Love – how deeply that’s on my mind now. Just recently, I’ve become aware of the overwhelming love I feel for God, for my children and for others. How sad that it took so much so-called life to reach this point.
C asked me once, “Mom, what’s a dad?” He’d never really had one, you see. My husband and I separated before he was born, and at six years old, C didn’t have the answer to that question. He was trying to find it.
I told him, “You have a biological father that helped make you who you are. Then you have a dad – and a dad is the one who does the ‘dad’ stuff with you. The one who throws a ball with you, wrestles with you and so on. Sometimes, your dad and your father are the same person. Sometimes, they aren’t.”
Such a weak explanation, and how sad a comment it is about the lives so many children lead.
-Yet, as I look over the past, I have to admit, all I’ve ever been is a mother. Even though I’ve been in the house and been with my children, I can’t say as I’ve ever been a mom. The one who does the mom things; that’s never been me.
“Mom” has always been a persona you put on, like a costume for Halloween. It’s a part to play, not part of who I am. That is, until recently.
Learning Love One Child at a Time
My 15-year-old, D, had asked if he could go to a concert. I didn’t think it was a good idea and told him so. He asked why; I explained, but I was ready for an argument. –And then the strangest thing happened. He took a deep breath, hung his head for a second… and then nodded. When he raised his head, he was smiling. He said, “I thought that’d be the answer, but it was worth the try.”
In his eyes, I could see the disappointment. I could see him struggling with it and my heart went out to him. He didn’t complain, though; he didn’t try to fight me or argue away my decision. He tried to understand. How grown up my son is becoming! Watching that struggle towards maturity brought tears to my eyes.
C came home from a friend’s house extremely excited. With eyes shining, he told me his friend had a “pocket rocket” – a mini motorcycle, and his friend had told him he could ride it. I told him it wasn’t safe, to which he replied that his 11-year-old friend would teach him how to ride it, and he wouldn’t ride without his friend watching. I explained the safety issues; his eyes watered, but he sighed and didn’t say anymore.
The next day, he came home from his friend’s, agitated and upset. “He said he’d been waiting for me to ride it, and I told him you wouldn’t let me, and he said, ‘oh, and you always do what your mom says’,” he told me. “I told him he didn’t understand our family, and that you were only concerned for my safety, and that I needed to go home before I hit him.”
I was so full of love I thought my heart would burst. He was sitting there, trying not to burst into tears, while dealing with the hard lesson of choices. I hugged him and made to tell him he’d done what he was supposed to do – that I was proud of him for making the right choice.
What an understatement. Here again, I was watching another son take a leap toward maturity. There were no words to explain the amount of love in my heart.
My daughter, J, is learning to read. One night, as she struggled to sound out the words, I happened to catch her eyes scanning the page. She was so excited that she could take those letters and make something out of them. She wants to understand so badly and wrestles the letters into submission. Her eyes shown with that excitement and joy of learning.
I sat there, watching her learn with tears in my eyes. She’s so beautiful, my little love bug – growing in leaps and bounds. I managed to resist the urge to squeeze her until she finished the sentence, but it was hard.
What a gift children are. I can see that now. I find myself watching their faces, eyes and mannerisms to see if I can guess what they’ll do or say next. I’m often surprised by the unexpected wit, and the laughs just keep coming.
It’s not just my children, either, that I find beautiful and intelligent. Each one is such a bundle of energy, joy, love and innocence. A veil has been lifted off my eyes; I can see them clearly now – and they are wonderful.