Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Significant Decade

My oldest child turned ten today.

Double digits. A decade.

My little buddy, getting less little all the time. He uses big words, has big dreams...and plans...and thoughts.

And yet, there's still enough littleness that once in a while I can sneak in a smile, savor whatever is left of that littleness just a little longer.


We were at tithing settlement on Sunday. Bishop asked if the children knew why we were there.

Big answer from #1:
"To declare whether we are full tithepayers."

In the same breath came the answer from my still-a-little-little guy:
"...and to get candy."

(Fortunately, I had my journal with me, so I wrote that down right on the spot.)

It's a day when I find myself reflecting on the last decade of my life. How my life changed ten years ago! How I feel I have changed over the past ten years!

Motherhood was not something that came naturally to me. At all. I still remember vividly the time my husband flat-out said I was more suited to the boardroom than to motherhood (gee thanks, dear!). But really, in a way, he's right . (Isn't it ironic that sometimes it's the women who would make amazing mothers naturally who either find themselves single or married and unable to have children?) I think being a mom was one way the Lord could stretch and test me the most intensely. But, of course, these little people have blessed and enriched my life immensely.

It has been interesting the last while to look back on the past decade of my life and to feel that maybe, just maybe, I've made some progress. There were times early on (and actually, for many years) when I wondered if the children would have been better off with someone better, someone for whom mothering came more naturally, someone with strengths where I am weak. (Truth be told, sometimes I still catch myself feeling that way.) But when I'm honest with myself, I can feel that God really is more patient with me than I am with myself.

In fact, when I am seeing clearly, when I'm open to the Spirit, I accept that progress often (usually?) is measured in decades, sometimes even generations. I fight that reality. I would rather have progress be much quicker.

But, as a good friend of ours often says: Things Take Time. That "slow" progress (what's a decade to God, really?) is part of mortality. (Still...fighting...that...reality....)

Thank heaven for an Atonement. I do believe the Savior is helping me become a better mother, a better person.

Here's to hoping the next decade is better than the last. And that applies to much more than just the growth I need as a mother. The list of things I am working on in my life is very long at the moment.

But the list of ways the Lord has delivered me from myself -- the list of other decades of progress (for whatever reason, a decade often seems to be the measure of miracles in my life) -- is getting longer, too. Someday I may write about more of those miracles.

But today, I'm celebrating this decade.

Happy birthday, JJ!


Ginny said...

i could totally relate when you talked about wondering if your kids would be better off with someone more...motherly. i think every mother has felt that (at least i hope i'm not in the minority!)

i also loved how you followed it up. thanks.

it's crazy how a decade goes by so fast and can bring so much change. happy birthday big/little man!!!

Papa D said...

Great post - but it makes me feel OLD, since our 5th child is now 10 1/2.

Thanks for the nostalgia; thanks a lot (*sticks out tongue*) for the reminder of my age.

m_and_m said...

Ginny, crazy indeed!

Ray, you really aren't that much older than I am...I just got a later start than you did. :) My life doesn't really reveal my age.

Kristin said...

I don't know you (I don't think). Ginny sent me here after reading a post of mine. Thanks to her and you! This is a beautiful post and just what I needed to hear. My kids aren't quite as old. My oldest is 2. Just the other day I was considering (seriously in the moment, but not really seriously) hiring a nanny and going back to work because I feel like such a bad influence on my little one. Your post gives me hope and perspective. Thanks!

m_and_m said...

I'm grateful this was helpful. I have been amazed at what a difference a few years makes. Hang in there -- being a mom is hard, hard work, and it's not just about the children's growth, that's for sure!