Sometimes it catches me off guard.
I'm speaking of the changes that come in one's emotional state once one passes a certain age.
I'm 53 and I still have 7 children at home. My oldest two are 16 and my youngest two are 10. So, I live with 7 children all born within a 6 year time span. No twins. (I guess God thought that would make it too easy.)
Seven children to feed. Seven children to clothe (which includes the procuring of the garments, then the maintenance, cleaning, and locating of said garments.) Seven children to educate (thank you, thank you, thank you Christ Classical Academy!) Seven children to train.
Those first three, the feeding, clothing, and educating have been challenging - yet a challenge I enthusiastically embrace and for the most part enjoy.
Success in feeding is measurable. They gain weight and they grow taller. They stay healthy (except for that one appendix), they don't get cavities, and they move their bowels daily. (That last one's for you, MOM. See..I was listening!)
Clothing them is fun. Up to about age 12. And I know it's probably a genetic flaw, but I really enjoy doing laundry.
Educating them....Again, I love that part. For the first time in 23 years all of my children are in school - and I'm jealous of their teachers. I miss homeschooling terribly. But I absolutely love the education they are getting. (I just wish it could be done in 2-3 days a week, or even 5 half-days....But I greatly Digress.)
It's the training part that has always kept me on Xanax. (And before there was Xanax, there was chocolate and screaming, and the occasional purse-throwing - sorry, Shep! I still have nightmares about that, I really do.)
Training a child is such a slow process. It's invisible really. You use your Bible. You make cute charts. You lecture. You praise. You role model. You role play. And still ..... They forget. Or worse.
Today when the kids left for school, I went into the dining room and saw this:
Andrew had swept, but forgotten to pick up the pile. He's done this WAY TOO MANY times.
Ten years ago I would have either (a) left it there to show him later, accompanied by an appropriate punishment, (b) made him do it over, along with several more rooms for "practice", or (c) gone and picked him up from school and brought him home to Finish The Job!.
But today when I saw it - - I laughed. Then I envisioned him sweeping the floor while looking at the pictures on the wall, or the birds outside, or anything but what he was doing. And I thought about his cute, sheepish smile. Then I laughed again and felt that warm, happy feeling of motherhood that accompanies me now that I know how fast the time will come when I have no one to train - - - and no crumbs on the floor (and no sticks! Do not ask me how sticks got in the breakfast pile of crumbs. I did not serve scrambled eggs with a side of sticks!)
Then I did the natural thing and got my camera, laid on the floor to get a good angle, and took a picture of it. And then I swept up the pile and got on with my day.
I'm not saying a mom should overlook poorly done work. (I'm not insane....just mellow.) I still want children who are thorough and diligent and have a good work ethic.
I just know there's plenty of time for that. And I know it comes slowly, but surely.
I'll make a mental note to try and check on him tonight when he sweeps again - and I'll either tell him how much I appreciate his doing a thorough job, or I'll remind him (yet again) to pick up the pile.
And I'll pray for him. And for me. That we will both do our work heartily, as unto the Lord and not unto men. It is the Lord Christ whom we serve. Our reward will be in Heaven - and it will not be based on how clean our floors were.
(reminder to my older children....The ones who did not have a Mellow Mother)
God is Sovereign. You had exactly the mother you needed at the time you were growing up. He must've known you needed the uptight, nit-picking, obsessive- yet loving, Only-trying-to-do-her-best Mama that you had. And No! You can't move back home now that I'm senile.)