By Rhonda Ihrig
Thanksgiving is almost here and all around are signs of fall…where the leaves turn bright red, then brown, and finally fall to the earth. As I look forward to having my family over for a big turkey dinner, stuffing, veggies, and of course dessert, I begin to think of all the things that I am thankful for. Yet in the midst of gratefulness, my thoughts are interrupted by the tragedy of losing my grandson last year. I must admit that since his accident, it has been hard to focus on what I am thankful for. The distraction of our loss encroaches on every thought. But as I prayed and mourned, the word “cherish” came to mind. My first thought was, ”Cherish what?” But yes, there is so much about him to cherish:
- His laughter
- His giving heart
- The times he would say, “I love you Nana”
- Caring for him as a baby
- When we talked about the Lord
- The times I cut his hair (he had great hair)
There are so many things I loved about him and I was reminded to always cherish the time I was given with Kaleb. I can honestly say that looking back over the short 14 years I had with him, I have no regrets.
I really love my family. But more than that, I have learned to “cherish” every moment that I spend with them, even when they get on my nerves. I feel blessed that I have been given many, many wonderful times with my children and grandchildren.
So my encouragement for you is to make the most of every situation with your children, all of the time, because you never know what the next day or moment will bring.
Don’t just be thankful for them, “cherish” them.
Have you ever heard of the phrase ‘tap out’ in parenting? It is often used when one parent is simply at the end of their rope and needs to tap out and have the other parent take over. I often hear about this among other stay-at-home moms when they reference having one of those exhausting, ‘one thing after the other’ type of days where they desperately need to “tap out” once their husbands gets home from work, even if it’s just for ten minutes to regroup.
Recently I was catching up on some podcasts and I listened to a Marriage on the Go episode: Marriage-Centered Family. It was so good! Sabrina and Matt shared about the biblical truths of modeling a Christ-centered, marriage-first family and how that creates emotional security for children. They talked about simple ways to do this so children experience a secure home, and how it, in-turn, promotes a strong foundation for positive self-esteem and secure children.
Ha, no in all seriousness, we love everything about it. The sunshine, the wetlands, and without a doubt, the beach. When I schlep all my kids down to the beach, they are great direction-followers because they understand and respect the potential danger of the ocean, crowds, and the reality of getting lost.
We live is a world of fakes, knockoffs, copies, and skewed norms. Even “Real Housewives” are obviously NOT real! So with all of the perversion of reality we can easily get a improbable perspective of what a “real mom” is. Now somewhere there MAY exist that mystical female rendition of motherhood who does her hair perfectly every morning, puts on fresh makeup, gets plenty of rest, has a beautifully clean house, smiles continuously, and maintains a sweet disposition every minute of the day.
I am a mom with 6 children, 5 boys and 1 girl ranging in ages from 21-11. Most days I feel as though I am some what certain that my husband and I are heading them in the right direction and I feel as though I’m “winning” at this thing called parenting. THEN. Then there are days when I just don’t get it right. Days that hold lessons not just for them, but even bigger ones for me.
Let’s say your ninth grade son left a soda can on the coffee table even though you asked him to clean up after himself. Now he’s gone to school. Do you pick up that empty can because it’s driving you crazy, or you do you leave it for another 6 hours and then remind your man-child that he needs to pick it up? Only by then, you are so ticked at said can and man-child that your request is spoken with an intensity heretofore unknown in conjunction with aluminum beverage containers!
The second after my daughter was born, immediate natural instincts began to rise up within me, instincts I never knew existed. To name a few, there was the instinct of instant overwhelming, unconditional love in my heart for her. I couldn’t believe there was so much love for someone I had just met.
“Kids, why haven’t you made your bed yet? I told you three times to make your beds!”
My mom-tone echoed through the hallway, and I felt a little proud of myself for implementing our new chore chart system. I glanced at all the checkmarks on the chart hanging on my fridge. Must have more! More checkmarks!
On the morning of my son's first birthday, I was awakened by a powerful, vivid dream. A silver haired, slender, malnourished woman was aching in her legs, in terrible pain, and no one could help. Not for lack of trying. I walked up a hill to find her and try to help too. I could not see what was really bothering this women until God opened my spiritual eyes. More groans. The pain was debilitating.
We all go through moments or seasons when we don’t really like our kids. I know that sounds awful to say, but it’s true.
And even though our love for them is never in question, we can still experience day-to-day moments or longer seasons where their behavior–or circumstances in life–make it more challenging to feel like we like them.