Twenty years ago today I gave birth to my first daughter. I remember being pregnant with her and going through this book that my grandmother had given me on pregnancy and parenting. I read past my current pregnancy status into the future and they seemed to stretch into forever.. these responsibilities that were now mine. I remember becoming afraid and completely overwhelmed.. I had to go through all of that?!
Then.. I made the decision that if I was going to do this, I had to face it one step at a time... one day at a time.
I couldn't look into an unknown future and let it intimidate me. Here I am twenty years and four children later and I still use this principle. Our responsibilities as mothers stretch on into the wild blue yonder. We are going to be mothers even when our children are full-grown and parents themselves. In fact, even when they are grandparents! Its true.. my own grandmother was still dishing out advice to my mother when I was married and having babies.
As I've reflected on what these past twenty years have meant to me, I know this "one day at a time" principle and the Grace of God has helped me to cope, to survive and to keep things in perspective. When I held this little infant in my arms, when I endured the sleepless nights, the anxiety of whether I would be a good mother or not I did not envision helping out with school projects, doctor and dentist appointments, anxiety and worry over exam results. I certainly did not envision myself leaving her in the car park of a university thousands of miles away. If I had I would have never believed that I would have the strength to do that.
At the moment, I cannot envision having the strength to watch her move away from home, have a serious relationship, get married or give birth to her first child, but I know through God's grace I will. God gave to women a strength that he did not give to men and its all wrapped up in our motherhood.
A motherhood that lasts as long as we are alive and that changes as our children grow. How quickly these twenty years have flown... and how different is our relationship now. She is all grown up and living on her own for most of the year. When graduation time comes she will make decisions for her future that may take her into places, foreign lands where I cannot follow or be an active part of her life any more.
The days for my motherhood to be one of counsel, comfort, protection are over. Now I can only give advice when she seeks it, comfort her when she turns to me and I can only pray to God for her safety and protection, both moral and physical.
I thank God for the years I have had to be a positive influence on her as the world is now at her fingertips and every worldly value and code of ethic is being thrown at her. I thank Him that she has had a good grounding in faith here at home and pray that the world doesn't grind it out of her. I thank Him that she still calls me "Momma" at times and turns to me for advice, even when I cant really help her or understand her struggles. She still believes somewhere in her heart that "Momma" can make it better.
Recently she called me up on Skype and she was basically having a meltdown.. she was overwhelmed with all the papers to hand in for finals, trying to keep up with job-related stuff (she works two jobs) and she hasn't been sleeping trying to stay on top of things. The clock wound back for me as I tried to talk her through this and I came up against the old brick wall of the teenaged mind... where nothing you say seems to make a difference.
She was in a defeatist mood and didn't appear to even be listening to me as she cried and vented out her heart's frustration. I gave her the best advice I could and told her I would pray for her. I disconnected feeling totally useless and helpless and turned to my husband saying that it was ironic that I could help people I have never met face to face but I fail when it comes to my own daughter.
A couple of hours later, she was on Skype with her sister feeling better and ready to face the world again. Apparently, I did penetrate the brick wall and she did get the benefit of my advice... don't give up and take it one day at a time.
For all you young mothers out there who are struggling with raising young ones (I'm still counted among your number raising a four year old myself!) Cherish these days, they go by so fast. Your motherhood will undergo changes.. that sweet daughter who blows you wet kisses now is going to become a teenager who will get moody and seem to not appreciate you at all and you may even believe that she hates you sometimes.. especially when you have to stand your ground against worldly values and uphold your own. This too shall pass.. take it one day at a time. (Matt 6:34 So do not worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.)
Happy Birthday my darling Bri.. can't wait to have you home in a few days! May God bless you and guide your footsteps onto the path that He has chosen for you. (Try not to resist Him ok ;-)
This post is linked to: