Category Archives: Peace

No Trespassing … Child at Play

Quote on Respecting Children

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Happy Mother’s Day!

My Mom at 16

My Mom at 16

Compared to some mothers (my mom, for starters), I’m fairly new to the motherhood game. This is my tenth Mother’s Day as a mom.

It seems the first where recent months have been filled with never-before-faced issues with my children. If you are a parent, the fact that I’ve been at it for roughly ten years has probably clued you in on an important factor: my oldest is a “tween.”

Up until now, I looked back on my teen years and comforted myself with the thought that, “By the time I was 12, I knew what I wanted to do in life. By the time I was 15, I was doing it.” (Never mind the fact that it was over ten years later that I discovered what I REALLY loved doing: writing. The experiences leading to that discovery served and helped me in a thousand great ways … but I’m rabbit trailing.)

In any case, I never went through a horrendous, wrenching “teen stage” and simply assumed the whole teenhood-filled-with-angst was overrated. Something modern culture welcomed with open arms to the detriment of expecting a progressive development of maturity.

But up there on my soapbox, I neglected to clearly glance back at my own tweenhood. It started when I was about nine. I dealt with self-doubt, anxiety, comparing, and questioning. A lot of it went on in my head because I rarely felt comfortable venting negativity about myself, my siblings, and my sorry lot in life. After all, someone might have actually talked some sense into me, and who wants to see clearly when they’re taking a mental mud bath?

So I’m remembering those tween days and looking with increasing trepidation upon my children entering that very stage. (My oldest is now nine.) Considering the moodiness, sullenness, and downright contrariness I have been facing regularly, I’m wondering if it’s too late to have second thoughts about this stage of parenting. (Are other options available?)

As my mom drove me to a book sale last week, I talked to her about some of my parenting concerns. She listened, gave me a bit of advice and insight on what my kids might be thinking. She brought up considerations I hadn’t thought of. And she listened some more. Because that’s just what moms do.

I looked over at her. She survived those years. Looking at some of the things she faced with the six of us, she passed with flying colors! Then, after acing her motherhood career, she began a new career that is remarkable in every way.

My Mom, at a birthMy mother is now a home-birth midwife. I don’t know how many babies she has “caught” over the past fifteen years, but I know that her love, concern, and prayers have blessed scores of mommies, babies, and dads  in countless ways.

I’ve got the world’s best mom. I know that for a fact. I also know that with her faith and prayers, this parenting thing will turn out okay. Yes, even parenting tweens. And beyond that, teens. And beyond that …

Okay, I’ll try not to get ahead of myself.

Today is today … and it’s Mother’s Day.

Happy Mother’s Day! To my terrific mom, and to all you awesome mothers, of babies, kids, tweens, teens, or adults. They’ll always be your children. And your love for them is unconditional.

Because that’s just what moms do.

A Mother’s Prayer

Three ChildrenLord, my children are growing so fast. They’re so precious to you. And to me. Watch over them, Jesus. Their hearts. Their spirits. Their minds. Their bodies.

Only you know what you have in store for them. What you will ask of them. How you have planned to them to learn of you and work with you to change the world.

Work in their lives to prepare them for the future you have designed for each one specifically. Give them strength, wisdom, and joy. Help them to fulfill their unique destinies. To make a different in this world – whether small or great. The difference you have planned in the way you have ordained.

And help me as their mother to watch over them as well. To teach them. To train them. To be an image of your love, your patience, your insight, your care.

Things will come up today that will threaten my peace or theirs. Bring your spirit full and wondrous into this household, your love that veils all things that are wrong or hurtful or sad. Instead, bring hope, a spirit of humility and love, a mind of eagerness and wonder, a heart of strength and purpose.

Help me remember, today and every day, that they are your children given to me on loan for only a short time. Help me love and care for them with my whole heart … and to remember your love and care for them as a Father.

Thank you for your love and your care for all of us, your children.

Lego Skeletons and All

Three SiblingsWe just moved from an apartment to a house. The past month has been consumed with packing, boxing, cleaning, unpacking, and cleaning some more. Less than three years ago, when we moved to California from India, we had two suitcases per person, and a couple backpacks. Our earthly possessions fit in ten suitcases. I was shocked to find that 45 boxes and three trips by the U-Haul van still didn’t manage to transport everything we had gathered in the past three years from the apartment to the house. God is good and has definitely blessed us with a lot (and maybe we’ve kept a bit too much of it).

When my mom came to see the house for the first time, we all gathered in the kitchen to pray for our new home. My mom looked around at the kids and commented, “Imagine, you guys are going to be teenagers here.”

