If you could only get one thing right as a parent, what would that be?

                                                                (My son and I)

Being a mom is one of the hardest, most rewarding and best things I could have ever asked for. There is something inside of us women that longs to mother, to love and protect. I even feel the longing to be a mother figure to kids that don’t even belong to me. 

When it comes to my own kids, I truly see them as a gift from God. My doctor told me after three surgeries which finally ended in a 4th surgery, a hysterectomy, that he hoped I believed in something bigger than myself. I knew He was saying that he hoped I believed in God. He said my kids were a gift because with what was going on inside my body I should have never been able to carry a child and I have two. Those surgeries were not the end of it. I had two more in the year 2011, one in which they removed a 3rd ovary that had grown. Here I was, the lady who should have never had kids, and now I was calling myself the freaky lady with the third ovary. The story the little engine that could came to my mind because I have a bit of a cartoon brain and I began calling my story the “little ovary that could.”  My body was going to give it one more chance at the whole reproduction thing. At 45 I thought that was a bad joke as far as I was concerned.

Let’s get back to my Kiddos. Raising them has been wonderful, not perfect because there is no parenting manual and I have blown it more than once. I mean blown it! Sometimes I wish I could permanently install a 3-second filter from my brain to my mouth so that things that I often regret wouldn’t just spill out of me.  Let’s just say, I have had to say I am sorry many times over the past 20 years.

Wow--20 years--that seems almost hard to swallow. My son is now adult and my baby (who hates it when I call her that) is going to start her senior year. Where did the time go?  How I long to turn back the time, to hold them and rock them. What I would give to trip over a toy or see fingerprints on the slider door from when they stood in wonder watching it snow.  How I miss that sound of a sweet voice calling me in the night:  “Mommy” was the sweetest sound to my ears. Yes, they still need me from time-to-time and I grab on to each of those moments as time continues to slip through my fingers.

My husband and I have tried to raise them to be respectful, to make healthy choices and to know God. We want so much for them and we would give our own lives to save them. A friend of mine said something once that stuck with me. She is a mother of four and her youngest son was only here to bless us for a very short time. God is now holding her baby boy. She asked me one day, “If there was only one thing you could get right as a parent and give your child, what would it be?” I sat for a moment thinking about it and than I answered “God.”  She said, yes, that was her answer also. If there was only one thing she got right as a parent it would be that her kids knew God. She knows that she has gotten that right and she has found hope knowing her youngest is with God now.

When it was time to send our oldest off to college, he choose a school in Colorado and I knew that it was time to let go. I held on to the fact that with all the mistakes we had made, he did know God. We had equipped him with what he needed and now it was time to hand him the reins and let him start to take responsibility over his life.  It sounds way easier on paper than it is in real life.

I sat one morning having my coffee and I began to spill to God. I was scared, I remember thinking…. Really. . . Colorado?  It is so far away. So very far, is he ready? What if? What if? What if?  The list of what ifs was so long. I sat there crying and I felt God say to me, “I love your son; I want what is best for him. I am taking him to Colorado to grow him into a man. I am not asking you to give your son up the way I gave up my son for you. Trust me. I love him.”

Wow!  It was that moment that I knew no matter how hard it was, I had to trust my father in heaven to grow my son. We had shown him God and, he was walking with Him. That was the most important thing. Now it was God’s turn to grow my boy. The words from my friend stuck in my heart. If you only get one thing right, let it be that they know God. I let him go that morning; don’t think I didn’t struggle as the days grew closer to our leaving him in Colorado. But I let him go and really started trusting God. 

When he came home for a weekend visit, I was happy that he still seemed to have time to fit his mom into his busy schedule. I have learned to take my time with him and make it really count. We just had a nice 45 min workout. He is out the door again to see friends and family and I am left picking up his wet bath towel that is lying on the carpet. (One of my biggest pet peeves)  It used to make me mad, and now I sit here with tears rolling down my cheeks, happy to pick up anything after my boy. The mess on his floor is a reminder to my heart how much I love him and that no matter how old he gets; he’ll always be my little boy. I laughed about the wet towel with my husband but deep down I am sad because in the morning I’ll be putting him on a plane and sending him off to college again. My heart is breaking because I’ll miss him but I am filled with joy when I think of what God is doing with my son.

In the morning it will be goodbye for now. I’ll look forward to seeing him in a few months. I know the next time I see him there will be more change in him as God grows him, molds him and raises him up into Man of God. I pray for my son, for his wife that someday God will bless him with, for his future and for his safety.  I have set him in the hands of God, because it makes it easier to say goodbye and it gives peace to my heart knowing God wants only what is best for him.

It is funny how the little things like; wet towels laying on the carpet, dirty finger prints on the window, crumbs on the floor, toys laying around and being awakened in the middle of the night when you are tired seemed so annoying at times. Now, I would give anything to have that happen again. 

I thank God for my kids and I trust God with both of them. I am thankful that with all we have got wrong as parents, we got one thing right. Our Kids know the Lord!  My poor girl, bless her heart, is left with a mom who smoothers her at times because I am frantically trying to hold on to what time I have left with her. I know God has big plans for her also. 

If you are a mom or a dad and you’re reading this, I ask you this one question. If you were only allowed to get one thing right with your kids, what would it be?  I hope it is that they would know God.

As a parent I hope you will also get to know God while on your knees as you pray daily for your children. We have found ourselves in seasons where we have been afraid that our kids were not in good spots with God. We have held on to the fact that He is there and that He is the foundation they stand on. We have had to trust in God, go to battle with God by our side and trust that as they have gotten off course that his gentle hand will guide them back on the right path. Trusting God and giving our children the foundation of God to stand on makes parenting and someday letting go, a lot easier. I pray that all of us parents, in the middle of our mistakes, are at least getting one thing right and showing the love of God to our children.

Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)


Julie said...

That's what I want to get right, too. Thanks so much for sharing.

I used to take my laundry home when I was in college - and my mom would do it for me. I would say, "Mom, you don't have to do my laundry." And she always said, "I love doing your laundry." Now, as a parent, I understand.

joboza said...

Wow did I need that today! My youngest daughter has recently come home from a two and a half month stay in Rehab..who is ever prepared for that!? especially at the age of 14!!I was on my knees long before she left,the whole time she was there and still praying.Not only did our amazing god answer prayer he took up residence again in my babys heart.She lead 3 other girls to jesus in rehab and is still witnessing every chance she gets. God is the most important thing we can give our childern..because no matter what life throws our way he is the constant lighthouse that leads us back to the road he wants us to follow.
This also reminded me to be content with ALL of her not just the good but the messy girl as well.Thank you Again,You inspire me!

Life is short but God is sweet said...

thank you ladies for your wonderful comments. Julie, I laughed because I must have asked my son 5 times if I could do his laundry. Jo, I am continuing to pray for your family. what a wonderful heart she has for the Lord. you got it right momma, no matter what happens good or bad, she know God and she is sharing him with others. way to go.

Tom said...

Thanks Kim! So true and so important! I do have a couple words of encouragement for all the moms who read this and are in the thick of the daily stuff- we pass Jesus on by knowing Him and what better way of knowing Him than in trusting Him with our greatest treasures? The other word of encouragemnt: grandchildren!!! Love you Kim!

the mud, the blood, and the dust said...

Okay - I just cried like a baby. My boys have lots of time at home still, but the day you describe has always sat in my heart.
God in them is my biggest desire. His glory shining in their lives and strongly supporting them, is my desire everyday.
Time is too fast in passing- the rocking chair days are gone, my oldest is twelve and I already see time going faster. The sports, friends, family, homework, school, all stepping stones to adulthood, and opportunities to guide and teach. As a parent we work so hard to prepare them, but it is also preparing us to let them grow up and create their own wings of faith to fly.
Such a beautiful blessing God has entrusted every parent - not one day for granted or ungrateful.
Thanks Kim