I started to write yesterday but did not finish because life kept happening to distract me. I had a happy baby keeping me company, and he was practically irresistible. I had my own kids going in all directions, and I was just really tired from staying up late uploading pictures on an outdated computer. I always opt for making sure everyone else's needs are being met rather than do what I want to do, that's just me. I know I am not the only person out there like that, so hopefully my thoughts will help or encourage you that you're not alone.
What I started writing yesterday feels nothing at all like what I want to write about today. Yesterday, I was going to share something I heard in my teenage years: if you don't have any other plan of what to read in the Bible that you should read Proverbs, and because there are 31 chapters...just read the chapter that cooresponds with the date...so, yesterday on October 17th, I read Proverbs 17. Proverbs 17 was just what I needed yesterday morning with verses like: "Better a dry crust eaten in peace than a house filled with feasting-and conflict." Proverbs 17:1...and..."Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged; parents are the pride of their children." Proverbs 17:6...and..."A single rebuke does more for a person of understanding than a hundred lashed on the back of a fool." Proverbs 17:10...and..."It is senseless to pay tuition to educate a fool, since he has no heart for learning." Proverbs 17:16...and..."A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's strength." Proverbs 17:22...and..."A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent." Proverbs 17:27-28 So, that was the way yesterday started...but today is different.
Today, I am sad. I am having one of those "I could've been somebody" days, the ones when I look around and realize that I am invisible. There are people all around me, people I know really well...people who probably really love me...but, I don't feel it. Ever have one of those days? Those days make me feel like crying, or to be honest, I do cry...days like this make me talk to God a lot more...which I guess He actually enjoys. I like it when my children talk to me...when they talk to me like I will be that one person in the world who really understands them...Today, God gets this from me.
God takes delight in me, regardless of what state I am in when I come into His presence...today, I feel like crawling up on His lap and hearing Him tell me that everything is going to be okay. Looking at old photographs and revisiting memories can be very bittersweet; it can also give you a jolt to seize the day! I want to spend time with my family making more memories, and I have to admit lately it is also extremely important to me that they feel the same way, that it isn't me "forcing" them to participate in something. I want them to want to be with me. It feels strange that I would say that I want to be pursued by my children, but I can remember the feeling I got as my child ran into my arms after falling down, and even though I was sad that they were hurt...I had a feeling of overwhelming love that they WANTED me and that only I could meet that need for comfort. It is still the same feeling but in a different way now that the girls are older which is why something like my daughter falling asleep 10 minutes after the start of a movie (that she initiated watching with me) got me on a roller coaster of excitement for feeling wanted and valued to a quick plummet...right into quiet tears as I turned the movie off and looked at her peacefully sleeping without a care in the world and not even realizing that it might have been an easier ride for me if she had never asked to be with me at all...that's when I want to feel Him wipe away my quiet tears and hear Him assure me that I am worthy of someone's time and love.
If I would've concentrated more on my career instead of making a deliberate decision to always put my family first...I would "be somebody" in life by now. I excel in the classroom, and the interpersonal atmosphere of teaching is so natural for me, really effortless...I was made that way. If I receive accolades in life, it is always in the academic arena whether as a student myself or as a teacher of others. I LOVE teaching, but it took so much of my time and contributed to unrest in my home when I had 2 hours of papers to grade...but I also needed to do laundry and help edit a research paper for one of my own kids. I just didn't have enough time to do everything well. When the choice is do everything sub par or do some things very well...I have to go with the later.
The real reason I had my own children was because I wanted to be a mom, and to me the definition of a mother is someone who shares her life by nurturing and loving her children, sacrificing herself for the cause of rearing children to grow into adults who would grow to contribute and to live as well-balanced, productive humans and God-followers. I didn't just want to have a cute baby that eventually I would gladly send to others for raising up; I WANTED to do the raising...I WANTED to make the sacrifice...I WANTED to be there for everything, for everything.
But, no one told me that the sacrifices would go unnoticed most of the time. No one told me that I would help my kids with 3 hours of homework, everything from addition to understanding a Shakespearean sonnet, with a smile on my face when I really just wanted to sit quietly by myself and read a book. No one told me that I would always be there for them to kiss the scraped knee, watch ball games, or apply their first eye makeup...only to have them leave me the first time they have the freedom to do so...and without even looking back. No one told me that there would be times they would actually CHOOSE to be away from me. Essentially, I am raising my children to a point when they actually OUTGROW me. Belle is driving; Sophie doesn't need me for much (she is more responsible than I am); and Emi is about to go on her first overnight slumber party. I am fading.
The cruel irony of parenting is that I am bringing up these girls, pouring my own life into them, but the result is that other people are the ones who will actually get to enjoy them. My shaping of their lives, my heartaches over their pain, my intentional attention, and the sacrifice of my own life will not result in enjoyment for me, but for them to choose who to share themselves with...and they might not choose me. While I get excited about every new thing my kids do or experience...that's just it...the more new experiences they have, the less I have of them. I want to be there and be a part of it all, live life with them...but, if I've done my job well and equipped them to be responsible and filled with integrity then I don't get to be there for all of it because they will be independent. What did I think would happen? I guess I didn't think. I would never expect to be included as the only oldie in the group of friends or to be welcomed in the middle of the "boy talk" at the slumber party....yet, I grieve not being there. I wish someone would've told me that parenting is the most joyful thing in the world AND that it also yields a sorrowful pain that is beyond understanding.
I chose this. I hope after my nest is empty and my children are living lives of their own that I am not crying in a corner of my house saying, "I could've been somebody."
No one told me before I became a parent that my heart was going to crack in a way I can't even describe because the loss is not actually seen, it's only felt.