Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Raising Mom

I wasn't prepared for days like this. My little girl is growing up, and with that comes a whole new set of spoken and unspoken social rules and responsibilities. I'd like to help her navigate this new territory. Heck, I'd like to just go ahead an just clear the way for her altogether! I can't. Her life is a trail she must blaze all her own. It's more than helpful to know that she is not alone. The same God who has seen me through so many of my challenges and meltdowns is for there her too. He's acutely aware of who she is, and stands ready to defend and protect her. In fact that is the very definition of her name. Samara means "protected by God." If you happen to be Polish, then it's also slang for potbelly, but that's another story.  Point is her name is no accident. At the time I learned I was pregnant that was my deepest wish, that God Himself would come to her defense and protect her always. It still is. As she matures I watch the kind of woman she is becoming. I see her navigate circumstances thrown at her and come out a little stronger. I love the fact that she's strong enough to stand alone when she's right, but humble enough to apologize, and search out matters to find where she may have been wrong, or could have made a better decision.  She's not a perfect child. If you stop by my house on any given day you'll hear me telling (at times scolding ) her of ways to improve this or that, but her character and integrity is something that I continue to be amazed by. I know that who she is has nothing to do with me. In fact I think the greater miracle is that she is an incredible person despite me. By the grace of God she is who she is, and I am pleased with that. My prayer is that God would continue to protect her mind, her heart, soul, and body and that she is someone who honors Him despite the junk life throws at her. It's been an absolute privilege to be mom to this child. I've learned so much from her already. Today was just further proof that she has a lot more to teach me, and I have a lot more to learn.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"This Too Shall Pass..."

This really should be titled "Lessons I Recently Learned From my Toddler." She doesn't always use her words, but she's teaching me nonetheless.
Last week after being outdoors a while I worked up a bit of a sweat. I bent over to say hi to Elle and a single bead of perspiration hit the floor. Elle's eyes got really big. "Puddle" she squealed and proceeded to jump on/in the single drop of sweat. Too me this was cute and  funny, but somewhat profound. She was delighted over something so insignificant. A drop of any liquid hardly compares to a puddle, but I guess in her eyes any moisture at all was a step in the right direction. I couldn't help but think of the peace that comes from finding joy and contentment I what you have, despite and obvious lack.

This week, she's been continuing her work on the fine art of tantrum throwing.  She was in the middle of one such episode when I had this thought: "She won't remember any of this. All of this time and energy (physically and mentally) devoted to something that doesn't matter and that she won't remember.  Children!" That's when it hit me. I do the same thing. I might not headbutt the couch, and wallow on the floor, but I have tantrums of my own. Guess what, much like hers, they are often over things that don't matter. I had to smile at myself. Here I was thinking, I'm diagnosing her, and the insignificance of her "moment" but I'm guilty of the same thing. It's just like truth to sneak up on you that way.
I tried to recall what frustrated me, or what I threw a fit over when I was her age. I don't remember. I tried to think about what I got bent out of shape over when I was a teenager, or in my twenties. Nothing. Even the things that bothered me a few months ago seems so long ago, and so insignificant. Much like Elle's "moments" I'm sure they were major at the time.  It's not that my life has been perfect. It's just that time has shed light on the all those moments. While some of them were hard, a lot more of them were trivial.  None of them deserved the worry and mental anguish I lavished upon them. It's so human to be fixated on ourselves. Our stuff. Our happiness. Our problems. A week, a month, a year, a decade from now will it really matter? Even if it does matter, does our mental gymnastics regarding it accomplish anything? If we could change it, we would. Worry and tantrum seems the "go to" when matters are beyond our control. Perhaps fretting in itself, gives us a sense of control. I don't know.
It seems a logical, and simple conclusion, don't worry, and leave the tantrums where they belong; childhood. Despite the simplicity of this, it is something I need to be reminded of...regularly. It just happened that this time I really appreciate the form in which the reminder came. I thought I'd share.
Hard to believe that I actually got something from a drop of sweat and a tantrum. I did. Make the most of your moments, but try not to make too much out of some moments. I'm pretty sure I'll be working on the balance between these two ideas for the rest of my life :)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


For the past several years I've heard more and more people replace New Year's resolutions with just one word they believe will describe their upcoming year. The process of finding that word is different. For some it's thought and reflection, for others it's prayer. For me, I just like the idea that the New Year's resolution thing is being approached in a different way. It's June, and if I'm honest, any resolution I made in January would have been broken LONG ago. I wanted to join the "one word to describe my year club" for the past few years. I just never got anything that seemed like,  "yep, that's the word." Recently a thought/phrase came to me, and I haven't been able to shake it. "Excellence is not a accident." I googled it. Turns out Aristole said this first, and best. He said:

Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives - choice, not chance, determines your destiny."

I couldn't agree more. Somewhere in the midst of all the crazy exists the highest intentions of a loving God for us all.  With guidance, and in His wisdom we can make a vehicle of right choices to take us there. That's excellence to me, finding and living my God appointed destiny, it's no accident.  Not sure what impact this phrase will have in the rest of my year, God willing, but I'm committed to doing my best, so I'm hoping I will soon find out.