Monday, October 18, 2010

My Child Plan

It's not often that I write about the deeper stuff, the stuff the stirs within me, the stuff that steers me. I suppose thats mainly because it's so much easier to write the light-hearted posts where I poke fun at myself for my mommy-flops and share with you the funny things that spill out of my children's mouths.

Amidst the kiddo hijinks and silliness that comes with raising four small children, there is me. Shannon. Doing the best I can to to love these children into adulthood, to teach them right from wrong, and mother them the way I know how to mother, while inserting my own liveliness into this important business of motherhood.

The other day I came across a little gem on a disk....I was searching for photos of my pregnant self with Tyler. He was  having a particularly tough time without his Daddy, and try as I may, I cannot love him the way Jeremiah can. So rather than try to fight a losing battle, I focused on trying to envelop Tyler with my love. So I set out to show him, through pictures, how unbelievably joyful I was from the first moment I knew he was with us. In searching through photos, I found a document. I remember sitting down at my computer and typing. Jeremiah was flying really late that night, so it was just me and my burgeoning belly at 2 am with my laptop and an idea. I had been going through the pregnancy books that talked so vigorously about developing your birth plan. So, late that night alone with my thoughts (and a child within me), I decided to go one step further and create my 'child plan'. I read it just the other day, and it made me smile. In the plan, I discussed who I hoped my children would become and how I wanted to parent them. Amazingly, four kids later, I find myself very much in sync with my summer of 2003 self. Here are some of the things I said.

'I don't care if you make all A's, are the fastest runner, or have a voice that could make grown men cry. I just want you to be kind. I want your heart to always be soft, feeling it all- the joy and the pain. Know that compassion is sometimes the only thing we have to offer, and offer it often and freely. Even if it is not returned, kindness and compassion will lift and lighten you like nothing else can. 

If you are blessed to have a brother or sister, I want you to always feel driven to go to the ends of the earth for them. 

I hope you not judge people based on what they wear or how they speak, but use good judgement from what you learn. People can tell you who they are 'til they are blue in the face- it's when they show you who they are that you have to listen.

Never stop playing. Ever. 

Always buckle your seat belt. Especially with me. I'm sure you'll hear the stories at some point.

Money, toys, clothes, cars- that's all just stuff. Nothing will ever give you gratification the way being a person of character will. If you say something, do it. When you mess up, move on. If you need help, ask. Be honest, be true, and don't ever waiver from being yourself. God made you to be you and you've got to trust in that. He had His reasons for creating you the way He did, so you just need to marvel in it.

Always, always, always, always find the funny. If you have to get a tractor to dig it out, DO IT. Trust me. Life is sooo much more enjoyable with the funny.

Be sweet to me. Please. Be kind to everyone, but since I'm your mom, always be sweet to me. '

There are definitely some things I need to work on, and some things I'd like to add, but the heart of it remains the same.

Now, as I listen to the rise and fall of my baby's girl breath as she sleeps, I am acutely aware of the immense gift we have been given, as parents. We have within us the ability to steer our children to goodness, to get into their hearts and light them up with love. The fact that I have been given 4 children to try and teach kindness to- AMAZING. Truly, it is amazing. The other night Jeremiah sent me a very brief email. He said something like, 'So, I'm sitting here thinking. We have 4 kids. 4 KIDS. Wow.' I have said that exact same thing to myself quite a few times. Sometimes the 'wow' is more of a 'whew' based on how exhausted I am. But most of the time, it's a wide-grinned exclamation. I'm thinking I might just have to print my 'Child Plan' out and hang it somewhere to remind myself daily of what I wanted to do as mom. For me, it was never about serving big fancy meals or raising children with impeccable manners. Those things are well and good, but they are not who I set out to be, who I wanted my children to become. In those moments where I feel like the day got the better of me and things are spinning wildly out of control, I'd be well served to stop and think about who I set out to be as a mom. I'm so glad I had the foresight to write it all down. Apparently, wisdom arrives at about 2 am :)

So what about you? Do you have a 'child plan'? Would you like to share it?

***Oh, and that birth give you an idea of how that went, #1 on my list was NO C-SECTION.......

1 comment:

Kristyn said...

Wow, thanks so much for sharing this! I just had my first daughter 6 weeks ago, and I've been so overwhelmed by all the new-ness of everything that I've been forgetting to sit down and just marvel in the fact that God gave me this beautiful little girl to raise and train up in the way she should go. I am so blessed that she's healthy and happy and perfect. I remember when she was three days old and I had a horrible spinal headache, just laying in bed with her, watching her sleep and crying at how beautiful she is.


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