Friday, August 12, 2011

The Stages and Phases of Momma-hood: Cherishing the Past/Embracing the Future

Fireside Fridays - By the fire for conversations about nurturing home and family

Today, my post is decorated with pictures of two precious faces eating their favorite ice cream. Evidence of the flavor is glopped all over their cute faces! These photos were sent in for our Fireside Fridays family photo category of the week:
Pictures of your family eating ice cream at your favorite ice cream shop

Rylan's ice cream face!
Used with permission from Rachel of South Carolina
 I absolutely love being a momma! The years of momma-hood have been a whirlwind of stages and phases, but oh the treasures buried in those years. From sleepless nights with babies to sleepless nights with teens. From the first tooth to the day they got their braces. From yearning for that first word to wishing they’d stop asking endless questions. From marveling at the perfection of a newborn to marveling at my kids’ adult bodies and height that exceeds my own. From the first day of kindergarten to the first day of senior year - and then college. From cleaning up puke and poop to watching them clean up after themselves. From the delight on a child’s face on Christmas morning to the delight on their face getting their first car. From family outings together to pick pumpkins and go to the zoo to watching them make their own trek to mission trips and college. From listening to my kids sing in the children’s choir at church to hearing them sing to songs on their I-pods. From little feet running to greet me at the door to late nights waiting to hear their feet come in the door. From tiny little arms giving heartfelt hugs to arms that wrap all they way around me with giant hugs. From amazing things that came out of their young mouths by accident to wise words that come out of mature mouths on purpose. From separation anxiety and the way my children clung to me when they were young to the way they’ve released their hold. From no time for showering, exercising, or going to the bathroom alone to having time for all of that and more. From feelings of failure and inadequacy as a parent to seeing the evidence that God has filled the gaps and made all things good in their lives.

As the years went by, there were days when motherhood was not fun at all and I felt like I was “so done” with parenting. Some of the stages seemed incredibly long, and I felt like I would be stuck in them forever. There was sometimes even an urge to hurry my kids through those stages quickly.

Jayce is lovin' it!
Used with permission from Rachel of South Carolina
 Like the autumn wind that blows the leaves down the street, these stages swept by me much too fast. How is it possible that we sent our son off to college this week? It seems somewhat ironic that our job as mommas is to wrap our hearts around our kids and love them sacrificially while preparing them to leave us. But prepare them we must because we want them to be ready to face the world as responsible, respectful, productive, independent members of society who are a reflection of God in a dark world.

Although I would love to continue to enjoy each day in my son’s presence, I am so incredibly grateful for the precious time God has given me with him to this point. It has been a privilege I am not deserving of, and the rich memories wrap around me like a warm blanket. I look forward to the days ahead as my son moves into the future. It will be fun to watch his life unfold!

So mommas – although the days are often like a merry-go-round spinning out of control, don’t wish them away. Trust me! All too soon you’ll be waving goodbye as you drive away from your child’s college dorm or their first apartment or their gap-year trip and you’ll wonder, “Where did the years go?” Cherish each moment!

Some of my Warming House friends have children who are leaving home for college this month. As your children go, remember these things. (It isn’t much to offer, but hopefully it will help a little.)

1) God loves you and cares about you.

2) Be patient with yourself. Allow yourself to grieve. It’s natural and normal. God understands your feelings.

3) God greatly appreciates the investment you’ve made in the children he has entrusted to you. “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

4) Cherish the time God has given you together.

5) Keep your eyes on the delights of the future.

Some of you have been down this road before. If you have, would you please help the rest of us by sharing your tips for transitioning into this new “phase” of life? Leave your wisdom in the comments section or on my facebook page. We would all appreciate it greatly.

Because families are worth fighting for . . .


Fireside Fridays family photo category for next week is:

"Celebrating jobs well done – photos of your kids going off to college"

*If you know someone who might enjoy this post, please pass it along.