Shortly before the end of eighth grade, the jr high principal at my kids’ school handed out an excellent book to parents on how to write your child’s blessing, asking us to read it, assuring us it would be helpful in guiding our blessings for our children, who would be graduating soon.
I read through and found the suggestions really were helpful.
We were encouraged: to highlight our child’s abilities; to remind our children of the gifts they have already be given; to send them off empowered with the accomplishments, efforts and talents they’ve already displayed. Then, we were asked to pray over their future with a meaningful blessing, in the hopes their time in high school be all that God had intended.
Whether you are a person of faith or not, lifting up your child(ren) in praise, urging him or her to make realistic goals and out of this world dreams too, to reach for more–an earned self reliance, as they go forward with honor and confidence, seemed like a superb idea to me!
I asked their dad if he wanted to supply any input? He was happy for them, but he declined, “No. That’s your thing.” Yeh, it is my thing. 🙂
Thinking about my children was effortless…
When I sat down to write this blessing for your future, I couldn’t help but be drawn to your past. I found myself opening scrapbook after scrapbook, and yearbook after yearbook; page after page filled with awards of every kind: spelling bees, speech meets, athletic achievements–even one geography bee finalist which surprised us all!
And who could forget Mrs. Owen’s beautiful, uplifting funny musicals where Lauren sang a solo one year and Niko played the bongos?
There were character trait certificates too, prayerfully presented to every one of you, each year, by our wonderful teachers here at Stoneybrooke. They spoke of your Godliness, Love, Humility and Joy. Each had a short paragraph written by your teacher and then there was a classroom presentation of character appreciation that always left me wondering, how did these teachers know each child so well?
Page after scrap-booked page was bursting with the joyful snapshots of playground antics, chapel presentations, goofy familiar faces, and personal growth; a reflection of two young lives truly touched by the teachings of Christ.
As I finished my jaunt down memory lane, a warm reassurance washed over me and I knew exactly what stood out the most in all those pages of your time at this school. It was an honor that came at the end of the 3rd grade for one, and at the end of the 4th grade for the other: it was the Timothy Award.
“The Timothy Award is presented to students who have demonstrated exemplary Christian character in their daily lives.”
As your mother, I sat there reflecting, with a growing lump of pride in my throat and realized, what more could a parent ask for?
Character is everything.
Niko and Lauren, your father and I pray as you each take this next big step in your lives, high school, that you remind yourselves of the impact living a life filled with Christian character has had on each of you. Walk with good intentions, and always honor the gifts that God has given you (especially when you’re scared), because God knows His plan for us, even when we don’t.
Remember who you are in those dark challenging moments, and you will always find your light.
May the future surprise you, and on those difficult days when you are confronted with tough choices, be brave!
Don’t forget, what was true at 5 years old is still true at 15: always tell the truth, manners are important, be respectful and patient too, with yourself and others–and never ever forget that special twin bond between you have that urges you daily to love and encourage your sibling.
Finally, from your father and I: you are our greatest gifts of all. We love your strengths and weaknesses, because it is both of these that make up who you are: our very own double blessing!!
Rereading this made me realize, we need to continually bless our children, our families, our friends, and ourselves. We need reminders of our trials and our triumphs, so we can go forward with the courage and grace to reach into our futures with our arms stretched high.
Lately, I’ve been wondering who will be there to take my place?
Woke up wiped out again–and I went to bed early. Little bouts of nausea too. Not terrible, just not myself. Harder to bounce back these days. Maybe it’s my age. I turned 49 on my last birthday.
Often I find myself scouring the internet for those studies of women in their 40’s and 50’s–which are helpful (I’m snacking on almonds and drinking green tea–and lots of water too!), but before I know it, I’m self diagnosing: every ache above my eyes is an aneurism, every lump beneath my collar bone a tumor, every cough–cancer?!
So much of what we feel emotionally is connected to how we feel physically. I get that. I’ve lived that. But it does get harder as we go. For me, anyway. Been feeling those mortal aches and pains of a body soon to turn fifty, in a very real way, and I don’t like it. Scares me.
Had some high school friends over a few weeks ago and we were reminiscing about how quickly the time has gone by when Carol said, “I can’t believe how fast 30 to 50 went!”
We all agreed. It was like taking the bullet train through two decades!
For 16 years of that time, I was raising kids. It was wonderful, life changing even, in the most remarkable meaningful way, and I’m not done. I will always be a mom. I still cannot believe I get the privilege of traveling down the road of life with those two (no matter how old they get) but I do remind myself, they are almost adults themselves, and more now than ever I am stepping aside, letting them find their way, freeing up my own time.
Looking back, I know I made mistakes (many of them were real doosies) but the one thing I am grateful for? I parented with purposeful love and thoughtful intention. My mom used to say, “Sheesh, I don’t know any mom who does for her kids what you do for yours.” My investment was/is whole-hearted.
All my seconds-minutes-hours-days-weeks-and months, turned into years of devotion to my twin loves. My heart, my tears, my laughter and my anger too, all have come honestly. I wanted to be their mom, in every way that mattered.
When I held a dirty hand or wiped a crocodile tear, when I gave a much needed bear hug or tipped a face covered in the shadows of a hard day gently up to the light, when I buried my own face in a grumpy sweaty neck till I heard an uncontrollable giggle, when our mini-me’s revealed who they were bit by bit and it wasn’t always what I wanted, when I lost my patience with them because I couldn’t instantly summon up what they needed, when sometimes, it was just all too much and I would cry ,they knew it was me being real, good or bad, because I wanted their lives to matter, and sometimes that was hard.
I expected a lot, but I gave more.
I gave all of me, in the hopes my children would have all that I did not. My goal was to provide them with an environment that was both safe and secure; a solid foundation, so they could grow up strong and stable.
Can’t believe they are almost half way through high school. Bullet train…
The past two years have been one trial after another. Exhaustion has taken it’s toll. Recently, and with a heavy heart, I told my daughter, “Since the divorce, we are all just trying to figure out how to move forward.” She responded, “Truer words have never been spoken.”
The future will come regardless of plans. But I see her and my son taking steps towards their goals. Now it’s time to do that for myself.
Can you imagine your body being at it’s fittest? Can you imagine saying no to the confounding stressors, and yes to what pleases you? Can you imagine being in charge of your own joy, your own future, your own peace? I imagine we would live a long long time.
The next twenty years are gonna be even faster–two more decades for those of us turning fifty this year. If we’re lucky, there will be enough time between 50 and 70 to make a difference in our own lives.
My gift to my children at this point in my life: be the best I can be. For them, and for me, whatever that entails.
Anything after that is simply gravy for a meal already consumed.