Saturday, May 12, 2012
Some days mothering takes it out of you. Every day I feel like it is worth it. Today started out with Levi and John at the door of my room with the usual 'Mom, good morning' and then they came and laid down on the edge of the bed to coax me up to get them oatmeal. They do some tooting, giggling, and joking. Oh I love that. They have daily chores and when they were sweeping the compound Levi found a heart shaped leaf and saved it to give me. Oh I love that. Levi got an injury that I had to bandage and he screamed like he was dying. When I was finished and I looked up at John who had been standing there and he had tears flowing down his face. When I asked him what was wrong he just motioned to Levi. Empathy. Oh I love that. Albert has been getting up early every morning this week to 'train' with Andrew so that he can beat me when I play fight him. I tease him that when I get done sleeping I will come win but I know that I don't even stand a chance against this 14 year old in 6 months. Oh I love that. Isatu and Ivey are quite a handful and I am pretty sure that their teen years will put that second sentence in jeopardy. The determination, stubbornness and persistence will serve them really well if harnessed just right. Oh I love that too. I am pretty sure that my mother said that same thing about me. I started to tell my mother happy mothers day on a facebook post but then decided to publicly explain a little about her parenting which I hope to implement. When I was approximately 7 years old we were in the car going to Walmart and there were these men who had parked on the busy side of the parking lot holding signs that said 'will work for food' and I asked what they meant. She explained that they were hungry and that they were trying to find jobs. That really bothered me which she noticed. She told me that she would buy the food if I would go and give it to them. So we went into the Walmart deli area and she bought the food. That really long parking lot seemed so short at 7 when walking towards those two strange men. I kept contemplating what to say as I approached and I can't remember what I did say but I remember the mans face. He thanked me and I walked back. That really long parking lot seemed even longer walking back feeling awkward but I had plenty of time to pray that God would bless them and take care of them. There was another similar event many years later when I was in the 10th grade and working as a waitress. A guy that worked with me was also a student at my high school so I would talk to him regularly. I noticed some oddities about him but didn't inquire because I didn't want to be rude. It was in the middle of winter when I found out that he was moving and I asked where his family was going. It wasn't his family that was moving. It was only him who was moving out of the outdoor shed he had been living in because the people he was renting it from were going to up the rent because he was using to much electricity with his outdoor heater. He couldn't afford the price increase. He was in 11th grade! Where were his parents? I was baffled at how this could happen. How could the people charge him more knowing he had no where else to go? How could I ask my single mother who was struggling to pay for us to do something extra? But it bothered me so much that I told her about it, offered to help with any cost and she said he could sleep on the couch. I took a while to decide if that was what we should do but by the time I finished my saga of a prayer and finally offered that to him he had found something else. But she said yes. My mom taught me empathy, compassion, and love. I don't know how many times she has told me that she hoped that there was never a day that I doubted that she loved me. Mom, there has never been a day where I have doubted that you love me. I am so thankful for that and I hope that my kids can say the same. God blessed me around 7 1/2 years ago with a second mother. Andrew's mother and I are very similar. We started our relationship with her teaching me all about gardening which I had wanted to do for many years. When we still lived in Memphis I loved going flower shopping with her, learning about different plants and getting tips on making my pansy's bigger and better-which they always were due to good advice. Then, about 1 year into our marriage when I had the shock of a pregnancy, she taught me how to sew through the making of curtains, bedding and misc. items for Levi's room. That was yet another lesson that I had really been wanting to learn. You wouldn't believe how much time she spent letting me break her machine over and over again. And then she bought me a serger for christmas and another time a monogramming machine because we shared the love of sewing. She has taught me over and over again about generosity with your time and possessions. I thank God for the place that both of my mothers have had in my life. As I sit in West Africa holding my shirt high up on my neck and slapping at termites and mosquitoes, they will be angry to know that they had a part in me bringing their grandchildren here-but they did. God used what they gave me in empathy, love, and generosity to help me sit and stay here today. I pray that in 20 or so years all 5 of our children will be sitting somewhere in the world remembering lessons on those same things that we taught them. Oh I would REALLY love that.