Our Lot in Life: A Parenting Poem

Parenting is such a wonderful, yet complex adventure. I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed this week, but despite the circumstances, I know that this gift of parenting is exactly that… a gift.

While sitting back as my van was pushed through the car wash, I jotted down this poem. I’m not the best at poetry, but I hope you get the picture:

This is our lot in life, the one that we declare, To raise children in such a way that love fills up their air.

Although answers may not come, even when we seek, These times remind us children need us, especially when they are weak.

Children have a way of teaching us each and every day, To protect, guide, and open doors for their footsteps along the way.

Parenting is a task that humbles and refines, Yet, it also leads us to search for hope in between the blurred lines.

When feeling weary, worried, and worn from this world to which we roam, We simply need to remind ourselves that this is not our home.

Raising children from dusk to dawn with grace, wisdom, and love, ‘Tis the example given to us from our Father up above.

This is our lot in life, the one that we declare, To raise children in such a way that love fills up their air.

 

Blessings on your parenting journey!

Caroline

More than ADHD

His 1st art exhibit at a local community center!  (one of his many talents)
His 1st art exhibit at a local community center! (one of his many talents)

A pitiful sounding knock on the front door told me that my son was coming inside a little earlier than expected.  When questioned about the time he had outside, he told the story of being “told” to go home because he didn’t want to play the game the other kids wanted to play.  My heart sunk a little.  I know that he was probably leaving out a few details, and perhaps he was being a little aggressive, selfish, or anything else that a boy can be, but I didn’t really care.  My heart hurts when his heart is hurting.

A few minutes later he got mad at his sister for a trivial thing, erupted into tears, ran to his room, and shut the door.  We gave him his space, but eventually my husband went into his room to console him.  I’m not sure if we ever will know the full story of what happened with the other boys on the street, but obviously my son felt like an outcast.

My maternal, bear-like instincts kicked in immediately.  Truth be told, I wanted to march right across the street, ask what happened, and why my son was the only one not playing outside with them.  I didn’t though.  I stayed in and stewed a minute within myself trying to come up with the right words for him.  I eventually said, “It’s okay if you don’t want to play tag or anything else they want to play.  You don’t have to go along with what they want to do all of the time, and the next time they come over and ask if you if you want to play, it’s okay for you to say no, if that’s what you want to do.”

I don’t know if that was the right response.  It’s hard to teach a child to stick up for himself/herself in this age of “bully-hood”.  I want my children to stand up for themselves, but at the same time, I don’t want their stance to backfire and for them to be labeled.  This is not the first time he has been let down by the kids on the street.  I witnessed a few of them making fun of him and not “allowing” him to play with them.  On that day, I spoke up and said to these boys, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, please don’t say anything at all.”

I have not really ever written about the challenges we have raising a son with ADHD.  A part of me feels as though I’m betraying him a bit by even mentioning it.  Yet, there is another part of me who needs to reach out about parenting a child with it.  Prior to seeing “it” in action, I got caught up in the thinking that “every child is hyper/he’s just a boy”.  I’ve learned through first-hand experience that raising a child with ADHD is difficult.  It causes social problems, potential behavioral problems, and can affect self-esteem.

I know he can be impulsive at times, might not listen with intensity, makes friends and loses them quickly, and always seems to be one step ahead of his peers.  I also know that he gets bored with repeated play and does tend to play by himself a lot.  I’ve heard comments suggesting that he just needs to be disciplined, or he needs to act like other boys, etc.  When things like this are said, it stings a bit.  I’m not excusing any of his social or behavioral challenges because of ADHD, I’m just keenly aware that there are certain symptoms that go along with the diagnosis.  Even I find myself struggling at times with patience in having to redirect him numerous times about the same thing over and over again.