I laughed at the thought. It seemed so far away. But afterwards, I began to think about it. Teenagers? Our oldest is eight; the youngest is four. A couple years ago, he was still in diapers. Teenagers?

I pictured my sons, pushing six feet tall, consuming half of the items in the fridge in one sitting, drinking milk straight from the jug, asking to borrow the car keys, inviting their first date home. I pictured my daughter getting her first after-school job, starting to wear makeup, preparing for graduation and future plans. My mind went into temporary overdrive and rapidly proceeded toward a meltdown. I’m not ready for them to grow up yet. Whoever said they’re allowed to become teens anyway?

My youngest son came racing towards me, breaking my runaway train of thought that had been racing full-speed toward the future. “I just flushed the skeleton Lego down the toilet.”

I looked at him, trying to process what he said. “You what?”

“I flushed the skeleton Lego down the toilet because I didn’t like it,” he explained in more detail.

I wasn’t aware that they had a Lego man-skeleton and didn’t think I would have been very fond of it anyway. Still, visions of exorbitant plumbing bills dance in my head. “Please don’t flush anything else down the toilet unless you ask first,” I told him.

“Okay Mommy.” He raced off, probably happy that my reaction wasn’t more severe. I watched him run off, oblivious to all the concerns I had been projecting about their futures. They’re just kids, and I have a long ways to go before they enter those higher digits. Days of adventure and experiencing the world through their eyes.

I reminded my mind not to get ahead of itself. And my heart to just enjoy the moment. Every moment before it goes by and becomes yet another structure on memory lane. They’re just kids, and the world lies ahead of them, waiting to be discovered.

Returning to my unpacking, I resolved to be more mindful, more present in the passing moments, Lego skeletons and all.

The Outside Solution

On those days that the indoors start to get to me, and I find myself becoming a bit claustrophobic with the four surrounding walls, parenting issues just seem magnified. The kids are louder, their tiffs are amplified, the messes they make just seem bigger, and on and on.

When the world seems smaller and small problems seem bigger, I realized that something automatically helps me feel a whole lot better—going outside. I don’t mean running outside for a moment of peace and quiet to escape from the “madding crowd” (though that helps at times). I mean bringing the kids along outside too.

Beneath towering trees and a timeless sky, amidst the cheerful sounds of birds and breezes, everything seems just a little more peaceful, enjoyable, and manageable.

boy playing outsideThere’s virtually no limit to what can be learned and experienced outdoors with just a “prop” or two—usually something that they find on their own.

With a few pieces of chalk, kids can create an imaginary world of fun, a hop-scotch tournament, or I can give an impromptu and interesting “chalk talk” (educational live class with pictures included).

They find sticks, and they are knights or soldiers.

They find dirt and they are digging for treasure or building castles.

They find bugs and they have discovered a whole new tiny world of living creatures.

They find grass, plants, and flowers and they have soft ground to fall on during a game of rough and tumble, or a place to run around and play tag.

And in the meantime, I can sit and take a few breaths of fresh air while watching them run around and play. Pretty soon they notice me sitting there and I get invited to a game of tag, or asked to draw a chalk train. After all, they want me to be a part of the fun…that’s what parents are for.

Is It Too Much?

One thing I didn’t thoroughly consider when starting a family was my desire for peace and solitude—not all the time, but every once in a while is a nice thing.

Usually I’m fine with the conversation and playful prattle. Even the occasional argument isn’t that hard to handle when nipped in the bud.Three kids on a swing

But every now and again I have one of those days, the days where you wonder, “is it too much to ask?” for just a few moments of silence? For the chance to cook dinner without having to run out to answer the holler of, “mommy, he bit me”, and then a moment later submit to being “base” while they are playing hide and seek in the house. For the chance to sit down without my sons seeing it as an opportunity to jump on me and play rough and tumble?

We were now in the backyard. My daughter led her brothers on a campaign to find the ants beneath the rocks; of course, like any good general, sending them ahead and shouting instructions from a safe distance.

I surveyed the scene and saw the opportunity for a moment of silence. I tiptoed around the blossoming plants to the swing and there I sat, listening to a song on my phone.

“Come. Sit. Swing. Sit.”

Oops, apprehended by the troops. My youngest had noticed me and wanted to swing too. I sat him up next to me, and he held my phone and listened to the music with me.

My daughter ran up and sat down too. She held my hand while the youngest cuddled in my lap.

Allen decided to take down the clothes that were hanging.

One song passed, and another… and still it was quiet, peaceful. I realized that I don’t have to be alone to find peace, and truly, nothing can bring a better sense of love and completion than a cuddle from a child.