What Makes This Mother Cry?
by V.V. Denman | @vvdenman
This is Jessica.
She moved out of our house this weekend. A big U-haul truck took her away. Her freshly purchased garage sale furniture was packed neatly in the back, along with her favorite jeans, her Twilight books, and the rag doll her great-grandmother made for her first birthday. She has a job, a duplex, and soon will have a husband. She doesn’t need me any more.
He just finished his freshman year at college. In the past nine months, he rarely called home. For fall break, he stayed on campus to study. He went on a mission trip over spring break. I hoped to spend more time with him this summer, but he left last week to work as a counselor at a Christian camp in a different state. He doesn’t need me either.
Am I sad?
Ha. I don’t think so!
I gave my husband a high-five as we kicked up our heels and danced around the living room. Two of our kids are independent, and it’s a good, good thing they don’t need us. All those sleepless, prayerful nights paid off. My work here is done.
On the other hand . . .
He’ll be a senior in high school, starting college classes in the fall. He’s a leader in our church youth group and a killer on the basketball court. He wants nothing more than to join his big brother at college, but patiently tolerates his sisters in the meantime. At six-four, he towers over me but jokingly calls me Mommy. Occasionally, he needs me.
She’s going into seventh grade. That means make-up, boy-girl parties, and attitude. She’s kicking her way out of the cradle and into the car. She’s concerned with clothing, hairstyles, and music, and she’s thrilled to (finally) be getting her own room. She probably hasn’t thought about it, but she doesn’t want to need me.
She’s the baby of the family. Actually, she hasn’t been a baby in a long time, but she’ll still hold my hand in Wal-Mart. One more year in elementary school, then she’ll push into the teen years. She’s spent her entire life chasing Jillian, and soon she’ll run to catch up. She’s changing fast, but for now, she needs me.
Am I sad?
All. The. Time.
I’m not sad they’re growing up or even that they’re growing away from me. I’m sad because I struggle to give them what they need. In a world filled with distractions and busy-ness, it’s all too easy to put them off.
“Mom, can you braid my hair?”
“Not now. I’m working.”
“Please, stop interrupting me. I can’t type and talk at the same time.”
Usually I don’t notice when this happens, but when I crawl into bed at night, the video replays in my mind, and I regret my actions. And I’m sad.
I can do better.
Having the first two kids out of the house and on their own gives me comfort. They turned out all right in spite of me. Maybe I’m not irreparably damaging the other three.
Even though I’m occasionally a truly lousy mother, God makes up the difference, taking my feeble offering and multiplying it a hundred-fold. I don’t have to be perfect. In fact, I cannot be.
I need to improve, and seek wisdom, and beg forgiveness. But I must always remember: while I can do better . . .
God will do best.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed,
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
.What makes you cry?