Wednesday was a tough day. A rather silent trip to the airport ended my mom’s two month stay in Coeur d’Alene. Her presence for the birth of James was so special and her companionship and help during the subsequent weeks was a huge blessing to our new family of three. Though I’m feeling a bit bereft in the wake of her absence, her departure has made me realize a few important things – permit me to share some conclusions?
- There’s nothing like having your own children to make you appreciate your mom. I’ve never been short on appreciation for my momma, but being a mom now makes me marvel at mine. I find it difficult to squeeze in a daily shower, but she was a working, single mom for six years and did both with aplomb! She was/is a an abundant source of love and encouragement, which was so evident in her joyful service to us as we welcomed James into our lives. I hope to model that same attitude for my own little family.
- Raising children should be a community effort. We live in an individualistic society that puts so much emphasis on being self-sufficient and independent. That attitude can stifle our ability to ask for help. As parents, we have the weight of responsibility for bringing up our children, and that’s a tough job! We need to feel free to admit we struggle and need others to share that responsibility sometimes. It’s not a sign of weakness to accept support from others, it’s a sign of wisdom.
- Community has to be intentional. This has been the most consistent lesson I’ve learned in my twenties. Community takes effort and it doesn’t happen overnight. The daily companionship my mom provided was priceless. Now it’s time to start developing more of those types of relationships with people who are here all year around because there’s no sense in being a martyr about a lack of community (which I am all to apt to do). In all my years I’ve never actively pursued community and come up empty. Chances are there are other mom’s in your same situation, wonderful older women who want to love on you, and new friends to be made if you just put yourself out there. I need to take my own advice…
- Parenthood is another opportunity to leave and cleave. I’m super tight with my family so the initial leaving and cleaving when I got married was a bit difficult. Had God not put 2,500 miles between us, I would probably still have cleaving issues. Having a child requires a different type of leaving and cleaving. Tim and I are growing and stretching as a couple to accommodate our new addition. Our family has expanded and that requires a regrouping of sorts. I’m no longer just someone’s baby – I have one! Though I will always be my mom’s baby, I’ve added mother to my own identity and that changes the dynamics of our relationship.
- In all things, there needs to be a sense of gratitude. I could spend way too much time bemoaning the fact that my mom is gone or that the transition is difficult, but that detracts from the joy of the past two months. What a gift! I would hate to diminish it by focusing on the negatives.