With all of that being said, I also know that he is an incredible child with an inquisitive mind, a tender heart, an artistic streak, and a will as strong as steel.  He’s a unique little guy who loves life and loves his family.  His mind is constantly creating new ways of doing things.  He can make a project out of scraps and comes up with ideas of how to use various items around the house for future pieces of artwork.  In other words, he’s a Super-Boy!

If only others would see him through my eyes, maybe he would be understood a little bit more.  I know all of the reasons why he entered protective services at the age of two-days-old.  I know his history and the history of his biological family.  I know his struggles, his insecurities, and his talents.  I know his desire to have solid friendships as well.  He will never fit into a box that others may want him to, including the box I might desire for him at times.  He is more than ADHD – so much more.

I also wonder if we could all take a look around us and see each other the way our Heavenly Father sees us.  He sees us through eyes of grace.  He knows our past, our insecurities, our struggles, our talents, and our desires.  He also knows that our past does not dictate our future, and our failures do not outweigh our successes.

Who knew the rejection of playtime outside in the middle of America would cause me to think about all of this?!?  It seems that life can throw so many parenting lessons at us, and the Lord’s wisdom abounds in these teachable moments.  It also reminds me that we need to continually build our children up.  We need to be bold enough to tell them just how incredible they are not just because they are children, but because they are diverse and talented with their own set of gifts to offer to the world.

Raising a child with ADHD presents challenges on a day-to-day basis.  It doesn’t just go away over time, and to be honest, I’m not entirely sure how it will unfold in my son’s life as he grows into adolescence.  One thing I do know is that my love of him pales in comparison to God’s love for him, and that is something I can always be sure of.

Are you parenting a child with ADHD?  If so, what are some strategies you use to increase social skills and reduce any other types of behaviors that come along?

Majesty (my attempt at a poem)

While driving the new little one to the doctor the other day, my mind started to wander a bit about the place I’m at in life.  I’m 41-years-old, and am raising very young children.  I thought about some of my friends my age who are starting to watch their children prepare for high school graduation, or drive a car, or even start their careers, and all I could think of is how my life is about half-way over and I’m just now in the beginning years of raising a family!

The realization that I will be rearing my children well into my mid-to-late 50’s is quite humbling, and a little concerning.  I get told I look young for my age, and most days I can keep up with the kids, but I cannot escape the years that have already been behind me, nor can I escape the years ahead.  I find it easy sometimes to think about what I could be doing in the last half of my life.  Preparing for retirement, traveling, down-sizing to a great little loft downtown, etc…are all things that have crossed my mind.

Just as soon as my mind starts to walk down that path of “what if”, I quickly come back to the reality of what my life is at this moment, and what the Lord has given me.  Below is little poem I jotted down after thinking all of this through.  It was laid on my heart, and although I’m not a poet or even that skilled at writing poetry, it serves the purpose of speaking out loud my contentment with the life I have.

Majesty

I’ll probably never climb a mountain or swim in the deepest sea.

I’ll never build a mansion or have my name lit up on a marquee.

I probably won’t explore a jungle or fly off into the galaxy, but the Lord, my Father, has proven Himself time and again to me.

I may not ever paint a masterpiece or solve a great mystery.

I won’t carry around many riches nor discover what the eye has yet to see.

I won’t be known for perfection and struggle at times with humility, but when I think of my Lord, my Father, how great You are, my heart screams Majesty.

Thinking of all I will not do or things that won’t happen for me, all I have to do is think of You  – Abba Father, Daddy, Lord – and my heart screams Majesty!

Confessions of a Working Mom

DREAM
DREAM

I am a mother with a full-time job outside of the home.  It is not that I’m necessarily at the office long hours of the day, but, I’m in a leadership position at my work, and often have to be available to emails and calls even if sitting on my couch.  There are expectations, decisions, and paperwork on my plate at all times.  There are new policies to be read, meetings to attend, and staff work to be approved.  I know that my work in child welfare is a ministry and I’m extremely blessed to work for a Christian agency, but I feel pulled in so many directions most of the time.  I often wonder if my work in helping other families distracts me from taking care of my own.

