Our Family

Our Family
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my hearts trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. ~ Psalm 28:7

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Oh, The Way They Grow!

First born girl, Steph

Second little lady, Melanie
Most recently, I've had the pleasure (said in a slightly sarcastic tone) of seeing the difference between my boys and girls become glaringly obvious. Despite the fact that we are technically years from the teen turmoils of having young women in the house, our sweet little ladies have been really having some trouble reigning in their emotions. As a girl myself (yes, I must admit, I too am a girl.....) I can understand their plight, their drama, their emotions and their tears. Of course, the issues the girls have versus the ones that send me to my emotional breaking point are strikingly different, since, according to them, even though I'm a girl, I'm a MUCH OLDER girl . Whatever (as I ignore the obvious knock on my age). In the end, we're all still girls.

That's why my boys have been giving me such a burst of fresh (non-estrogen tainted) air recently.  Overlooking the basic need for the two of them to CONSTANTLY be in motion, usually involving wrestling one another in some shape or form, the boys have been on the up swing of the parenting pendulum. (Hey, I'm just beyond thankful that there even IS an upswing to that pendulum!).

First born boy, Ryan
For some reason, thank you Lord, there is balance in our world as the boys are my newest best buds, my biggest admirers. The girls, at the moment, are all about dad, their biggest superhero. And you're not getting any complaints here. I'm glad he can be their "number one". It's great. And besides, the girls are surely aware that I'm (as a girl myself, remember) fully equipped at knowing when the tears flow, sometimes, just sometimes, those tears have an ulterior motive. Enter Dad and that age old cliche' about wrapping around little fingers. This is definitely where being a girl/Mom plays to my advantage: I know more than they think I do about how we girls work! 

Second son, and baby, Kevin
 The boys, of course, well, they still look to Dad as hero, too. And they wrestle their little brains out with him. So once the robust energy is spent, I get the leftover snuggles, the tender moments, the sweet expressions of love from my 5 year old and 4 year old. I get the full day with the littlest one, unaware of the world's influences yet. I get almost the whole day with my sweet 1/2 day kindergartner, who is always so eager to be home at lunchtime with Mom and little brother. I get the book reading, the song singing, the quiet resting time with them.

And I as write this, something becomes very clear.

I realize, with a little angst, with some wistfulness, that some of my brood is growing up. That my mothering needs look differently right now with my girls, as they are in the midst of elementary school learning, friends, and struggles to test the waters of new independence. I realize that my boys are still so little. And I realize that as time marches on, or maybe more appropriately, steam rolls right over me, what I know about mothering is changing ever so slightly. I'm no longer a mom to toddlers and infant; in fact, I'm barely a mom of pre-schoolers anymore....right about here, mybreathing accelerates, my anxiety level raises a notch....

The littlest of littles as new baby arrives over 4 years ago

4 little kids growing big, see the show, watch them grow

I realize that it was just a few years ago that my little girls were MUCH MORE little than they are now. And that each day, they continue to grow up. And my boys are on that same path of growing away from "little". Suddenly, I'm overcome with the need to reach out and wrap my arms so tightly around them all, to make sure that they are just within my arms reach at all times. And then the more rational (translation: sane) side of me takes over. THIS. IS. MY. JOB. TO. LET. THEM. GO. AND. LET. THEM. GROW. (A slight whimper/whine at this point....but whyyyyy is it so hard??) And then, gently, my whiney cries are answered softly by the echoes in my heart: these children are on loan to me; they are mine for a short time.

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
~Matthew 19:14

So I stop to remember what God has called me to do, and I humbly ask His help in letting me know what my changing role of mothering my growing children looks like.  I stop to remind myself that as the girls change and grow, that so must I change and grow. I don't want to be left in the dust, that's for sure! But I will honestly tell you, these moments of childhood with the boys, these moments where I still have them in my arms so much of the day; these moments will be more focused, more treasured. I'm excited to embrace what this new stage of parenting holds for us. (Yes, even the tearful, emotionally turbulent years of parenting two girls!) But, for the moment,  I will hold onto the NOW for as long as I can! I will make it a point to find ways to mother my growing girls (and yes, that will mean squeezing in even more snuggles; let's face it, we ALL need snuggles!) I will look back with love and sweetness at the passing of being a mom to tiny little babies, and I will look forward with joy and excitement to being a mom to tiny little, ever growing children, who will, someday, *gasp*, grow into teens and even adults~ And maybe, they, too, will be blessed with the struggles and challenges of watching their own children grow...

And, in honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday, I leave you with this thought:
Dr Seuss Image Dr Seuss Clipart Cat in the Hat
“Don’t cry because it’s over.
Smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss

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