Any perfect parents out there?
I’m definitely not, and frankly, as amazing and wonderful as my friends are, none of them are either.
We try so hard, don’t we?
Or at least we try hard for a long time, then we get tired or discouraged and our effort dwindles down to about a C+.
It’s stinking hard work, this parenting gig.
Therapeutic parenting takes it to another level altogether, as does parenting children with special needs of any kind.
There are rewards and lots of joy, but there are also times of sheer exhaustion, tears, and loneliness.
We grow weary.
The next day (or hour) our hearts are convicted, so we pick ourselves up and dig in once again.
Recently I stumbled upon something I wrote years ago from notes scribbled during a lecture by Dr. Karyn Purvis. Unfortunately, I don’t have an exact quote, or even the context of what she was saying.
What I have are the words that resonated with my heart in regard to connecting with my children and mothering them to the best of my ability.
When I reflect on relationships with my children, connection happened and attachment developed (and these are roughly Dr. Purvis’ words),
“…not because I was perfect, but because I was present.”
I find this comforting.
I’ve been “present” in this role as a mother for thirty years. The first four years were given to baby/toddler life, the next 23 years devoted to homeschooling + babies/toddlers, and the last three to being a work at home mom.
Could I be more “present” – yes, of course. But, this mom-life is not about being servants to our children.
It’s healthy to have interests, satisfying work (from home or not, depending on how your family functions best), and community.
At this stage, I find it easier to say “no” to just about everything because life feels full. Right now, more than any other relationship, I want to spend time with Russ.
So being “present” will not look like “one-on-one” dates with my children. I admire all of you who make this a priority! You’re completely awesome.
I just can’t make it happen in my life, my marriage, and my family.
Present will look like taking that trip to New York with Beza last week to speak at an event and create special memories.
Present will look like a road trip to Minneapolis with the younger crew to celebrate Hannah completing five years of Otolaryngology residency.
Present will look like sitting in the stands at baseball games four nights a week cheering for Ebenezer and Wogauyu – with the boys in clean uniforms at each game (thank you very much).
Present will look like dinner cooked most nights, and sitting together at the table whenever possible in this busy season.
Present will look like helping Annarose pack and organize for her summer job as a camp counselor.
Present will look like having conversations with Zoe about her future and what is important to her.
At the end of the day, my children will clearly remember I was not perfect. Hopefully, by the grace of God, my worst moments will not be seared in their minds.
With all my heart, I hope they remember I was present.
And they were – and are – and always will be loved.