Yesterday was a special day.
It was my mom’s birthday.
We celebrated with tacos, margaritas, and family!
I put a post on Facebook listing some of the things that my mom taught me, and how grateful I am for her. She’s seriously the best.
This got me thinking about my boys and the Spartans I want them to become. What do I hope they can say about what I taught them when they’re grown with their own families? What do I hope that they know about me and who I am/was?
I spent the day making a mental list about the things that I hoped my kids would know about me, and what I hoped that they would do with those things.
So here is a list of some of the things that I hope that my boys know about me.
Noah and Aidan,
I love you so much that it makes my body ache. I love you unconditionally and with my whole heart. I could watch you chew, sleep, and giggle for the rest of my breaths and never be able to reach the depth of how much I love you.
I’ve learned that our only job in this world is to love other people – no matter who they are. I’m the worst at this, but you are both so good at it. You make instant friendships with random kids on the playground, and the idea of me doing that often makes my palms sweat. You see hurt and feel compelled to help. I hope so much that you never lose this. Every person matters, no matter their color, their beliefs, their job, their style, or their choices.
I love a good party. Any reason for a party is fine by me. Kentucky Derby? Find some hats! National Pancake Day? Bring some bacon, too! Oh, is it Tuesday? I think we need to have an ice cream party! I hope you learn to celebrate things — big and little. Life is so full of the big and the little. Keep your home open to people. Something special happens when people get together in your home…it fills to the brim with love and joy and laughter that lingers long after the people have gone.
For a long time, I tried really hard to be tough, and then decided it was just time to be honest. It’s good to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and barrel full-steam ahead with determination and grit. But it’s also really important that you don’t pretend like life isn’t hard. Life is so hard. Sometimes just for no other reason than that it’s life. But it’s infinitely harder when you’re trying to tough it out alone, and so is everyone else around you. Don’t do life alone, and don’t do life pretending. Your honesty will give others permission to be honest, too.
I don’t do everything by myself, and it’s okay to ask for help. My mom makes dinner for us sometimes, and she cleans for me sometimes, too. Sometimes Grandma comes to play with you so that I can take a nap. My friends help with birthday parties, and talk me through my stress daily. Women in my Life Group pray for me. Don’t be afraid to lean on other people when you need it. And don’t be too wrapped up in yourself that you forget to be available for other people.
I do a lot by myself, and it’s important to learn to be self-sufficient. If something is broken, I try to fix it myself first. If I don’t know how to do something, I do my best to learn how to do it. I’ve become quite handy and gained knowledge in many different areas because I took some extra time to do it by myself. It’s important to me that in many areas of my life, I am not solely dependent on other people. It’s hard, but it’s worth it.
I choose to stay home. I graduated from college. I had many different jobs before I was a mom. I don’t stay home because I’m not qualified to do any jobs. I’m not a mom who stays at home because it’s the easiest thing to do. I could have a career or do good things in many different jobs. I choose to stay home because I feel that it’s the best decision I could possibly make for our family. But don’t mistake the fact that I stay home for a desire to opt out of responsibility or because I’m unqualified to do anything else. I choose to do this because I’m willing to set aside my life to be present for yours.
I love adventures and spontaneity. There’s a big big world out there. I hope you explore it and experience it for all it has to offer. See the world with your eyes and your arms wide open.
I am angered when someone hurts you, and I will fight for you. I’m always on your side. I promise.
I can do hard things. I’m learning something about myself. I’m a tough cookie. I can do things that are difficult, painful, or undesirable — but necessary. And so can you. I’ll be right here to help you.
A song can change my day. Sometimes all it takes is that one song to bring me right back to high school, or to the day I married Daddy, or sitting in our backyard watching you play together nicely, or when I experienced pain like I’d never known before. Music will do that to you. It can wound you and heal you all at once. It can remind you. It can encourage you. And it can move you. Learn to love music.
I exercise so that I can keep up with you. I want to be able to run with you, ride bikes with you, swim with you, take you on adventures far into the mountains and out on the lake. I want to teach you to water ski and climb a tree. I love coaching your teams and chasing you up the stairs. I take time away from you so that I can spend time with you. I don’t exercise to look a certain way, although that would be a nice added bonus. You two never stop, so I want to never stop.
My brain is more important to me than beauty. And my heart is more important to God than my brain. And the same goes for you. Love, mercy, and kindness always, boys. Always.
I’m a good arguer. And I guarantee that I’m more stubborn than you are, so we can go all day. If you want to argue with me, I suggest you come prepared. And sometimes, in the middle of an argument, just like my mom did for me, I’ll school you in the ways of arguing. Listen closely — it’s a valuable skill. And so is fighting fair — never fight dirty.
I do my very best to feed you healthy things so that you will be strong and live long. I wish that you’d trust me that vegetables are delicious. I’m not lying to you when I say they’ll make your muscles bigger, your legs faster, and your arms stronger. Food is delicious, but it’s first and foremost fuel. I want to feed your body good fuel. Please just trust me. But never fear — know that we can always eat cake.
I don’t care if you go to college, and I don’t care if you’re the best at anything – except loving. I hope you’re the best at love.
I try to make our house a home so that when you walk through the door, you know that you are safe and loved and accepted just for being you. I want you to know that you are always welcome here, no matter what you’ve done or where you are. You can let your guard down here. This is a safe place for you.
I will know your friends and treat them like they’re my own, but they aren’t my own. I’m YOUR mom, and my rules apply to you, even if you’re the only one to whom they apply. Our family will operate very differently than many families will. Tough.
I have passions and hopes and dreams that are just mine. Things I wish I could do, or become, or experience. Just because I’m your mom doesn’t mean that I’m not a person. Please know that as much as I am over the moon about being your mom, I am more than just a mom. I hope I show you sufficiently how to follow your dreams and keep chasing your passions. Never lose your passion.
There are few things that are more awe-inspiring and humbling to me than honor, dignity, respect, sacrifice, and fighting for injustice. I pray you have and do those things always.
I’m so human it hurts. I am so broken, and I’m terrified that I’ve been put in charge of other broken little humans. I can’t believe no one has shown up to take you two back, citing some administrative mix-up at the hospital that confirms that you weren’t supposed to be allowed out of those double doors and entrusted to me in the first place. I’m so sorry I’m broken.
I lay awake at night and worry about all the things I’m doing to damage you. I forgot sunscreen at the park today. I let you eat too much candy and processed food today. I yelled when I was frustrated. I lost my marbles when you were fighting again instead of calmly pulling you apart…again. I let you watch too much TV today because all I really really wanted to do was sit down for more than 30 seconds in a row. I kept talking over you and getting upset that you weren’t listening when you were really just trying to tell me that you couldn’t reach what I was asking you to grab. I wonder I gave you enough hugs today. And it all haunts me. I pray that Jesus protects your little hearts from me sometimes. I hope it works.
I know who I believe Jesus is, and I hope that you come to that conclusion, too. But it’s not my decision to make. It’s yours, and it scares the hell out of me that I can’t assume that you will know the boundless love that Jesus has for you. I pray with every fiber of my being that you acknowledge the blood that Jesus shed for you, and that you let Him show you a better way to live your life. He’s changed my life, boys. I hope He rocks yours, too.
What are some things that you wish your kids (or other people, for that matter) knew about you?