As I have grown in the last few months, I have cherished being a mother. I am the mom of two wonderful and beautiful children. They have also grown in the last few months, and we are now such a happy family.
When I first moved back home, I was a burnt out mom. I had the patience of a gnat, though I lacked the skills for proper discipline of a child. It was hard to get back on the right path with consistency, as it was hard enough to take care of myself. Luckily, I have two wonderful parents who saw my need to recuperate and just grieve, and they took care of me and my children.
But as time wore on, and especially in these last few months, there has been a change in me. I grew to not just loving my kids because they were mine, but loving them because of who they were. As impossible as it seemed, they became even more precious to me. No longer did I view them as two little beings who further complicated my life (I never portrayed this to them, but at times I felt it), but as two little beings who enhanced my life. I would do anything for my children. Now we show each other love throughout the day, and spend time together doing things like crafts, reading, playing, etc. I learned the importance of rules and consistency, and have also learned how much happier a child is when they know what to expect. Ever hear the verse, “Spare the rod, spoil the child”? No, this does not mean to spank your children! This is a common misconception, and I have even heard a pastor misquote this. A shephard uses his rod, not to hit his sheep, but to guide them. That verse means we are to guide our children onto the right path until they are wise enough to go their own way. Every week I make sure I have time set aside for each of them individually so that they get my full attention and can do the things that particular child likes to do. And in that way, I am learning more about that child and their needs, and I am also gaining more of their respect and love because of the attention they receive from me. They are now much more receptive to me and we have much fewer problems.
When my ex and I started sharing custody of the kids, he didn’t have a place to live. He was living in motel rooms. So he couldn’t have the kids overnight. I used to drive the kids over there for a couple of hours, we’d sit around, and then leave. I didn’t know that he also had a girlfriend living with him there, she was always gone. That’s a different story, only brought up because it still bothers me that he hid it from me, and replaced me so quickly when I was the one who left. Anyways! When he and the girlfriend found a place to live, that was when the kids were to spend the night there. I remember the beginning of this schedule. I was actually looking forward to this time of freedom, until the day of. That morning I would be in a sour mood, and everything would set me on edge. The morning would always be tense. I was too worried. I was worried because I did not feel that my ex was capable of watching over our children. I felt like all the good qualities and traits I had instilled in them would be thrown out the window with his no rules policy. I worried that he would poison the kids against me. I worried about the food they ate, when they would go to bed, what horrible things would they see on TV, if they would be stuck in a little apartment the whole time with no time to play. And of course, I worried about them being around this new girl: What would they think about their dad with someone new? What would they witness? Would they hate her? Or worse, would they love her?
As time wore on, I eventually began to see that this girl was probably the best thing for these kids in their dad’s care. While the kids would come back like wild banshees from their dad’s house, they would also be fed, bathed and clothed by this young girl barely an adult herself. She helped my daughter with her homework, woke the kids up in the morning for school, packed their lunches and backpacks, and made sure all their clothes were in their overnight bags when it was time to come home. I went from hating this girl for the position she was in, to feeling like I should be sending her a thank you note or something. Of course, I didn’t. There’s a line you have to draw in situations like these. But I am not short with her on the phone, and we are actually pleasant to each other. At times I feel sorry for her, because she will never have the acceptance of my ex’s family, and she will go through years of torture before she, too, wises up.
Anways, it’s that time again. Tomorrow I pack up the kids and send them off to RiverRat land to be with their dad for the weekend. And I will miss them so much each day. As I make their beds, and sense of the room we all share, I will wonder what they are doing, if they are having fun, if they are being cared for, if they miss me or think of me. And then, Sunday night, I will see them again, drive them home, and ask them how their weekend was, as if this is the most natural thing in the world. But inside I will be wanting to tell them how much I missed them and wished they could be with me every day always, that I wished I was allowed to be selfish in this one area of my life and keep them as only mine.
*Lord, you know my heart and how it aches. You know the turmoil I go through on these days. You know how much I love these children you have placed in my care. Please keep them safe this weekend. Allow them healthy foods to eat, plenty of activities to keep them from getting bored, and for their goodness and innocence to remain. Help me to be able to let go a little bit more, knowing I’ll receive them again in a few days. Keep my feelings of anguish over the past, the present, and the future at bay, and allow them to dissipate over time. I am getting anxious in this area, and want to stop feeling sick over these thoughts. Keep me looking forward and upward, Lord, at what you have in store for me, rather than at what I left behind. Let me truly leave it behind me. In this I pray,