Saturday, March 01, 2008

Is it Inevitable?

Bedtime last night was sweet, and it made me wonder if it is inevitable that one day my kids will be “too grown up” for their mother’s love. Is there something automatic about adolescence that makes a kid not want their mom to give them time and affection? Does it have to be???

Because I would be happy to continue nights like last night for a very long time.
I started in Joshua’s room. He was tired and hoped he wouldn’t have trouble falling asleep like he did the night before. We talked for a minute about going to sleep and agreed on a strategy for how to get the rest we need. (I told him I always pray when I am having trouble sleeping. For a minute I thought, He’s probably going to think, "Man, she prays about everything!" Then I figured – Well, I do pray about everything. And I want him to know it!) I sang to Joshua and rubbed his hair, then kissed him goodnight. As I was leaving his room we spoke our “I love you”s and went through our usual banter about who rocks.
Joshua said, “You rock!”
I replied, “You rock more!”
He came back with, “I know I rock, but you rock more than I do.”
I said, “You rock more than I ever will!”
And so it goes every night. Even if we have had some rough times getting ready for bed, we always end the night with a song, I love you, and You rock!

Then I moved to Matthew’s room. I sang a song, as usual, then Matthew rolled over onto his tummy and was raising his arm up behind him, looking as if he were grasping for something. He looked very awkward in this position and I kept asking what he was doing. Since his face was in his pillow, I was having a hard time understanding him and I leaned closer to hear him better. It was then I heard him say, "I want to hug you." I thought, Then why don't you roll over on your back so it will be easier, but instead of voicing my thoughts, I leaned closer still so he could wrap his arm around my neck.
And as I kneeled by Matthew's bed, held closely by his arm, I prayed for him. I knew he was also praying for me (You may read the story behind these prayers here, if you wish.) and I simply loved him in that moment. After a couple minutes we both said, "Amen," I kissed Matthew, and said goodnight.

Finally, it was Elizabeth's turn. We usually tease each other a little before I sing her song, and last night was no different. So we giggled and then I sang. It was while I was singing that I began to wonder if it is inevitable that a teenager doesn't want her mom around.
I looked at Elizabeth, almost 12 years old, and recalled a conversation we had recently. I had been in her school that day to listen to kids practice oral presentations. Elizabeth's teacher asked which group I wanted to start with and Elizabeth ran over to me saying, "Mine!" Her teacher chuckled and said something to the effect of, "Enjoy that while it lasts!"
That night as I was saying goodnight to her, Elizabeth asked me, "Mom, why do some kids not want their parents to be with them?" I smiled at her and, instead of listing the reasons I thought other teens would give - thereby planting ideas in her head, I just said, "I have no idea." Elizabeth went on to share her own ideas and told me she thought I was a good mom, and always wants me to be around.

I don't imagine Elizabeth is going to be calling me from college when she goes to bed, asking me to sing her a song. I'll worry about her if she does!
But I wonder, I hope, I even pray my girl and my boys will never get "too big" for their mother's love.

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luvmy4sons said...

What a beautiful picture you painted. I remember singing to my boys and rocking them before they went to sleep. They never out grow the love, I have found, but it does take on different forms. As they become men and they become sexually aware they get a little more uncomfortable about hugs. I have always wanted to respect that. So I don't get them as much...and the ones I get are less intense. But we still say I love you each night. Some nights I go into the 16 and 18 year old's room and give them kisses on the forehead. They don't complain but I don't get, "Can I have a hug too?" It is simply different. God prepares your heart naturally and I know that one day the hugs will come back stronger than they are right now. For everything there is a season, right? You sound like a great mom!

freetofly said...

Karen, what a lovely family you have! What an awesome mother you are to have raised such fine and loving children!

I hate to go and pluck my one string banjo, but, I have to say, I wish I had read the 5 Love Languages for Teens 2 years or even 3 years ago. It was very clear early on in the book, what we needed to work on in our house. He (the author Gary Chapman) does such a tremendous job of helping us understand 1) what the 5 love languages are & 2) why when they get to adolesence, they seem to want that love in a diff format (not diff language, diff format). I'm really over simplifying it, but, I DOOOO encourage you to check it out! I HOPE to get a post out in the coming week about what the info loooked like in our family, so others might see the benefit...

You do rock, Karen!


momteacherfriend said...

You know what?
I would not be surprised one little bit if on her first night away to college she calls and asks for a song.

kreed said...

Sometimes I can find bedtime so tedious...thank you for pointing out the sweet beauty in it.

And not all kids go through that "no parents around, please" phase- sounds like you are well on your way to getting around it with Elizabeth. That is awesome!

3 boys club said...

I always think about Mary, Jesus' mother who "Treasured up all these things in her heart." I have a book called "Mary's treasure box" and she tells the Christmas story to her grand-daughter many years after Jesus dies on the cross. Anyways, I am always looking for the little moments to treasure in my heart. Last night was one of them for me. I put my kindergartner to bed and said prayers and then he rolled over and asked me to rub his back gently. Then he said "no, rub my head like you usually do." I just smiled and obliged and thanked God silently for the moment.

Happyhome said...

OK, that one made me cry!