Last night my youngest daughter was telling me about the plan for the weekend. In a quick recap of how it will be going down, she shared all the details.
“My friend is picking me up after school, then we are going over here, then I will spend the night, then dad will pick me up at _____ the next day. Then we go to _______ and then ______ and then church and then we will end up back over here. Then, Sunday……….”
Right after she told me, I paused. I knew within 30 seconds I had retained nothing but the big picture. I had to ask her to repeat the entire thing again. Then this morning, I reiterated it back to her to make sure I understood and finally remembered all the details. I had it wrong in several places.
I turned to my dear one in the car when dropping her off at school and said, “You know my brain didn’t always used to be this way, right?” She said…..”um…..not really.” I was struck. Struck to the core. She was just being honest. She was not being unkind.
I said, “Don’t you remember? I used to have a sharp mind. I still do. Just not with short term memory type stuff and lots of details.”
My son then chimed in and said “I do! I remember.” That was good – to know that some of my children know and remember that I didn’t used to have to ask them to repeat themselves all the time. But it still made me so very sad.
See, the root of concern for me is not that I want my kids to think I am brilliant, or ever was. It’s that it makes me feel that my poor youngest may feel even MORE so like she’s not paid attention to, because even her own mom “doesn’t listen.”
Communication is important, and it helps, but there’s only so much we can TELL our kids when it comes to something like this. There’s still always that dynamic at play where no matter what we SAY, they still FEEL a certain way. Add into the mix that she’s the youngest, and that’s not a good feeling. The youngest tends to feel left out. The youngest tends not to feel heard. The youngest gets lost in the mix of memories that are talked about from when she wasn’t there yet.
But the youngest is blessed in another way that possibly the older ones don’t experience as much. She is cared for by many. She didn’t have to experience the trial and error of first time parenting. She’s not stuck in the middle. She was protected and nurtured (nursed and mom stayed home longer) for a much longer time.
As a parent, we want our kids to have the benefit of having all the blessing we can provide. But it’s really up to God to do that for them in their lives. Not me. And my faulty memory and the feelings and insecurities that I can easily discern will come about in my kids in some ways because of it, are real – no doubt about that. But it’s also a very real reminder for my children not to rely upon mom for that stuff. Not to rely upon mom for significance, purpose, even security.
THAT is hard for a parent to turn all the way over to God, friends. That is HARD.
But they are not mine ~ they are His. They have graciously been given to me on loan, but He is still their ultimate and primary parent. I am supposed to care for them and I get the privilege of doing so.
But I was never meant to replace HIM.
May God use the fact that my brain doesn’t work well to help my youngest lean all the more into Him to fill that hole that must be there in her heart and mind. When she doesn’t understand (fully) that mom is not trying to frustrate her, that she IS truly cared for, that mom wants to pay attention to every last detail that matters in her sweet life, may He give her an understanding of HIM that is far more rewarding than any she could have of mama.
I want to understand her. But I can’t fix all that is wrong in the world for her. She doesn’t complain, but this daughter tends to internalize things too. I pray that the Lord will draw out anything ugly that she happens to stuff down. That He will draw it out and refill her with even more of Him.
She loves her Jesus. For that, I am so grateful. He’s her One, True Parent. He is the ONE.
As a parent…..less of me, more of Him is hard to swallow. We want to be everything to our kids. We forget to remember, we are adoptive parents.
They are not mine. They are HIS.
My kids may feel like something that matters to them is lost on their own mama from time to time. BUT, nothing is ever lost on their One, True Father.
Least of all, one of His little ones.
“Your Father in heaven is not willing that any one of these little ones should be lost.” (Matthew 18:14)