Tag Archives: growing up

The Fading Signs of Motherhood

Oh these times… they are a’changin.  The signs are everywhere….

Fading Signs

Not long ago, while cleaning an overgrown area in the yard, I spotted them: two pool noodle and pvc-pipe “swords”. Each was wrapped soundly in what had to be an entire roll of duct tape and lay hidden beneath a few seasons of vines and leaves— likely captured in the midst of a neighborhood skirmish or dropped in place at the sound of the dinner bell. Four years? Five? Surely, they had no idea it was their last battle.

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Later, while prepping the bathroom for a long overdue paint job, I was forced to remove this little sign from the shower wall. No longer important but once upon a very real time, it was all a mother could do in this house to ensure she had at least one washcloth with which to wash her face. One that hadn’t been used to wipe mud from a shoe— or worse!

Mom's face cloth

Then… there’s this charming memento of a former time when this gesture only made me feel a little bit better about the situation since it was largely ignored and at least once a week I’d find myself nearly “bottomed out and shrieking” in the wee hours of the dimly lit night.   #word

Toilet Seat

There are no more army men in the refrigerator.
I haven’t stepped on a Lego in ages.
The potted plants haven’t seen a Matchbox car or dinosaur in quite a while.
AirSoft BB’s still haunt the corners only  because I kicked the box  while cleaning the closet.

The  bunker-style holes in the back yard have been filled in and the old tires used for camouflage have recently been stacked and turned into a bird bath. The honeybees like it too.

The American Girl doll is wrapped and safely tucked away along with many dog-eared and well-loved lap books waiting on the next generation of readers to come along. Pointe shoes hang here and there testifying to the countless lessons and lost bobby pins of a chiffon-and-lace girl — now happily married and continuing the legacy many hours of driving away.

A page is turned.
These are the fading signs of Motherhood.

Home schooling only factored in more gravity to the massive responsibility I’ve felt attempting to mother these past 24 years. Twenty-four. Whew. Depending on where you find yourself in the equation, 24 years may or may not seem like a long time. If you’re currently up to your elbows and eyeballs in chaos and bodily fluids, well then it seems near-about eternal!  

However, if you’re like me— who just this very moment heard “number last” call “I love you” while driving off (in YOUR car) to get a haircut he’ll pay for with his own money, well. There is hardly a way to define that tender mix of pleasure and pain — both necessary ingredients in this beautiful recipe of life.

“This is good.” I tell myself.
This is how it’s supposed to be.

With equal amounts of fear and trembling, joy and imagination…you raise them up and hold them close with the goal of somedayletting them go.

I blinked and BAM! My “baby” son is now a senior in high school. In all fairness, it wasn’t really a blink but I’ll straight up tell you:  it’s a bit stunning to think about it now that it’s here. Sometimes sadness, or at the very least melancholy threatens to creep up around the edges of my heart. It’s the feeling that something is flat over and done and I’ll never have it again. With a strange longing, I look back at these memories sweetly colored and draped with nostalgia and it almost overwhelms me.

Until I stop.
Because I must.

Because nostalgia can be a slow, killing disease. Nostalgia can rob you blind of the wonderful here and now and well, let’s be honest— those days were good, but they were equally hard and now this— even the hard stuff– really good too. I’d be a fool to insult the truth by attempting to paint a picture of perfection that really doesn’t exist in any situation. FACT: none of us has it all together. Although together, it’s nice that we try.

It’s one of the first things I noticed when I first started writing: how much support the common Mommy can find out here. Honestly, it floored me. I was drowning in personal crisis back then so it also grieved my heart terribly to find so much affirmation and advice, camaraderie and consolation given and shared so freely.   I didn’t have that.   My heart ached at first because OH!! I wished I could turn back the hands of time and live my Mommy years again in the company of others who might understand that I was an ignorant pioneer in this experience.    I needed mothering myself.

I didn’t stay there long.
Sure, I have my regrets.
There are things I’d do more better.
There are some things I’d do less…..  or not at all.

I’m not going to preach or pronounce over which is which because there are some things we each must learn in order to fully rely on and freely fall into the arms of Jesus. In this way, we are forever children too.  Besides, how can I regret anything that keeps me on my knees before him?

Letting Go

It was the words of a friend that comforted me most reminding me that God is sovereign especially in this regard: He knows. I was born for such a time as this, no mistake. 

It’s all grace.  Abundantly received and now more to be given beyond those years.

To my today Self.
To you.
To my adult children and future grandchildren .
To my neighbor with a herd of young’uns running around the yard.
To the unwed mother down the street.

Grace:    It’s the most necessary ingredient of motherhood.

Like a well-loved lap book in the hands of God, grace has rubbed smooth most of the sharp edges of my life. He knows my heart so time and again when I stood perched on the edges of making a huge mess of it all and about to topple over into some Mom-crazy abyss, God bridged the gap with Himself and somehow allowed us all to cross safely over, through and beyond to today.   How kind.

