Monday, October 6, 2014

From My Heart

Next month, my first born child will turn eighteen. As in eighteen years old. I have been a mother for eighteen years. I have parented an infant, toddler, preschooler, elementary school student, preteen, teenager, and currently,  a young woman. Perhaps realizing this has caused me to reflect on the job my husband and I have done...and what we still have left to do for her and for all our children. I do not believe that eighteen is the magic number...The number that miraculously makes a child an adult...That our job parenting is done. No. We will parent our children, love them, guide them, and help them until the day we die.

I am, however, reflecting on the importance of this wonderful vocation called parenthood. I find myself thinking about the difficult task of instilling the things we desire into our children, while at the same time, allowing for each individual child to be just that...an individual. Steve and I make a conscious effort to expose our children to and instill into them the values we feel are important...faith, empathy, responsibility, honesty, integrity, work ethic, love. We hope to raise our children with the same core values we hold dear to our hearts.

At the same tame, however, I realize our children are not mere images of ourselves. They are not simply three girls and one boy. Each of our children is an individual person with his or her own traits, wishes, dreams, and thoughts. Each has dreams and goals that may be vastly different from ours, or even from ones we would choose for our child. And thus...the challenge. It is sometimes difficult to keep a balance between the two. It is challenging to think you know what you want for your child, but realize he or she may want something else.

I realize my goal is not to create young people who think and act exactly as I do. Or ones who make the exact same life choices as I did. I am grateful that each of my children possesses traits and qualities that I do not. I am enjoying watching each grow into the person God planned him or her to be. Yet, I must admit, sometimes it is difficult knowing that eventually, my children will leave the comfort of the home we have created, and begin a life independent of us. As hard as that is to imagine, that is their job. To grow and learn and change and leave. Just as I did. Just as Steve did. And I am thankful to our parents for allowing us to follow our dreams.

What if my parents had not supported my desire to go to a college three hours away, and fulfill my dream of becoming a teacher? What if Steve's parents had not supported his decision to not attend college and begin working in the family business instead? What if they had not supported our engagement and marriage at such a young age?

But they did. They trusted that we would take all the values they had instilled in us and combine them with our own dreams and desires. They trusted us. They trusted God. And Steve and I will do the same. We will continue to teach our children all the things we value and at the same time attempt to nurture their individual characteristics, dreams, and goals.

Parenting is the greatest gift I will ever know. It is also the greatest challenge with the most awesome responsibility. I embrace it with every beat of my heart and every fiber of my being. I know that in the end, nothing I will ever do matters as much as successfully parenting my children. I pray I am worthy of the gifts God has granted me...and that Steve and I are able one day to look back and say that we did it. We raised our children to be happy, healthy, caring, respectful, empathetic adults. And that they are happy living the lives they chose. Nearby, of course. ; )




13 comments:

  1. Beautiful. Just what I needed today.

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  2. This is so beautiful, Billie Jo. Thanks for sharing your heart with us. And thank you for the reminder of the importance of parenting/motherhood. Sometimes it can get lost in the monotony of our days. We do our best raising them and leave the rest up to God....that's what it's all about.

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  3. Billie Jo..I have been thinking the same thing--well..nearly..I didn't have supportive parents, and as you know, last yr was very difficult with our son..and school/college..well..anyways..we all have grown a great bit..anyways..thank you dear friend..here I thought I was the only one who had similar thoughts..I think your daughter will be just fine..look at her parents and her family..Blessings

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  4. Supportive and loving parents are so important. Those kids are so loved by you both..they are going to be just fine.

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  5. I admire everything you do for your children....love, teach, kiss the hurts and listen to them. I have said that rearing children is the hardest job I have ever had, because there are no 'do-overs'! Going through nursing school I thought it was hard, but nothing compared to being a Mom.

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  6. The vocation of parenthood, serving others, is an amazing gift! You said it beautifully here. I love my vocation, the good, the bad, all of it! And it's great to have other parents to encourage us on.

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  7. Beautifully written from the heart of a mother. What a wonderful example to your children and amazing teachers you and Steve are. You model and encourage the gift of parenthood so well. Thank you for cheering all of us parents along in the journey. Keep on enjoying, teaching, encouraging, and loving those kiddos. They are turning out to be very amazing youth that our world needs.

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  8. you have done a great job at raising them so far and it shows.

    18 is only the beginning.

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  9. I understand now why you are feeling so sentimental. I remember the time when my baby girl turned 18. And believe me they will always need you. The past few years I have walked through cancer, infertility and miscarriage with her and her husband. She calls me every day. I have walked through every joy and tear and fear in this healthy pregnancy. It is a joy to continue to raise my babies.

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  10. That was beautiful, Billie Joe! I go to bed every night thankful for my day and praying to God that I was the best mother I could be that day. I wonder what my son will be and just hope that he will carry the values that my husband and I are teaching him now into adulthood. One night at bedtime he said to me "Mommy, when I grow up will you still live with me?" And naturally I replied "Oh yes, of course!!! ♥♥♥ I really can't imagine it any other way! : )

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  11. My dear Billie Jo, what a beautiful post - it has given me a lot to think about :) Thank you for sharing your heart!

    Happy day, my friend! Hugs to you!

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  12. Yes, nearby, oh please let them be nearby. ~ You wrote and shared your heart in such a beautiful way Billie Jo... that's why I love coming here. ~ If I ever knew that this mothering would be so very hard and so very wonderful at the same time I would have been more scared than I was. It's a good thing they all start as beautiful tiny babies, isn't it? I love your love of mothering... you inspire me!

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  13. Beautiful Billie Jo!! Exactly what has been on my mind a lot lately. With each personality of each child...and each personality is being magnified as they grow older and older...or more specific maybe...can't quite pinpoint it. Went out with my son the other day just him and I...went to Mass and then to Chipotle and then sat by a lake (in the van--it was freezing out) and talked...we were gone for 3 hours. Seemed to be just what he needed. He can't wait til we do it again.

    I so want them to grow up and think good of their growing up years.
    And I want them to grow up and be happy.

    Loved this and I love you.
    A wonderful mama doing what God wants her to do.

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Billie Jo