Today is Mother’s Day. Since it isn’t my first one, I kept my expectations very low and only requested a picture with all 8 and time to write. The photo shoot was a circus and I’m writing this blog in the midst of nap-less toddlers roaming the house. I’ve shed a few tears of frustration but only a few. You see, I’m in training and they are too and that’s life in a nutshell. Is it a bad thing? I don’t think so. We grow in the process.
Our golden retriever was about 6 months old when I bought a harness for him that said: IN TRAINING. He was large for his young age; when we took him out and about I wanted people to know he was still a puppy and needed a little extra patience from them. It was also a reminder for me too- when he pulled too hard on the leash or couldn’t control his bladder when he got excited or chewed something up. If I remembered he was still in training, it was easier for me to be patient with him.
This imagery came to my mind recently on a particularly trying day. Rarely does a day go by without one person being a challenge and my feeling like I could have handled the challenge with a calmer, more thoughtful approach. But if I remember that my children are still new to this earth and learning how to regulate their emotions and interact with their environment, patience and compassion assist in restraining my emotional reactions.
Following this thought I noticed that memories made and lessons learned from my own childhood were more frequently visiting my thoughts. I can honestly say I have not thought about my childhood training as much as I have now- just a few years shy of 40. It makes the proverb ring true: “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old [grown], he will not depart from it.” Not only are my children in the training years for now and years to come, I am too. Parenthood is not something you can study for ahead of time; it is on-the-job training in every sense of the term. Each day I am a little more practiced in some respects and a novice in others. Embracing these training years can help me laugh at the mishaps and be peaceful in the tumult.
I am comforted by the knowledge that I may not see fruit or even buds from my efforts with my children for years to come. What matters is that I am consistent in doing what I know is right and surrendering to the training process in my own life. Being a mother isn’t just about pointing my children to Jesus; it’s about following Him myself. And that’s a humbling thought.