Ten Years

Picture1Ten years. I’ve been a mom for ten years. I keep repeating that fact to myself, as if I’ve reached some magical milestone filled with wisdom and maturity.

But instead of wisdom bursting forth in triumphant glory like so many flowers in spring, I feel a bit of all of the seasons vying for space in my heart.

The revelation that loving my children is easy–that I simply have to follow their lead, take an interest in what they enjoy, and have fun just playing with them has brought the carefree days of summer home to my soul.

The fire of faith and the urgency to teach them all that I know before I run out of time hovers about like brilliant fall leaves giving all their glory to God before being blanketed by the snows of winter.

Vulnerability, dark cloudy days, fear, and weakness are all characteristics of the season of winter that allow for the most drastic and hopeful transformation to occur.

And, yes, there is a little of the season of spring in my heart as well. A sense of hope, a peaceful joy, a growing up, a gaining of wisdom.

As a parent, you quickly realize that the seasons of life change rapidly for young children. No wonder so many emotions can crowd a mother’s heart at once! How many times has a distraught, tantrum throwing child filled me with both a longing to run away and a longing to do whatever it takes to soothe her torrid soul. How many times have I hoped my toddler would finally go to sleep so I could lay him down while at the same time soaking in the wonderful feeling of a soft, cuddly body in my arms.

My heart is constantly laughing, crying, rejoicing, hurting, and feeling with them.

But that’s the way God made us. To be in tune with one another. To be sympathetic. To be empathetic. To be in relationship. And so even when it’s hard, even when it’s exhausting, even when it hurts, it hurts so good.

My parenting journey has seen a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of pots of coffee, and a lot of sacrifice. Most of my time has been spent with my children instead of eating out in nice restaurants, taking fancy vacations, or even having many nights out with my husband or friends.

But after ten years of this, I see a ten-year-old who is secure and confident. I see a ten-year-old who isn’t afraid to admit that thunderstorms still scare him while at the same time exhibiting a sense of independence that often surprises me. I see a ten-year-old who I am proud and happy to call my son–who fills my heart with an indescribable sense of having fulfilled my vocation well.

Just the other day, I was on a nature hike with my son and a group of his friends. As they ran up the trail past me, he stopped long enough to give me a quick hug and an affectionate smile. Then he was off with his friends, and I watched as they disappeared among the trees, laughing and being boys. Yes, it hurts so good to encourage attachment and then learn to let go.

Happy Birthday, dear son. I treasure your hugs and I honor your independence. May I always be a stop on the path that God has laid before you.

 Photos of the birthday boy!

Owen1

Owen2

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