Saturday, February 5, 2011

Children Are A Blessing

When I delivered my fist child, they were twins. I was so scared at the outcome. That is, the time that comes when it is announced that I can go home. Home, where the dishes aren't automatically washed. Home, where no one comes to check your vital signs. Home, where no one sees if you are nursing your child correctly. Home, where its just you and those two babies that depend totally on you. Where are the skills going to come from? Who is going to make sure I am doing them right? Oh, and the all important question, when will I be able to sleep again?

With all of this going through my mind and so much more, I was there in the wheel chair with both sleeping bundles of joy in each arm. The nurses came to say goodbye and I looked at one in particular who shared with me earlier that she had twins as well. I looked directly in her eyes trying to tell her something without saying it. She looked at me as well sensing the communication. "What," she said all concerned as if something was so horribly wrong. She bent down so her ear would be close to me as I whispered, "please...please, come home with me."

Eventually that feeling of not being able to be the best Mom I could went away and the survival and thrive mode kicked in. I had many battles that I learned to choose rather then fighting them all. From my husband claiming not getting enough attention to how we don't have to use cloth diapers anymore. Plenty of those battles I had to just be quiet to reserve my energy and it was Wisdom so the house could return to some sort of manageability.

Three deliveries and a divorce later, the battles still came and were so different then anything I knew my mother ever had to deal with. I recalled what she did to resolve many things that happened outside of the home with men calling on her and what she needed to do to keep them away from her, her one and only son, and three daughters. It got so bad that she had to wear a silver wig peppered with black strands of hair when she had no silver in her natural hair color. She wore no make up and her fashion sense bordered on Aunt Bee and the small town librarian. I didn't know what she was doing as a child, later when she explained it to me, I figured it was too extreme - sensible shoes? Yeesh! Yet we were protected and never had to conform to a new uncle every month.

After my divorce, I had some men interested as well, but because I kept my focus within the confines of the church, men had to come to me in a completely different angle. It was so cool. If their intentions were less then noble, it was difficult to make the wolf's skin look like lamb's wool. Their mystery became obvious and so comical. It was fun and I thanked God that I didn't have to make those uncomfortable changes to get the same results. Still, I had four sons and a daughter that needed guidance and a good male influence. It scared me at the thought of each day they would grow and learn something new that I didn't teach them. There was this one young man, I recall that worked at the day care I registered my children to for after school while I attended classes. He was so interested in my children's well being and got involved in what their interests. He happened to be an artist and both of the twins liked to draw. When we met, I was trying to get there on time, after leaving my class, going to pick up my mother, get home to make dinner, get them in bed and go to night school. I saw that he wanted me to take time to talk to him, but I just didn't have those precious minutes to spare. He quickly jotted down his number and asked me to call him while I was zipping the coat of one of my children. I was flattered and flustered at the same time. I couldn't even enjoy that I was being pursued. I got in the mini van after belting everyone in and took the phone number out of my pocket. I looked at it for a moment and put it in the cup holder explaining to my mother what happened. I smiled while driving to my next destination. When I got back in the van to go to night class, I looked at the cup holder for the phone number. It was gone. I never thought about my mother taking it until now. I never called him - obviously, and I never saw him at the day care center again. Later, I thought about the missed opportunity of my children having that good influence but it was only for a few seconds. I had mid-terms that week.

Each day still came while the children grew and became more aware of things I would have rather kept from them. Public schools have their own agendas though they carry the slogan that the parents are in partnership with them. I would have never allowed my son to view a rated PG-13 movie at the age of 8; however, the public school system thought otherwise at an unscheduled assembly. I never knew that my son saw the movie until weeks after when he mentioned it in passing. I could get angry but that wouldn't take the information that was soaked into his mind. Frustrated with another fight lost, I made the decision long ago to get along with their father because he was the only male influence they were going to have. When he suggested that he be the primary care giver to them, I thought it was the best solution. He would have them attend church regularly and he desired for them to do well too or so I believed. Eventually, again, I had another battle to get them back.

I graduated from college and got my career off the ground. I was able to purchase my own car and take all of my children to where ever they wished every weekend. I was exhausted most weekends but figured it was all well worth it in the end. There would be some wonderful memories of seeing the stories I read to them come to life on the big screen, the go cart races, the amusement parks, and the arcade. I spent so much money but never missed a dime because they had fun.

