For as long as I can remember, being a wife and mother was always top of my list of what I wanted to do when I grew up. I knew in my heart of hearts in late elementary school that I would one day marry Doug. I also believed with all that I am that we would have a large family…six was the number in my head for how many children I wanted. God blessed me by gifting me my dream man in Dougie. Then, he poured even more goodness into my life with the birth of each of our children. We ended up having four children (not six), but now that they’re married we have eight kids. Eight adult children. It makes me smile to just say it!
I messed up so many times as a mom of four kids under three years old and the many years after that. I yelled too much. Depending on the day…or the minute…I expected too much or expected too little. I fed them far more junk than I should have. I did not spend enough time just focused on them. Any moms feeling it?
I also did some things right! Most of their growing up years, we kept them involved in a Bible-teaching, Christ-following church. I prayed for them constantly. I talked to them…often and about literally anything! We welcomed their friends into our home and family. They experienced the gentle love of a Mommy and the tough love of a Mother.
While I messed things up on a regular basis, I hope the things they remember most are the times I just held them or prayed with them or laughed with them or cried with them. My fondest memories of the teen years are each of them and sometimes all of them curled up in my big mountain of a bed just chatting. I miss all the stages of their growing up, but I must say I probably miss those last few years they were home the most!
Now, here we are! Our youngest will soon be the age I was when I gave birth to him. One daughter and her husband. Three sons and their wives. Five grand-treasures. They’ve all been married now for five (or getting close to five) years. You’d think I’d have this mothering adult children thing figured out! Alas, I do not!
You don’t just stop being Momma when they grow up and move out. But goodness! No one ever shared with me the many joys and challenges that this stage would bring. Moving “away” from home. Growing their families. Working to reach new goals. Facing challenges out “on their own.” There should be a New Momma of Adult Children Handbook! There’s not (that I know of). So, it’s a live and learn time of life for me and for them.
From being their biggest cheerleader to stepping back into the role of caregiver as needed during medical issues or other challenges to gently reminding them who they are and whose they are…I will always be their Momma. Sometimes, it feels like walking on a tight rope…just trying to stay balanced and in-line. So, in a sense, it’s similar to when they were growing up. Don’t say too much. Don’t say too little. Don’t help too much. Don’t help too little. Don’t expect too much. Don’t expect too little.
So how do I continue to mother even when my kids are all grown up?
First and foremost, remember or remind myself often that THIS is what I prayed for all those years. When I’m overwhelmed that one lives far away and I only see him every few months…remember I prayed for him to live independently and to follow God’s path for his life. When I don’t agree with one of their spouses…remember I prayed for them to meet the husband/wives that loved God and chased after God…that doesn’t mean I’ll always like their ways. When they don’t do things the way we did them…remember I prayed for them to find their way to do life the way God would have them to.
As I remember those things, I hope to keep the talking going. I need to be better about this, but talking to each of them regularly is important. Growing up they knew they could talk to me about anything. Now, most of those types of talks should be done with their spouses. But hopefully, they still know they can call me, text me, or stop by to see me any time! My arms and ears are always open.
Last but certainly not least, I still pray! I pray for wisdom to be a Momma to my grown kiddos. And, I pray for them…many of the same prayers I’ve prayed for years and new prayers as they reach new stages and phases of life.
If you are in or about to enter this fabulous phase of motherhood, cherish the memories, relish in the possibilities of the times ahead, and keep praying!