“Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” – Psalms 34:8 NLT
Two scoops of Blue Bell Vanilla Ice cream topped each bowl of blackberry cobbler. The ice cream melted its way into the warmth of the cakey desert. My daughter’s homework was spread out across the table, but the family still gathered around in a circle spooning delicious yumminess bite after bite into our mouths. We shared stories from our day and laughed at some of the more comedic moments. My son’s girlfriend dropped by and joined in the gathering.
Crazy Monday. It had been filled with one event after another. When we took our break at 8:30 p.m. to enjoy the cobbler, it was a needed moment to reconnect as a family. I’ve spent much of my motherhood career at trying to keep the family connected, requesting attendance at meals, feeling defeated when activities interfered. There was a time when things flowed smoothly with togetherness- partly because we were all on the same schedule…mine.
Lately, I’ve tried a different approach. I’ve attempted to take advantage of times as they arrive. I can’t always plan ahead with the variety of schedules. (Being flexible is a new concept to me.) When I see an opportunity, I try to focus on that significant moment. It may mean turning off the computer, putting down the phone, redirecting my attention and patiently listening, persistently engaging my family. Basically, I’m wooing my family. I’m inviting them to be part of my life and asking if I can be part of theirs.
I think all along I expected this to just naturally happen, and in many ways it has. As my teens have gradually gained their independence, though I’ve realized I need to learn to see them not only as my children but also as the adults they are becoming. Their ideas, hopes, dreams, failures, and successes are important to me as mom, but they are also important to me as someone who really just enjoys being with them because they are neat people. While I will always be mom to them, I will not always be mom over them.
Without trying to make life more difficult by mandating a bunch time with my teens, I’m trying to work in the time I’ve been given. Talks while walking the dog together, turning off the radio and taking the time to listen in the car ride to ballet, wishing them a great day and praying with them at breakfast, and let’s not forget, making a special treat for a break after a busy day knowing there is still studying ahead. Each significant moment looks a little different.
The reality is, I don’t get a lot of time with my children and as they age it becomes less and less; however, the time that I do get, I want to strengthen and grow a relationship based on love and respect. A relationship that will encourage other healthy relationships within all our lives. A relationship that is more than a childhood. One working towards a lifetime.