The Mother Road

Awake in the early hours with thoughts where they often linger, my children…

Just as relationships grow and change, so too do our experience of others and our inner world as it relates to them.

The past 10 years have likely changed me more than the 30 that preceded them. I’ve learned there’s nothing we are guaranteed we won’t face; nothing that befalls another is beyond the realm of becoming our own journey.

When it’s your child, it’s your heart that’s at stake. It is a bond like no other. One that calls you to a strength far beyond your own. Life is never just about you once you become a parent. It’s always about them, too. I’ve come to realize in the deepest way how only experience can teach some lessons and for that reason we don’t all know the same things. Upon this realization, compassion should emerge.

As parents, we cannot give up. There is no quitting point. There is no losing hope. There is no, “no more.” We endure, we adjust, we pray, we talk, we teach, we encourage, and no matter what happens, we must begin again, renewed each day with hope and commitment, and love.

The early years, for mine, were marked by late night fevers, asthma for Noah, chronic ear infections for Heather.

In Noah’s 8th week of life we had a crazy bat get in our house. We found him flying around early morning realizing he had been in the house with us all night. This led to the entire family having to have rabies shots, including my infant. The CDC got involved. It was a mess! We were told Noah also had to have DPT because he had to have tetnus and it could only be given with the other two at his age. Oh how sick he was! High fever we battled through nights and days all the while with deep worry over the possible effects of the vaccines. It was a literal nightmare for us.

After we seemed to weather that ordeal, at 5 months he developed RSV. This lasted for days with high fevers, difficulty breathing and eating, and multiple medications that also took a toll.

Mothers, we remember all of this with an eye of concern and always lingering questions as to how much all these chemicals (vaccines/medicines) we put in his body has proved harmful.

At 5 or 6, we went down the ADHD road. Yes, objective tests revealed significant ADD with some hyperactivity. We knew, but we were cautious about treatment. A pediatric neurologist at Scottish Rite assured me the low dose of medication he could give Noah would be very safe and might prove very beneficial to him, especially at school where he was a handful. So we tried it with what to me were devastating results. I won’t relive all of it here, but Erick and I both know that Noah developed new, more disconcerting issues during his short time on those meds that have never fully gone away. Oh the guilt…How many times do we as parents look back at decisions with regret? Many…But again, there is no quitting, no place to stop, just continue on with what we have to offer hoping and praying it will be enough; enough to cover, to care, to teach, and to nurture so that our children will grow into strong, healthy, compassionate adults who contribute only good things to the world.

The responsibility of parenting rests solely on parents. I believe that. However, I also believe that we all are to bear with one another in love, come alongside with support and encouragement, and never forsake. Isn’t that loving as Christ loves?

This parenting business is the hardest thing I have ever done or tried to do. Especially attempting to teach core values. I have learned that to teach them we must live them and living them is the hard part. If we don’t want our children to be dishonest, then we can’t be dishonest with them. If we don’t want our children to be manipulative, then we can’t attempt to manipulate them. If we want our children to learn respect, we have to live respectfully toward all, including them, at all times.

I get it. We live in a broken world and us parents, teachers, we are broken, too. We seek to instill in our children what we as adults can’t seem to master ourselves. This is the hardest thing…teaching ourselves and our children to live in opposition to the nature of our flesh. So often our wants and desires conflict with our wants and desires. I WANT to live with the greatest integrity and yet, when angered, I want to have my say. I WANT to ALWAYS show kindness, yet when disrespected the first thought I have is usually a disrespectful thought toward the offender. I WANT to walk in love, yet when slighted I also want to slight or at least walk away. No, I don’t do it, but it’s still there. All the old ugly that ever was in me can rear its ugly head in the blink of an eye, and again I find myself taking a long, deep breath and on it whispering, “Lord, forgive me.” How long did it take for me to be able to stop the words before they escaped my lips? Oh…30 + years and even still sometimes I speak what offends my own ears.

This. This is the honest battle. About the only difference I can find between any of us is that some of us battle against our own ugly and some do not, or we engage the battle to different degrees. In some ways, these insights are good. They equalize us all as we truly are; flawed, deeply flawed.

So a new day dawns and morning light comes before rest is complete, and we begin again. We take those little people back into our arms. We dress them with words of remembrance…”pause and think before you speak or act. Make wise choices. Be kind. Do your best. Make eye contact when someone speaks to you 🙂 ” and many more reminders along with prayer as they go out the door and away from our sight into the company of others who face their own challenges.

My rambling thoughts needed a place to roam. Thanks for reading, friends. Pray, pray for me and my dear ones, for peace and for good outcomes all around.

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