How kind that He has given me today. I can almost laugh at my former ignorances because I have the gift and the memories today:

We lived and loved together under this roof out loud.
Clenched fists, hot tears, slammed doors and angry voices.
Many, many precious “I’m-sorry-I-love-you” moments on both sides of the equation.
Kitchen dancing and hide-n-seek.
Night terrors, bad dreams, potty training and puke buckets.
The ebb and flow of motherhood balanced out with forehead kisses of God’s grace.

What a precious, precious gift.   It’s been good.

Dancing into the next season,Lorretta signature

 

anchored in the heart of christmas

A while back I shared a bit about my love-hate relationship with Christmas. Y’all,  It can’t be a total mystery that there’s a spike in the common stress level from the mid- November through the end of the year.

I don’t wanna beat a dead camel but  truth is, you don’t have to be a genius or a Christian to see much of what gets the most attention during this “most wonderful time of the year”,  has absolutely nothing to do with the “Reason” for the season.  But that’s not what this post is about.

AND while I can neither confirm nor deny that the “Elf on a Shelf” is an agent of satan  Santa (just kidding people), this is also not what this post is about.

Anchored in the Heart of Christmas

 A few years ago, I joined my friend Katherine for a week of Christmas spotlighting her Advent devotional. Then I told you about one of our favorite family traditions; baby Jesus in our stocking.

I’ve thought a lot about that these last few days. Because my house and halls are be-decked and stockings are hung by the woodstove with care, even though one of my three children won’t be home this year and another will be scarce. This is a first…and a definite foreshadowing of Christmases to come. (sigh)

 I sat on my couch looking at the nearly-naked tree a few nights ago and  I guess I was still long enough for it to catch up with me: it’s almost over. The years of lego-strewn floors and the excited (or not) squeals of knee-knockers running through the house…hormone-laden “expressions” coupled with other loud and exasperated “exchanges”….the years of scraping together what little we had to place what always seemed like way too much under the tree.

We’ve turned the corner into new territory.

 So…for a night, I was a little sad. I’m ok now… it’s how it should be…even if it stings. We’ve done our “job” of setting TRUE Christmas before each of them, and now it’s time to stand back and watch the Truth take hold in their individual lives and bear it’s own glorious fruit.

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However,  a few of these more precious thoughts have kept me pondering in deeper waters over why we celebrate at all, the meaning behind the traditions we may choose to keep and what happens when there’s no one there to observe them with you.

 I sat with my husband that night, so grateful for the space he gave me to spill  the words, thoughts and tears  all running together into his lap. Together we worked to sort them into little piles of “truth and not-truth” and then scraped away what didn’t belong.

What’s left is the realization that no matter how we choose to celebrate or mark this time of year– with advent wreaths, Christmas trees, festivities, choir specials, caroling, whatever; no matter what we choose to include…

if  the celebration is not anchored in the heart of Christmas,
it’s meaningless.

What can it mean otherwise?  Why put up a tree, light a candle, set a creche or hang a dang thing? It struck deep; if what we do isn’t anchored to the heart of Christmas, and is instead tied to superficial things or even the presence of others, we’ll eventually find ourselves adrift and slightly lost on dark waters when (not if) things change.

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 What is this heart of Christmas? What are we anchoring ourselves to?  Honestly, I missed it for years. I think it’s what most perplexes the unbelieving (and yet somehow still celebrating) world around us.

Manger from Above

God gives us the answer through the answer He’s been giving ever since that night when, with no room in the Inn, the virgin Mary gave birth to her firstborn Son with Joseph by her side.  Wrapping him in swaddling clothes they placed Him in the manger and named Him “Jesus”.

Yet, even this is not the heart of Christmas.

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Certainly  it’s a most miraculous part of it, but the fact is,  Jesus, the Son of God, was only one of maybe hundreds…or thousands of babies born that night.

Fact is, the heart of Christmas was already beating before that night and had been since the beginning of time.  God,  the heart of Christmas,  then summoned the angels, the shepherds and the wise men,  just as He summons us now to “come and see” but not to stay there.. no:

“Go and tell.”

Go and tell…not only how this miraculous, God-sparked, angel-announced and star-marked baby has been born, but go and tell how, “unto us is born this day a SAVIOR who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2)

A Savior.

 The heart of Christmas is anchored in the WHY of His coming ,which was not simply to be born so miraculously, so magnificently…but to die, saving those who believe and bridging the gap between us and God.

The heart of Christmas is found anchored three days past His sacrifice at the cross….at the stone-rolled-away, He-is-not-here, He has risen, empty tomb

THIS is why we celebrate Christmas.
THIS is why we can have hope .

 No matter what else is going on.

Christ Born In You

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This GLORIOUS truth, their obedience and telling is why we know, can and must still tell today. Anchored in the heart of Christmas, we must consistently live and tell the whole story…the story of His coming, the story of WHY He came and what He did…and then, most importantly, we must live believing and telling of how Jesus is coming again.

Oh come to the manger and let us adore Him, Emmanuel–God with us. Pause,  remember and celebrate His life on earth but don’t stay there—that’s only half way home.

Because Jesus didn’t come for a season. Oh no. He came for all eternity and that is why we can celebrate. We are a people who once walked in darkness, who’ve now seen this Great Light.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King!

Expectantly,Lorretta signature