Monday, May 10, 2010
Tiny Strangers Came To Our House
(WARNING) Although no animals were harmed in the making of this post, many run-on sentences and rules of grammar were abused. You will also find one potty mouth word we don't say at our house in the caption...send complaints to: firstname.lastname@example.org because IT WAS FUNNY!
Psalm127:3 Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from him.
They make you sign a form you know!? At the hospital, before they send the security guard and a nurse to make sure the car seat contraption is facing the right way...BACKWARDS! You have to sign a form saying you are responsible...for the child person, tiny stranger you are taking home. And the car seat manual alone nearly killed us. Anything involving the words, armpit, handle, harness, clip and lock and load should not involve the security of your baby.
That's how Richard and I felt driving away from the hospital with this little tiny stranger in the car seat with us going home the first day all alone almost 24 years ago...no nurse, no manual, no idea...no kidding...BACKWARDS!
And then...we start to fall in love with the tiny stranger that came to our house.
And eventually, you fall more deeply in love with each other during the lessons we learn together as parents. So...cut to mushy love scene...aren't we blessed...9 months later...we brought another one home...and another...and then a fourth and... (Stop judging me).
So here I am in the role of mom, writing on the Monday after Mother's Day, sitting in a quiet house as one has graduated from college (the first stranger we strapped backwards in the car seat 23 years ago)and is living in another city, one still away in college and two here still in our care off to school this morning.
I'm thinking back over the gifts I have received on Mother's Day over the past 23 years. I'm not talking about the actual gift of flowers, chocolates, a day to myself or jewelry which my husband always made sure I received that accompanied the children's gifts; I'm recalling the most heartfelt original gifts from a toddler to a middle school child. You know the ones... sticky hugs, breakfast in bed consisting of a pack of white small powdered doughnuts and a juice box, a broken yo-yo and a Spiderman action figure with one leg missing wrapped up with a sisters hair bow, various projects well meaning teachers helped my child construct using pipe cleaners and a hand-print and I'm "strongly"-I mean "fondly" remembering one fine smelling "Perfume by the Quart" from Drug Stores'R'Us. Good memories.
In keeping with my natural ability to move forward and not have a critical spirit (hey, it's my story I can imagine) I don't think I often dwell on the bad and the ugly. I try to focus on the good, however, I obviously remember some of the difficult moments of parenting like endless nights sleeping on a sheet on the floor with a sick child because it was easier to reach the vomit bucket if you were in the same room. Or I try not to dwell on the fact unnamed child number 3 stabbed me in in the rear end with a steak knife by tripping over the welcome mat in the kitchen while unloading the dishwasher when he was only eight, or going to unnamed child number 1's Kindergarten school counselor who summoned me to discuss said child's anger issues (yes the counselor had taken a class that summer) because he cut a nice fringe into the hem of a Sesame Street rain coat from the dress up clothes box during recess-which by the way was very nicely and artfully done. Or perhaps I would never think to recall which child used my husbands silver coin collection to buy the pizza when the babysitter couldn't find the check we left on the counter. You see, pondering these difficult elements of motherhood never cross my mind because of the joy that overfloweth in my hearteth about noweth.
Okay so I'm not poetic, but would never tell you all the secret moments of hurt, or disappointment at the risk of embarrassing my children or creating another reason why they will need extensive therapy in their 30's.
So instead... Take note...I will name them this time...not the offenses the children silly,
Let me introduce you to my children:
Meet Jacob-Jacob you are the first tiny stranger we brought home. You then came home from school at age 10 after a week of being bullied on the bus by a neighbor for wearing dorky shoes. I was ready to grab some super glue for the kids mouth and hand cuffs for his hands that hurt you...you walked in and said, "Momma, Daniel needs me to tell Him about Jesus because someone has to." And you quickly went into your room and gathered part of the contents of your Easter Basket and made a small gift sack and took it to Daniel, and you prayed for him that night. You are a gifted artist and thinker. Your grasp of history fascinates me. Where I love to study the bible, you can actually explain to me the history of who, what, where, when and why a verse was written in it's context. Smarty Pants...you are wise. You grew in stature and character to the man you are today and I am proud to call you my son and my friend, even though you had to explain to me that "Hermeneutics" was not Herman Munsters ugly brother.
