A Tale of Two Moms

Susan:
About the time my kids hit their teenage years, I somehow naively arrived at the notion that if I could just get them to adulthood, I could check-off parenting from my daily to-do list and be worry-free about my young ones. If I raised them under an umbrella of prayer, if I modeled before them how to follow Christ, if I taught them to the best of my ability then Proverbs 22:6 would take over from there.  “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Right? I think I’m hearing those of you with adult children laughing hysterically at my ridiculous notion.

Gina:
Motherhood. Even with nine months to prepare you’re still never really ready. You think you are getting used to the idea until one day you have this little bundle that comes as a mixed emotional, physical, and spiritual package. Babies change so much in those early years. Each day is filled with the joys of the firsts: coos, smiling, rolling over, scooting, crawling, walking, and running.

Susan:
I learned very quickly that their steps into adulthood did not in fact change my status as their mother. College for one and basic training for the other offered rude awakenings for this new version of “mother life” ahead of me. Suddenly I had traded the day-to-day responsibilities of guiding and disciplining, for worrying at a distance with scarcely anything I could actually do.

Gina:
But it also comes with surprises and things you are never really prepared for. Days, it seems, without sleep, magnum diaper blowouts that defy description and of course always at the way worst possible moments. Let’s not forget the mountains of laundry and did I mention the lack of sleep?

Susan:
“Six dollars a day from a vending machine, Really?” “Why did you have to walk across campus at 3am?” “My little boy is carrying a gun!”, and “You got a what in Economics!?” all real examples of mothering my adult children. Now, this stage isn’t bad, it just takes some getting used to. Ironically, just like it took a while to get comfortable with the idea that this little life is totally dependent on you for everything, it takes a while to reconcile yourself with the idea that the little one grew up and isn’t totally dependent on you anymore.

Gina:
Especially for those momma's who are working full time on top of caring for their littles, life can simply be exhausting. Sometimes coffee is that which carries you through. But being a mom is more than just the monumental moments or emotions. It's the opportunity in your day to share the hope, freedom, love and joy of Christ with a little one. It may not be verbal in the early years, but as a mom I have been given the opportunity to show my child what it means to choose obedience, offer mercy and grace over the hurt and pain of the opposite. My toddler may not be able to understand the specifics, but I hope and pray that she will see Jesus through how I love, care, and walk alongside her as she grows. Motherhood is challenging, but what an incredible gift!

Susan:
So instead of the physical responsibilities of raising a child, my primary focus is now spiritual. I can’t control their lives or their direction. I can’t send them to their rooms when they make a bad choice. I can offer advice and opinions, but I have to let it be just that—advice and opinions. But the one thing that I can do with absolute fierceness is to pray for them. Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night and just assume that it’s because one of my kids needs me to pray for them. One comes to mind in the middle of the day and I stop and pray. I pray for safety, for physical needs, for wise choices, for spiritual truth, and anything else I think they might need.

Gina:
I’ll never forget the moments that will stay with me forever. Like when she finally decided to roll over and those first little noises sounding like she was singing. How she sits mesmerized listening to Dad sing and play guitar. The delighted giggle when she first encountered water, and her love for her daily dates with Dad at Starbucks while I worked. Milestone after milestone like sleeping through the night, eating solid food, moving to a big girl bed, and saying goodbye to her pacifier. I’m so proud of how she is growing and that I get to be her momma.

Susan:
Oh and I also get to be proud. Proud that she completed a college degree. Proud that he chose to serve our country. Proud that even though they don’t always make the choices I think are best for them, they make adult decisions for their own lives. I hold on to that verse in Proverbs all the time, although I like the way the Message version says it, “Point your kids in the right direction—when they’re old they won’t be lost.”

Gina and Susan:
Whatever stage of motherhood you find yourself in, give good directions and pray a lot as they navigate life.

                               

SUSAN NIGHTINGALE | COMMUNICATIONS & VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR

 GINA FARCAS | SERVE COORDINATOR