Saturday, August 9, 2014

Mothers, Never Doubt Your Worth or Importance

Before you begin reading, please know that I have permission from my darling daughter to share our personal story with all of you. She told me she feels our story could be helpful to all children and their mothers. All I can say is WOW, I'm a blessed lady to have such a wonderful and thoughtful daughter! :)

Last night, I had such an interesting experience. It all began when I took my daughter to the store to buy contact solution for her new contacts. She's so happy she doesn't have to wear glasses anymore! Three cheers for good vision! (Seriously, never take good vision for granted. Ever.) My daughter brought along the last of her birthday money to purchase a few treats. She wasn't too happy I made her leave her iPod at home, but I wanted us to actually talk to each other in the car. I must say, it was a very smart move on my part. We talked, chatted and laughed the entire time! We were gone for about an hour and had a lovely time bonding together.

When we got home, we stayed in the kitchen so she could nibble a few bites of her treats. (By the way, don't eat a few Reese's Pieces followed by a Junior Mint, otherwise your mouth will think it's eating soap! My daughter learned that the hard way. Ha ha.) We sat next to each other at our beautiful kitchen table (that I waited 15 years and nine months to purchase!) and continued happily chatting. I began looking through the mail she picked up for me before we left for the store. All of a sudden, I got really excited when I saw an advertisement for adult ballet classes in one of those coupon magazines.

You see, I love ballet! I greatly enjoy watching ballet, and I love doing ballet myself—even though I only started really learning it as an adult. I've been wishing I could take ballet classes again, ever since we moved from Colorado six years ago. My family knows how much I adore ballet. I even purchased the New York City Ballet's workout dvds a few years ago. It's a great workout!

I exclaimed to my daughter, "Ooh! There's an adult ballet class at that studio! I've been wishing for an adult ballet class nearby! I wonder how much it costs! I'll have to check it out online."

My daughter instantly said, "Mom, I remember when you used to go to ballet all the time when we lived in Colorado. ________ [her older brother] and I used to cry at the window every night when you left." Surprised, I said, "You did?" With tears in her eyes, she said, "Yes. we cried every time you left." I was surprised at her words because while I remembered my children didn't really like that I went to ballet two nights a week, I didn't remember that they cried at the window! SO sad face. :(

Her recollection of that time made me feel so badly! I mean, I probably waited until 8:30 p.m. to leave, and Greg stayed home and put the kids to bed right after I left. And our kids have a fantastic relationship with Greg, he is an excellent father! Not to mention, I was a complete stay-at-home mom, just like I am today. I have always been a 100% stay-at-home mom. Okay, I actually calculated and combined the hours/days I've spent away from my children, and figured out that I've been there for my children 99.4% of their lives—at least when they weren't at school. (*I previously listed my time with my children at 95%, but decided to see what the number—me being away from my children—actually was, and it was way too high.)

I said to my sweet daughter, "Oh, ______! Give me a hug! I'm so sorry I made you feel badly!" She hugged me and then she really began to cry. Stunned, I said, "______, is there anything I can do for you? Is there anything I can say that would make you feel better?" Her words shocked me, "Don't go to ballet again. Just stay home, Mom." I said, "So, is it only ballet that you don't want me to leave for, or do you not like it when I leave for other things too?" Crying, she said, "I wish you'd never leave, Mom. I just want you to be home with me all the time!" I was truly surprised beyond belief.

We talked some more and she calmed down. She expressed that she understands her dad needs to go to work to support our family, and that's okay. But she surprised me again when she conveyed how she would rather that Greg and I didn't leave her and her brothers home alone on date-nights, etc. I asked her if something bad has happened to her that she needs to talk about. She assured me that everything is okay/fine, and I believe her. She said she understands when I need to go grocery shopping or to the doctor, etc., and that it's okay for her dad to be home with her when I'm gone doing those things.

I said, "So, how is it okay that you get to leave me every day when you go to school?" I was kind-of joking, but she strongly replied, "Well, you make me go to school!" I said, "Hey, it's either that or home school, and we've talked about this before. You don't want to have me as your teacher, so you go to public school." She instantly responded, "I know, and I want to keep going to school because I get to see my friends every day!" She also spends time with her friends outside of school, and I'm very glad for that.

My darling daughter and I concluded that it's best if I'm home with her as much as possible, which is so not hard for me to do. :) Plus, she knows that anytime I run errands, she is more than welcome to come with me. :)

What I've come to understand about my children from this discussion is, if they're given the choice whether to stay home alone (because they're legally old enough to do so) or come with me, they're totally and completely fine to make the choice to stay home alone. :) But they don't enjoy me leaving them home on a regularly-scheduled basis for activities they deem as "Mom doesn't want to spend time with me because she would rather leave home and do something else."

I think what it all comes down to is this: Children need to know that their mothers are absolutely there for them, 100%. Children want to be able to do whatever activities they choose, but they want to be able to see their mothers out of the corner of their eyes, smiling and cheering them on. Mothers are their children's safe place! Then, when children are ready (and every child is different), they'll gradually be able to let go. Yet a child's "invisible cord" is always attached to their mother, no matter how much physical distance is put between them. I know this is true because I've experienced it with my own dear mother. :) And now I have another strong example from my daughter that matches how I felt during my growing-up years.

This experience has completely renewed my motherly efforts. For a little while now, I've felt a smidgen less important in my children's lives. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I have one teenager and two pre-teens. If a catastrophe happened, my children could be totally self-sufficient...they don't need me in the ways they used to. In terms of having older children, I've felt that I could be replaceable—but nothing could be further from the truth! My children are definitely expressing their independence and growth (I'm so happy to watch them progress and grow!), but again, they need to know that I'm absolutely there for them whenever they need me. And I strongly believe all children have very similar feelings to my children.

Yes, Mothers, never doubt your worth or importance, for you are more valuable to your children than you could ever fully understand!

Now, I'm going to finish watching The Wizard of Oz with my sassy, sweet, cherished daughter. There is truly no place like home!

I snapped this photo while watching our new Blu-Ray disc! As a young girl, this scene was always my favorite part of The Wizard of Oz!

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