Saturday, August 7, 2010

It's About Time

As school has been quickly approaching my kids have expressed their anticipation to return. "You'll just be wishing for vacation days once you're back in school," I reminded them. One child responded with these words: "Well, summer hasn't been that great because you never let us do things with our friends. At least when we're at school we get to see them everyday."

Ouch.

It is not true, by the way, that I never let them do things with their friends. I will be the first to admit that I am a bit more protective than most parents, but I try to be sure that my kids have plenty of friend time intermingled with their family time. They are already running around enough as it is with Cross Country practices (sometimes twice a day), Scouts and church activities, piano lessons, appointments, etc. We are not all at home together as a family often enough.

Here's the way I figure it, though. I only get my kids for their first 18 years. That's nothing! Do you know how quickly we went from this:
to this?
It was like a blink! This month we will celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary - but I can still distinctly remember picking out that awesome peach dress with the big shoulder pads and lace collar for our first professional photo together. Time flies!

So I blink, and 18 years have passed. Then, one by one, we lose the kids to college, roommates, jobs, missions... and even eventually to their own marriages and families. Maybe lose isn't the right word. I do look forward to these landmark moments but recognize that they will have their own lives at this point - they will make decisions without needing my approval. They will take care of themselves and no longer be dependent on me for life's necessities. I do look forward to this aspect of their independence... but at the same time I do not look forward to it. My heart is torn when I think of their futures. More specifically, their futures without me, their mother.

Why can I not pull this jumble of thoughts from my head and form them into coherent sentences!?

What I'm trying to say in all of this rambling is that I want my kids around as much as I can keep them here while they're still under our roof. 18 years is such a short time! They are going to be living with Allen and I for probably less than 1/4 of their lives. Why does that seem so unfair to me? I want to build an abundance of memories and share plenty of laughter. I want us to dance and sing together. I want to teach them the value of service and the skills they will need in their individual futures. I want to bake them their favorite treats, cook up the meals that they love and talk about what they have learned in the books they are reading. I want them to have gospel knowledge and strong, unwavering testimonies. I want to help them gain a love for arts and cultures and nature. I want to teach them to be self-confident and kind.

I want our home to be a place where they will long to return once they have ventured out on their own.

How can I do these things, create this bond, if they are away with friends all of the time? Perhaps I am selfish. Perhaps things will be different once some of my younger kids are the oldest still at home. I don't know. What I do know is this:

I love my family. I love having my children here at home with me. I love spending time together, creating happy memories. All I can do is hope that, once they have left the nest, they will see the value in my possessiveness. When it comes their time to go, I hope they will fly away with confidence and knowledge and kind hearts. I hope they will come to their father and I for advice and encouragement and laughter and love.

In the here and now I hope they don't resent me too much for trying to keep them around as much as possible while I can.

And in the future I hope that they will all choose to remain close to our family while doing the same for their own kids.

9 comments:

A Lark said...

You are a great mom.... I'm sure your kids will continue to come home to you throughout their lives!

Linn said...

I love this post.

Kristin Garlick said...

I'm glad someone else feels as possessive as I do sometimes ;) What a great mom you are!

Anaise said...

Yes.

Yes.

Absolutely.

Yes.

It's like reading thoughts out of my own head.

Corine said...

I think these same thoughts... all the time! Do you ever worry? I see how my siblings don't make enough time for each other, and I worry. I pray for it to stop. I hope and pray that the family I am raising will always love each other and want to come home to visit with each other often etc. We should start a blog of ideas between parents... "What we do that encourages our kids to WANT to come home to each other." LOL There is something we USED to do that helped to accomplish this. I am inspired to do it again... thanks! ;) Perhaps I'll blog about it.

Corine :D

Farscaper said...

AMEN!!!

I totally feel the same way. I truly LOVE having my kids around me. I love watching them grow and learn. I think they're neat kids. I could repeat everything you just said. I want to be a bigger influence on my kids than their friends as long as possible.

You're not being overprotective. You're being a mom who LOVES her "job". Keep up the great work. Your kids are amazing!!

Rachel said...

Because we discussed this you know that I agree with you whole heartedly. I could have written this post for my own household only I wouldn't have done as good a job as you.

I hate that they are getting older and I hate even more when they remind me of how soon they will be leaving! Punks....

Lori said...

I love that you keep your kids close. I feel like I've sort of lost mine to the grandparents, which just live on the other side of the farm. It does go by too fast, doesn't it?

Richard & Natalie said...

I think you formed those jumbled thoughts into beautifully coherent sentences. This is an amazing post; you did the thoughts of many a mother remarkable justice.