Meet Kaylee-the child who never went to buy a treat without making sure everyone at home also had something even if it meant ultimately not having enough money to get yourself something. You always packed an extra lunch on field trips in case another kid forgot theirs. You figure out a smart way to do almost anything you try to accomplish whether at school, in sports, at work or in any leadership task you undertake. You spent your free time during High School helping special needs kids in Owasso and Ponca City because you profoundly came home from a track meet with 6 medals and said, "Some kids can't do what I can do and I don't even do my best. I should never take for granted what I am able to do again." And so you pushed wheelchairs so kids could play TOP SOCCER and you were their legs. You mentored the EXCEPTIONAL students class and gave up a lot of your personal social life because of that. You have a wonderful work ethic at school and work and your employers benefit from this. You are kind, and pretty, and thoughtful and I don't have enough words to say all God has taught me from being your mother.
You are precious to us and I love you. You are my only daughter and my friend.
Meet Joshua-the Gentle Giant. You were not always 6'1" and "hulk-like" you know. You had a rough start. But God's grace and medical miracles have helped you to overcome a lot of hurdles and you have grown in mind, body and soul. All along the path of your life we have watched you grab all the information you can drink in and process with that amazing brain of yours resulting in the most wonderful thoughts and ideas. You have a keen sense of observation and are interested in almost everything you see from sharks to stock markets you can't get enough details. You also have a keen sense of justice and the gift of mercy and you use both well. I remember when you were 7 and we were in downtown Tulsa having just finished a big meal after church. We were driving on a one way street and you yelled, "Daddy--stop the truck and take off your belt!". We don't normally let 7 years olds dictate to us but your voice was filled with a sense of purpose. Daddy did stop the truck and you pointed at a man who was dirty, thin, a bit scary looking- who was walking and holding his pants up with one hand and trying to push a basket with the other. Your dad shared his belt...you gave him your take home box of food that you were too busy to eat in the restaurant. His name was Anthony. You my son are Beautiful(and the scar from the knife wound in my rear is not that noticeable now anyway)and I treasure you.
Meet Jason-you are really a walking glue stick you know. You gave our family a special bond that can never dissolve. You see, we are all madly in love with you.
Watching your brothers and sister hold you in the hospital was one of the most precious memories this mom has. You know you are Jacob's "Mini Me" and although you think he helped hang the moon...He also thinks you did too. You have always been inquisitive of the things of God. This has made for some very fascinating conversations with you. Because you were born into a family that loves God's word, by default you had the theme song to every teaching ministry on Bott Radio memorized by the time you were 3. Now lest some radical person reads this and thinks Christian's brain wash their children (and we proudly do) Jason, I just want to say, you have a mind of your own and when the Holy Spirit moved in your young life you chose to listen with or without your families influence. I remember changing a light bulb in your room in this very house. The bulb broke but most of it was still in the socket leaving a very jagged edge to deal with. I could not get it to move and I audibly said, "I hope I don't cut myself" to which you said, "Just a minute". You left the room, came back in about 30 seconds and declared, "It's okay, go ahead, you will not get cut. I asked God to protect you so He promises to do that!"
Wow...your faith keeps teaching me. I did get that silly light bulb out with ease too. Even last week when you over heard us talking about having all of our money stolen from our checking account your faith taught me something. You brought a piece of paper with a numbered list which covered the entire front and back of the page. You said,"Mom, what else can you think of that has happened to us that seems bad?" You had written most everything I could think of. I asked you why and you said, "I was going to wad them up and throw them away in the trash...but I decided to just fold them and give them to God instead." And I found the list folded in my bible today.
You my son are a teacher. And I love you and I really really like you!
Jesse-I don't know you well enough to introduce you but I'm hoping the people that read this will know Jesus as their Lord and get to meet you someday. Having you in our life for even a short time and learning to let go of you taught me to trust more than you will ever know.
I love you.
Well...I hope you have enjoyed meeting my children. Even if you are not a parent, and even if you are not married, I hope you will take God's instruction for us to pray for the next generation seriously. Tiny strangers came to our house, and now some of them can already Vote!
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.
Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.
(His statutes)Deuteronomy 11:19
Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Here's to all the Kid's in the world...so that covers everyone! Happy day after Mother's Day!
A Gentle Answer Ministries Stories©