Thursday, November 16, 2017

Seeing from the Other Side

Yesterday a friend asked me if I have thought about writing another book.
And the truth is, I have.
Actually, last summer when I had the night shift driving home from Colorado - and everyone else in the van was sleeping - I came up with the title, sub-title, and eleven chapters.
I haven't taken it any farther than a memo on my phone, though.

But due to recent events, and things I've almost said, I'm thinking maybe I ought to get writing.

The thing is, my kids are getting close to being grown up.
They're 21, 19, and 17 now.
The struggles I had with them when they were small don't weigh heavy on my heart and mind anymore. (We've moved on to other struggles!) And as God has been growing them up, He's also been maturing me - and helping me differentiate between things that matter, and things that don't.
In fact, it has come to the point where I almost told a young mother, "This, too, shall pass."
Another time I almost said to parents of a new-born, "You'll make it. Just nap when he naps."
Those are two of the statements which made me cringe during my kids' younger years - every time someone spewed said them to me.
But, but, now that I'm on the other side, I know they're true statements. Having gone through what those young parents are presently going through, I now know the hard times won't last - and the little-ness of their little treasures won't, either. And, like all the grown-women and grandma's who have gone before me, I am eager to encourage them with sage advice and words of wisdom. Which I am certain will alleviate their distress and help them enjoy the moment.
The good thing
The problem is
No, it's definitely a good thing.
The good thing is, before those words came out of my mouth I remembered how they sounded to me when I was an irritable mother in the midst of the struggle. Although now I trust the words were always spoken with good intent - and in accuracy from hind-sight - at the time they did little to nothing to encourage me. Rather, I fell deeper into my pit of mommy-guilt because I wasn't enjoying.every.moment. And I seemed always to feel just a little more of a failure each time someone implied (Unintentionally, I'm sure.) that they made it through whatever I was facing, so I ought to buck-up and face it, too.
I didn't need sage advice and words of wisdom when I was an irritable mother. I mean, maybe later they would have been good to hear. But what I really needed first was for somebody (preferably one of these "older" moms who had been there) to tell me that what I was going through really was hard. That it was OK for me to feel overwhelmed. I needed her to tell me she had cried, too, and sometimes she didn't want to be a mommy anymore, either. My heart was longing for her to validate me, and to assure me that I wasn't a failure. Oh, if she would put her arms around me and pray, and affirm that God was still crazy in love with me - even when I was a slobbery mess.
Yes, those kinds of words would have been so much more valuable to me than the advice to "enjoy them now" because "they're only young once" and "this, too, shall pass."
I mean, I'm seeing the younger years from the other side now, and I know those words are true. But when I was an irritable mother, those words didn't offer the grace I needed.

So that's why I'm thinking maybe some day I'll write,
"When I was an Irritable Mother: A Grandma's Guide to Giving Grace".
What do you think?


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