When I had my daughter, I was a month away from 30 years of age. And she popped out 2 weeks late. And the labor wasn’t half bad—I had an epidural. And my family popped in the room minutes after she was born…And life was a total party!
I was finally a mom.
When I was 5 years of age, I remember my dream vividly. I was on a boat at Canyon Lake (in Arizona), and I pulled into a cove and saw THEM. A cove stuffed full of babies! And they were all mine. And I just KNEW that my future would include a life JUST like this.
And then at 21 years of age I was told, after many tests and a MRI that I had what was called, back then, a brain tumor. Now, 16 years later, they define it as a pituitary tumor at the base of your brain. But, back then, that’s how they defined it.
And I was told the absolutely most devastating news in the world…Children would be highly unlikely in my future.
And it proved very, very true for the first 5 years of our marriage. They were our dream but not our reality.
Then one day, God changed our reality and GAVE us our dream—Adelyne Marguerite!
And she popped out 2 weeks late, 8 and ½ pounds, healthy and perfect. And perfect she remained until 3 and ½ years of age.
In fact, she was such a divine angel that for the first 3 and ½ years of her life, I gave myself a bruise from so much back-patting!
I was CERTAIN that I should write a book on parenting. I just knew tours and speaking engagements were in my future.
I WAS the perfect mom! I had raised the perfect child. And all should learn from me.
Did I mention that then she turned 3 and ½? Yep. And that is when all h-e-double hockey sticks broke loose.
Her perfection—my perfection—yep! They were all tossed out the window. And I had to relearn something vitally important.
I was a mom…imperfect. Flawed.
But—it gave me a chance to learn something else, too…grace and forgiveness.
Those were for me. And I needed to learn those to apply them for Adelyne.
Oh, and I read a genius book, one that actually should be written by someone qualified to write such a book, called Positive Discipline by Dr. Jane Nelsen. Instead of learning a lot from me—I learned a lot from her.
Many days I failed in such horrendous ways that I cried. My daughter cried. I berated myself. I berated her. This parenting thing was WAY harder than I imagined.
My dream, at 5 years of age, showed only swaddled babies all smelling of baby powder and cute and cuddly. This reality thing was way tougher than I ever imagined.
But, by something that can only be defined as the grace of God, I got my act together.
I grew up.
And I took the time to pause and think and think and pause. How could I be a kick-awesome mom?
This is what I learned:
1. I could not expect perfection from me—or from Adelyne, but I could expect mercy and grace and forgiveness.
2. I should not expect perfection from me—or from Adelyne. But I should expect patience and endurance.
3. I would not expect perfection from me—or from Adelyne. But I would expect lots of “I love you” sentiments shared with smothering hugs.
And I especially learned that intimidating my daughter did not work but directing my daughter was spot-on gold. Directing and encouraging. Two gold nuggets to put in the bank!
Direction and Discipline. You better believe it. They are daily routines in our home. They’re called, raising your child right—teaching them that there is a wrong way and a right way to do something. And you give them boundaries because you care.
But it’s the way that we deliver the discipline that makes all the difference in the world.
One day one of my dad’s student’s told him, “My parents don’t love me.” And my dad responded, “Why do you say that?” And the student replied, “If they loved me, they would discipline me. They let me do whatever I want.”
So, moms, don’t ever think that you’re being a kick-awesome momma by letting your children run wild and free. They want to know that you care what they do and have concern that they will be all right. Discipline is not totalitarianism—it’s a form of love and direction so that they will grow safe and sound and confident that they are cared for and loved.
My daughter. She’s now 7. And she’s stubborn and independent. She brilliant and kind.
She doesn’t wear wings—and sometimes she pushes my buttons. But she is my best friend. She is my best daughter (Shhh….don’t tell Belly Josephine, by the time she pops out, my heart will have room for 2 best daughters). And she is my sunshine.
Daily I learn from her, and she from me. And together we learn to be kick-awesome…
I learn to be a kick-awesome momma. And she learns to be a kick-awesome kid.
A kid that is free to be a kid, to run, jump, play, fall down, and make mistakes. But a kid that also learns that there are limits to life. She is not free to be rude or unkind. She is not free to do as she pleases. And she is not free to treat others poorly.
She is a kid that is guided and directed to be independent yet have a steadfast. And that would be God. That would be her daddy. That would be me, her mommy. And that would be her family.
And, I, the kick-awesome mom, I am reminded that DAILY I must get up, put my best foot forward, try hard to be patient. Try hard to be kind. Try hard to be encouraging and try hard to be just. And, in the middle of each and every one of those to give her love, encouragement, hugs, and a whole lotta, “I am so thankful you are my daughter!”
Even on the days when I wish she would hide in her bedroom. After all, I remember my life before Adelyne-and I know I would never want to go back!
She is my dream. And I’ll work hard each day so that her reality will lead her to her dreams, too!
5 Rules I Live by:
1. God made dirt, and dirt don’t hurt!
2. Sugar is occasionally a GREAT thing.
3. Your child will not remember the dirty dishes, but she will remember if you stopped and played.
4. Encourage their imaginations while they are little. Reality will hit them soon enough.
5. Take time to hug and cuddle your child as much as you can now—as she grows, those will become far more infrequent and you’ll miss the days of yore!
Here is a kick-awesome blog for daddies/parents of all kinds: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matt-walsh/an-uncensored-true-tale-of-parenting_b_4059358.html
Now, here is an absolutely HILARIOUS test that all should check out: Are you qualified to be a parent? Enjoy: http://fb-troublemakers.com/1are-you-ready-to-have-kids-after-you-read-this-maybe-not-1513/
Here is a fabulous blog posting that puts it far better than I ever could on how to raise your kids right: http://assemblethemins.blogspot.com/2013/10/sometimes-crappy-parenting-is-best.html