Y’all. This isn’t a post about the millions of amazing things I’ve done right. It’s really more of a post about all the years I’ve waited to see the results of things I hoped I did right.
I’ve always said that I got the regular issue kind of kids; not the special order kind with sparkling qualities that exceed my hopes and dreams. In fact, my hopes and dreams for my kids have always been simply that they grow into the men that God wants them to be… and that I don’t kill them along the way.
I’ve preached the same words of wisdom to my three boys for over 16 years now. All the same stuff you tell yours … about giving, and friendship, and patience. About sharing, and telling the truth, and sometimes not. About integrity and study habits and character. But mostly about love and kindness and good choices.
And there are a million ideas of how to get from here to there when it come to our kids – friends and not so much friends, neighbors, books, and blogs. Grandparents, experts, and people who think they are. But none of it can be proven effective and true… until it is. And until then you keep testing your mom theories and adjusting as needed, like in a recipe that you think you know all the ingredients but that you just throw in a little this and that just in case.
And last night I loved my oldest more than words could ever say for the love and kindness that he showed a friend.
In fact, he’s been showing his friend some of his hidden sweetness all along… I just didn’t know the reason. These guys are athletes; healthy, strong, involved in school activities and capable of leaping tall buildings in a single bound. No. Not really. But they are entirely capable of knocking my ceiling fan light into exactly 2 billion broken shards of glass all over my den in a pillow fight that should’ve really been televised on a sports channel.
Yesterday after school and practice and a very long day, Kid 1 and his friend got home and the friend jumped in the shower. Which is totally normal around here since sometimes these boys stink and I ask them to fix that before they touch my couch. Hallelujah for sweaty teens taking baths. But then Kid 1 quietly told me how the water has been shut off at his friend’s house for quite some time. And that he also needs his clothes washed for tomorrow please.
And I fell in mom-love all over again in ways I can’t even begin to describe. Because I’ve seen my boys beat each other to a pulp over which kid gets to take a shower first. And I’ve broken up fights over food and video games and have had to turn a blind eye and ear to the sibling rivalry word feud that comes and goes like a bad house guest around here.
And I’ve seen them eye the collection plate at church, willing to drop in some big bills if it comes from mom’s purse, but otherwise, maybe not so much. And sometimes they eat too much, they hardly ever listen to me, and they smell.
But I’ve also watched my boys make friends with the new kid in school on many occasions. And I’ve seen them give unexpected gifts of help and attention and encouragement at times when I had to check to see if those were really my boys. And they always welcome any and all into our home.
And in those ways, I see that all the words I’ve spoken over the years weren’t wasted. And the tears I’ve cried over the bad days and failed attempts came and went, mostly out of panic on my part – forgetting to trust that good things are working and growing every day in those beautiful boys. And that I’m not the only one that has a say in it.
Today I’m thankful for kindness to friends and others.
And I’m thankful for the gift of being the mom of three beautiful works in progress. And I’m more than overjoyed to know that the lessons that I worried were never heard, seen and especially, absorbed into their little boy hearts and minds, were indeed, heard, seen and absorbed. Every word of it. Every example set for them. And every opportunity given for them to think of others beyond themselves has never been a waste of effort or time.
So moms of littles…. trust this. There will be days when you doubt the worth of what you are giving. There will be days when you want to close the door and go shopping and pretend you’re not a mom… just for a little while. And there will be so many days that you pray for peace and understanding and energy to make it till bedtime. And there will be days that you cry the tears of exhausted frustration that only a mom can understand.
Then one day your kid will do something amazing. And you’ll cry a completely different kind of tears.