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Becoming A Parent

My life is changing…

Sometimes we get to choose change and other times we do not. I love being a mom. I am forever grateful for the ways marriage and children have changed me, but at times it is also hard.

I am entering this week knowing that in the course of five days my life will forever be altered and there are no guarantees waiting for me about a final outcome. Today there is a choice —will I be present? If I am present, the experience will have something to teach me.

When I leave South Africa it will be knowing that this is now our daughter’s home. From this point forward when I come to see her, I will be a visitor, a guest in her chosen place of creating a home.

The day after I return home, I will stand jet-lagged and blurry-eyed in the morning and wave goodbye to our other daughter as she drives away from her childhood home with her earthly possessions to create a home on the West Coast.

Okay just writing about this I’m having to use my sleeve to wipe my leaking eyes. But this is real. This is the experience. This is not a reality TV show, it is a very real example of what being a parent is all about—can we/will we let go? Again and again?

Honestly… I want to plead a case for Minnesota being home (really tough with all the winter records we set).

I want to not feel this gripping in my chest when I think of everyday aspects of life I miss sharing with them both. Let’s face it, electronics are no substitute for real touch in relationships.

Breathing in, breathing out…

Hmmmm, what is the experience seeking to teach me? I do not have a conclusive answer to my own question, though I wish I was through this one and knew the other side already.  What I do know so far about letting go is this—when we have children we become parents, but the becoming never ends.

The root of the word become is German “bekommen” and it means, “to get, to receive.”

Our becoming parents never ends if we risk being present to who are children are. We “get” or “receive something” from every choice that is made. Good and bad, each choice ushers us into an experience.

What is the experience seeking to teach me?

Right now on this side of the experience what I see are two things (I reserve the right to add to this list—remember it is a process).

  1. Grief not acknowledged creates false images – if I pretend it doesn’t hurt, just seek to be strong for them I am denying a very real part of what it means to be their mother. Mother’s grief can be real and without being manipulative.
  2. Joy not noticed is a lost treasure – how amazing that these once vulnerable and dependent creatures are now carving pathways that are beyond what I ever imagined possible. This is their life and it is a treasure.

So this week I am hanging out with the words of one of my favorite authors, Henri Nouwen,

“Can you drink the dregs of this cup that is before you.”

The dregs of my cup hold both grief and the joy and therefore are the place where I will be nourished. My own  nourishment comes from the One whom I call my Creator.

Becoming a parent is to receive an amazing gift, but this gift, our children, are never meant to be gripped tightly, to become our source of life, or to feed our insecure egos. Gifts that are released continue to create life and new treasure to be discovered wherever they are.

Becoming a parent is a lifelong process… what is it you are “receiving” in the stage of parenting you are in?

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