While in one of the many church services, I recall  the pastor's wife reading Proverbs 31. I smiled at her references to her own life as she read each stanza. After about the 15th verse, I began to look at my own life and how far I have come and where I could be in just a few years. Towards the end of the passage I read (as well as heard) how eventually, if you maintain in the same path, your children will call you blessed (Proverbs 31:28 KJV). Yes, its like every mother's secret dream for her children to really be able to see what their mother has done for them and how God has blessed her for the sacrifices she made. Yes, it will all be well worth it - they will see.

Having that little thread of hope was all it took for bits and pieces to be chipped at my faith. My daughter got pregnant at 19. I cried but maintained strong while I supported her in raising her child - my grandchild! One of the twins decided to disregard the many warnings to keep his insurance up to date so the police suspended his license. That not being a warning enough, he continued to drive and got his car confiscated. If that wasn't the tip of the iceberg, another son decides that he found "the one". I figured this would be a piece of cake having taught them all of how men and women try to manipulate to get what they want. I am a  counselor. I was reading and intending to go back to school for family and marriage therapy. I write a blog on the subject matter. If nothing else, I will be able to get through to my son on this - most definitely!

Five days ago, one of the twins came home while on the phone with his sister. She was telling him that after church services, there was a small event that took place. He told me what she said to him just as plain with no buffer like sit down Mom I have something to tell you. No, it was more like I stopped off at the store to get a carton of milk tone. No pause for dramatic effect, no stopping to hear from God as to the best way to give such news, just thoughtless as the event itself. "They are married," he said, "after church services, the pastor married them."

Shocked was not the word I would use. I got up and walked past the school picture of my son wearing that overly sized check jacket my mother bought him. He had fallen weeks prior and chipped bi-laterally his front tooth. I walked past the picture of him in Junior High School sitting in front of a brick wall that was spray painted "the class of 2002." I remembered he had the principal call me instead of his father because of some mess he got into when he knew his father would have done a lot more then I did. I walked right by the latest picture right above the television stand of him graduating from boot camp where he cried on my shoulder prior to him leaving and whispered in my ear a request of what I told him I would do and continue to do so. I walked past all of those memories and went in my room to be alone to decide if this was one of those battles to choose to fight or one of those things that will just go away.

In those 5 days I spoke or text all but one of my children. I was intrigued with how they were dealing with this life altering decision of their brother. I was absolutely fascinated with how they eventually came to blame me. I was blamed for getting married to their father, blamed for divorcing their father, blamed for giving up the marital home, blamed for not taking their father to the pastor for the seventeenth thousandth time, blamed for them being punished when they clearly did wrong, blamed for keeping them out of harm's way when they should have been allowed to learn the lesson for themselves, blamed for my son not getting enough quality time with me, and blamed for not being more positive about bad decisions, and on and on. It was one of the craziest weeks of my life. Every time, I tried to speak, there was another weird thing one of them said. It made no sense of their reaction until now. They must have been in shock as well.

However, before this realization, I had to decipher what was said. Once upon a time, I would have second guessed every single lesson I tried to get them to realize. Once upon a time, I would have thought of my past cases and wondered if I was effective with any of the advice I gave. Once upon a time, I would have believed them if two or more agreed on the same topic. The problem with those once upon a times is it is the beginning to fairy tales and once you have put away childish things and know that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, lunacy statements trickle like water off a duck's back. The truth of the matter is, no matter how much a mother prays, teaches, reiterates, punishes,or lectures, the child will still have to make those decisions as to trust in God, the emotions, or whatever influences him to do what he does. If it is good then the outcome will be good. Only with God can anything be good.

I suppose I could become discouraged believing that my children will never call me blessed. I am not driving that luxury car I desire nor am I making the income I would like. If they needed financial support past a certain amount, they know I am not the one to ask. None of that was my plan back then when I made the decision to go back to school to get my degree, yet it is where I am now. I recall telling my children on one of those many days when their continual actions and reactions were pleasing to me, that I like their personalities and if I wasn't their mother, I would be friends with each and every one of them. I don't know if hearing that blessed them or freaked them out - which actually could explain a lot. Nevertheless, it did my heart good when I said it. How true that same statement  is now after the garbage that was loaded at my feet in the last 5 days - idk.

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