Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Mother's Role: Not What You Think

What are your thoughts when reflecting on your mother, and on your relationship with her? Of the childhood you spent under her care? Blessed ones? Conflicted ones? A little of both?

My mother raised an ADHD child--my brother--and that colored my world quite a bit, growing up. I can't recall a single memory of her being happy. Part of it is personality type; she is introverted, reflective, fiery, perhaps a little glass-half-empty. But much of it was the daily stress of raising an ADHD personality. Disorders and dysfunctions color your world differently. Without firsthand experience, no one can understand.

But, my mother is kind and good and did her best to raise three fine children. And now that I'm forty-five, I think of her quite differently. I appreciate her efforts more and take her failings lightly. I live her realities and I wish I could have been the face of Jesus to her, all those years ago. Not a believer, she had no divine strength to draw from.

My own failings changed my perspective about my upbringing.

I also have an ADHD child, and now with Beth's arthritic condition, I have another challenge; my little girl experiences chronic pain. Not a stranger to chronic pain--daily migraines/rebound headaches--I understand how it threatens your hope and energy. But I'm mature enough to understand the reality of a sin-cursed world. My pain is minor. I'm keenly aware of this, even on the worst of days.

But Miss Beth, at 34 months old, can't understand what's happening. Her life has changed enormously and she can't comprehend why; nor does she have any idea how long this will last. This pains me as much as her diagnosis does.

When a child aches, mommy's love is like the face of Jesus. Mommy shares the pain. Though a young child can't understand what's happening to her body, she can understand grace, comfort, and love. I must be that for her, tirelessly.

With so much on my plate, I fail miserably in self-control--especially when someone loses something and my time is wasted searching. This happens far too often, with four kids around. I rant about irresponsibility and how can I do everything? Sometimes, like with Mary's AWANA book, I'm the one who misplaces something.

I'm making mistakes with my rants, with my anger, with my stress, just as my own mother did. I wonder if, at age 20 and 30, my children will feel blessed by their childhoods? Will it take them until 43 years old to come to terms with my imperfections, or will God fill them with grace and mercy for me, a sinner? Will they understand the toll of disorder?

I've added something to our mealtime prayers. I tell God in my children's hearing:  I'm not a perfect Mommy and I don't have perfect children, and may we all forgive each other in this house? May we love each other anyway, as Jesus love us?

I want the richest of relationships with them, with their spouses, with their children. I want us to be a fully functional, love-filled, grace-filled family, passing on intimate knowledge of the Savior.

I can't be the mother I want to be. I never will be, no matter how much chiseling God does on me.

When I sit with my face in my hands, wishing I could take back a rant over some silly, misplaced item, God speaks to me.

You are nothing, it's true, without Me.

- Cast your burdens on Me. 
- My plan is better than yours. 
- Entrust your children to me. 
- Know that my cross washes you clean.
- Know that my grace is sufficient for you, for them.

Draw them to the foot of the cross, where they belong. For someday, they will come face to face with their own failures. You don't bless them by being perfect. You bless them by seeing your own need for the cross, daily, and showing them their need.

I've written in this vein before about motherhood, but we all need this reminder.

A side note: Peter has been on Strattera 10 mg for over a year (a non-stimulant AD/HD drug). It helps some with the hyperactivity and takes the edge off the tic disorder and the OCD. However, it's the dose for a six-year-old child, and Peter will be ten in January. We hoped to never increase this dose. But, due to problems in Peter's relationship with Paul (stemming from too little impulse control), the doctor increased Peter's dose to 18 mg yesterday--still not enough for his weight, but enough that I saw a difference in the last 36 hours. I pray the change lasts and there are better days ahead. I can't help but wonder about the role of stress in daily arthritic disease activity. Stress affects our bodies in untold ways.

1 comment:

Sandi said...

Loved this post. there are so many things wrapped up in my own childhood and relationship with my mom. I understand much more now put still know much of it was selfishness on my parents part vs. dealing with a truly exhausting disorder. But it struck me in reading this that with the stress in my own home with Aspergers, my kids will very well have some issues to bring up once they are grown. I could laugh or cry about that....part of it I cannot control and part of it I can. I am just glad for mercy and faith as you point out. Without those where would any of us be.
Thanks for the update on your precious girl...I have been swamped in a bit of craziness around here. Though I don't always respond know I am still praying!

I know that longing for better days...we are looking into meds of our own. Such a tough decision.

Bless you friend