With this in mind, I have a confession to make:  I daydream about being a stay-at-home mother.  I imagine waking up after getting a restful long night of sleep, greeting my lovelies in the best “Snow White-Princessy” kind of voice while wearing fluffy house-shoes, and whipping up fresh made biscuits (not from a can).  I imagine sending my son off to school without the rush of madness in the morning.  I imagine my daughter attending preschool just one day per week instead of forty hours per week.

In my dreamland of non-salaried motherhood, my house is spotless (ALL of the time), the yard is sculpted to perfection, there are no laundry piles, toys are sorted by color, shape, or function, pets are always well-groomed, husband is also always well-groomed, meals are diverse and over-the-top healthy, and every sock is matched with the other.  My home looks like most of the fantastic homes on the ever-popular, yet, intimidating website Pinterest.  In my dreamland, there are lunch dates with friends, salon treatments, and a personal trainer.  There’s cycling during the day, hanging out in a coffee shop with my laptop, baking cookies with the kids, shopping trips with my daughter, play dates at the park, more church activities, and volunteering at the local hospital.

In this dream, I’m always in a good mood, never stressed, and feel constantly “in the moment” with my children and husband.  I don’t have to worry about budgets other than my own, and I don’t have to read new policies.  I don’t have to say yes or no to employees, and my focus is only on home life….

Okay, so I know that all mom’s work regardless of employment.  I know (or at least have learned vicariously) that it is difficult to stay home full-time with young children.  My friends who do not have employment outside of the home struggle with finding time for themselves, mounds of laundry, bored kids, fighting siblings, and feeling overwhelmed.

REALITY
REALITY

Motherhood is hard regardless of receiving a paycheck or not.  Motherhood is all-encompassing.  We are never really “off the clock”.  We don’t get to call in sick to our kids, or take vacation days.  We are love-givers, nutritionists, chefs, boo-boo healers, life coaches, fashion advisers, groomers, interior designers, friend creators, manicurists, pedicurists, personal bankers, and housekeepers.  We are dictionaries, spiritual advisers, encyclopedias, social skills teachers, and tutors.  We are warriors, protectors, and commanders.  We also know that we wouldn’t have it any other way.

I guess, then, that we are all the same.  Employed outside of the home or not, we all probably dream of waking up and greeting our little ones like a Disney Princess, making fresh made biscuits not from a can, and wearing matching socks.

Raising Royal Kids

My son's version of a kid wearing a crown!
My son’s version of a kid wearing a crown!

Walking by the magazine aisle in the grocery story, I noticed a headline that claimed “Raising a Royal Baby”.  The article was apparently about the expectant royal couple William and Kate.  I thought how interesting, exciting, yet difficult it would be to raise a “royal” child.

All the eyes of the world would be on you.  If your children struggled with behavioral problems or other issues, what kind of attention would that draw?  The initial thought of being someone of royalty sounds quite intriguing, but, to be under the constant scrutiny would be tough.  Parenting is a hard enough job without having the eyes of the world watching your every move.

Tonight would not have been a good “parenting through the lens of the camera” moment for me.  Busy streets, long lines, and two very hyper, and slightly defiant, children pushing every boundary possible in the store, was enough to diminish the “merry-ness” of the last-minute Christmas shopping trip.  Thoughts of “I’m gonna wring their little necks!” ran through my mind all while I was smiling through my pseudo-calm words of “If you continue this behavior, we will have to leave the store.”

Reflecting back on the magazine cover I saw, it hit me that we are all raising royal children.  As a believer in Christ the King, I know my children are His.  This means that I am raising royal children!  What a wonderful, and challenging thought!

The next time I get a little….um….frustrated with my little ones while out and about, I need to remind myself that I am raising children of the King.  Now that should humble and refine me a bit!  That should remind me of the importance of striving to always grow as a parent, to learn more about what works and doesn’t work, and to remember that I too am a child of the King.