A Message for Mamas

Lately, along with my final LOST book, I’ve been reading Gifted Hands by Dr. Ben Carson.
I’ve had this one on my Kindle for a couple of years or so. I bought it when there was a special, and it’s been sitting there with all the other books that I’ve  hoarded, collected.
I wanted to read it because I remember years ago, having a conversation with a friend and her young adult son who had read it, and they were going on and on about the influence that Carson’s single mother had on his success as a human being and on his career.
So I’ve kind-of had all that in my inventory for a while as a good non-fiction book to add to my largely fiction repertoire.

This book is about Carson’s life as a young boy growing up in poverty and his fierce determination to struggle, study and work his way out of it. His mother, who married at age 13 and had next to no education, saw to it that her children would do better than her. But she didn’t see to it by giving a better life to them, she saw to it by teaching them to get it on their own. She always spoke words of belief and affirmation to her boys. She stood in the gap for them when they were overlooked and worked her butt off to provide a meager living. There were many times where Carson and his brother didn’t appreciate her efforts. As typical teenagers they wanted more than she could give and was dissatisfied with everything they received from her sacrifices. But time revealed, like it always does, just how much her work and her ways put those guys on a successful path, and how the deprivation they experienced was only temporary. Their reward was their future.

This book resonates with me. Not because I am raising my children in poverty and I’m trying to get them out but because I know what that feeling is like; the feeling of fear and concern about the future for my children. Will they make it in the world? Will they contribute to the well being of society? Will they produce good things and not bad? Will they be strong emotionally? Will they go to college? (I’m beginning to care less and less about that one, by the way). Will they continue to walk in the faith that my husband and I have taught them, knowing that as adults, our faith is our own, not the faith of mom and dad? Will the world, namely our country, be a place where they can live in freedom and peace? Will their lives be cut short? (And I can’t even bring myself to go there).

There’s a lot of stuff going in the mind of a mother. And it ain’t all that pretty. Fierce devotion ain’t always patient and gracious. Emotions and hormones don’t help matters either. My kids are 19, 15 and 15, and I have learned in these years that I CANNOT do this alone.  Actually, I realized that the day Miss 19-year-old was born. I went from being Miss Bubbly and Happy to being Miss Afraid and Incapable.
True Story.
And I have been working on getting back to bubbly ever since.

When I think of all the things my mother did right I just cringe at myself because I did so much of the same things wrong. Now, this is just an honest evaluation of me by me, I’m not looking for people to tell me. “No, Darlene, you’re a great mom…” I think any mom can look back on her parenting and see in hindsight where she could have done better. I don’t think that’s an unhealthy thing to do. I know that I have been far too controlling in my mothering, wound up too tight and too worrisome. (Though I don’t apologize for one second for any situation that caused me to be fiercely protective.)

I finally got to the point, after a lot of tears and prayers, that I had to let go. These children ARE gonna leave here one day, (at least I hope they do because that will mean their success), and who they are and who they become will no longer be my responsibility. It will ALL be out of my hands. i want them to be able to FLY. So I am choosing to enjoy these awesome people RIGHT NOW, even though I don’t know what the future holds. My time as a mom is now. My rewards as a mom, hopefully, will be later.
If not, I will hunt them down and embarrass them in front of their grown up friends.

Here’s a little ditty that gets me all encouraged. As a girl, and as a mom.
Motherhood, or girlhood for that matter, is not for wimps.

 

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