Mom of Four, Grandmom of Nine
Current City: Annapolis, MD
WHAT IS LOVE TO YOU?
Love is where there is true giving and sacrifice. Love means getting up at night when your child is ill, risking a friendship or embarrassment and discomfort to ask if your child’s friend’s parents will be home during the party. It means forgoing that expensive vacation you need and want so your talented child can have lessons that year, have their overbite fixed or, most importantly, so they may see more of you. Loving your child requires laying down your life. This begins in pregnancy, is demonstrated in the effort of birth and is lived out day by day in motherhood.
THE MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT IN MOTHERHOOD?
This question is difficult to answer. I’ve been a mother for more than 38 years. I have 4 grown children and their spouses to love. My ninth grandchild spent the morning here with me and so there have been countless mothering moments, some wonderful and some I wish I could forget. With each child there has been a moment that feels as if love itself is born; these are memories to cherish.
If I have to pick one moment, it would be the time that I was scolding one of my children. I liked to use God and my limited understanding of His “principles” to add weight to my scolding. I was in the habit of explaining that this or that behavior “made God sad.” My child said, “Does anything make God happy?” I saw how wrong I had been to teach my children as I had been doing. That moment’s frustrated question showed me that I had misrepresented God and the life given to us.
One of my favorite books begins with this statement, “Love, it is said, is blind, but love is not blind. It is an extra eye, which shows us what is most worthy of regard. To see the best is to see most clearly, and it is the lover's privilege.” This idea in The Little Minister by J.M. Barrie elevates my view of life. When my child asked that amazing question of me, I knew that I wanted to change and instead to show that love sees more than glaring or subtle human mistakes and struggles. It sees more than impossible standards, failure and condemnation. I wanted to communicate what could only be seen through love. I had to learn to motivate my children by my inner, love-brightened vision of who they really were. I discovered that love’s view is full of hope; it is defined by God’s vision and purpose for the child, not by what is obvious and urgent, never by fear, but by what is seen clearly with eyes of love, by what is true.
ENCOURAGING MESSAGE FOR YOUR CHILDREN?
I’d like to pass on something about parenting that I learned from the mother of one of my students. She confided in me, “I pray each day that I can be a good mother to my children.” Her statement affirmed my general practice of praying about my concerns, sometimes haphazard and sometimes desperate. Certainly I did pray every day, but in her statement I heard a call to be more intentional, I heard the challenge that I, daily, recognize my need for God’s help in mothering, I heard the invitation to ask for help and wisdom. I had been praying, I could adopt this attitude and seek God’s wonders for each child. This was something I could do and I began to try to pray for each child. Sometimes I was too busy or sick or distracted, of course. That’s life. But my purpose was each day to pray that I could serve and love them as I was supposed to do. The wisdom in my friend’s words built my mothering as I walked on and praying sustained me through many difficult situations. Now, many years later, I can look back to see how often I was surprised and humbled by God’s presence in my home, my relationships, my attitude.