The beds have been stripped. The piano is quiet. The loud music is gone. The laundry room is … quiet. The refrigerator looks sadly empty. The Christmas break is over. Our kids have returned to their school campuses, their dorms and apartments.
The first week they leave is always the hardest for me. I walk by the piano, picture Cecilia playing and singing – and wish that I’d stopped what I was doing and gone to sit by her every time that she played. I walk by our sofa and picture our son Terrell watching some sport – and wish that I’d stopped what I was doing and gone to sit with him more often. I see Ellison’s bike or an old pair of running shoes – and wish that I’d stopped what I was doing to go to the track or the gym with him.
The pull on my heart is tangible – I miss my children!
And yet, this season is good. It’s right. They are where they are supposed to be. And I am glad. I’m not distracted with regret. I want to learn. I want to learn to discern WHEN to stop, WHEN to pause and simply be present to my children and enjoy them. Ten minutes here; an hour there… not to teach something, not to have a “talk”, no agenda – but to enjoy them.
When I look back to when our children lived with us, we spent a lot of time together. In fact, I used to have the opposite feeling about a quiet house!! When they would head off to school, an event or a friend’s house, I’d think, “Ah, my house is quiet and I’m all alone for a while!!” My, my, my. Circumstances sure can affect our attitudes.
Plenty of times we see them; we don’t seize them. Sure, there are things that we need to do – work, clean, cook, plan, return calls… But there are plenty of things we think we need to do, that can wait. Other times, we don’t see the opportunity because we aren’t looking for it – Time to just BE with our child.
Sometimes we don’t see the opportunity as opportunity.
.. to be blessed – with a giggle, a smile, a random awesome question or statement;
.. to learn things about our child that we don’t ‘see’;
.. to step into a God-staged plan where He wants to build our relationship with our child;
.. to breathe – just savoring the privilege of being someone’s mom.
Do we know how to do this? The approach is the same from the time they are babies to adults, with age modifications, of course.
We give affection – verbal and physical to express our love for them. We watch them – observing how they’ve grown, matured, the things they can do and how they express themselves. We listen to them – observing how their tone reveals their feelings about someone or something or themselves; we hear their views, frustrations, celebrations, concerns, and hopes. (Prayerfully discerning when to keep our opinion to our selves.) We engage with them – we tickle and let them tickle; we listen to them play their instrument and we applaud and praise; we watch them practice a skill or dabble with a hobby and we express interest and delight.
“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The Fruit of the womb is a reward.” (Psalm 127.3)
He knows the challenges and pain that will come, but He gives them as a gift and blessing. He intends for us to experience pleasure and joy.
I am still learning how to be a mom, now to my grown children. There are challenges as I grow and as they grow. And I thank the Lord for the continued opportunities to enjoy my children, His gift.
“Lord, help me to watch for the opportunities that you provide for me. Help me enjoy these gifts that you have given me. Amen.”
Wonderful words. Thank you.
I had an incredibly busy week as a Mom and I am finding myself praying and re evaluating extra curricular activities. Thank you for this. I will take extra time this weekend to just be with my kids.
Teresa deBorde Glenn says
Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! How wise you are to be trying to be intentional about time with your children while they are still living at home.
Oh, thank you, Teresa, for your reminder! Just early evening yesterday, I was thinking, “Will Perrin ever quit asking questions or just stop talking?” Immediately I thought, “We've only been together for a couple of hours – not like when he was a young and with me most of the time!” I am more conscious of taking time to sit with or be at home when Mary Helen is here – since she won't be next year! That is going to be hard. Many thanks for your always timely words! Love, Helen
Teresa deBorde Glenn says
Yes, thank you Lord for all the captured moments! It's a blessing to hear from you as always, Edith.
Once more you have touched a tender spot. You are so right. As mothers we do get caught up in what “needs to be done”. Do not seize the moment and look back with regrets. But isn't that what life is all about? Won't there always be moments missed that bring a tug to the heart whether it is for our children, our own parents or a dear friend. The Lord provides us with so many choices in life. May our praise be to Him for all the captured moments.
Blessings and love, Edith