse. Little kids mimic what they hear and see. Big kids do too. You think you are a patient person until a child you that you have a few lessons to learn yet. I am grateful for the many lessons my kids have taught me; I am a better person because of it.
Having kids is a great way to learn the heart of God. If I, an earthly parent, feel this way about my children, how much more must God love and care for and instruct and guide his children? And if I, an earthly parent, feel such pleasure and joy in the love and friendship of my children, certainly God in heaven feels joy in a loving relationship with his children, with me. And if I, an earthly parent, love to give good gifts to my children, how much more must God delight in giving good gifts to his children, to me. Even now, after these many years of practice, I can hardly comprehend that God would love me the way I love my children, more than I love my children. And to think that God loves my children more than I love them, is beyond my understanding. But I am grateful and I take comfort knowing that God is looking out for their welfare, especially when I cannot, and I know that I will have less and less control over the conditions in their lives as they get older.
I used to think it was cheesy and insincere when famous mother's would say that they felt that their children were their greatest accomplishment in the world. I don't anymore. I can't think of more sincere words to be spoken. My greatest contribution to the greater world is my great kids, no doubt about it!
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the heavenly lights,
who does not change like shifting shadows.
If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”