Every year, my husband and I give a talk on Marriage as a Sacrament to a room full of young engaged people as part of their Pre-Cana weekend. The very end of our talk focuses on the gift of children to a marriage and how God uses each child to teach the parents something about themselves in order to assist them on their journey to heaven.
We’ve been giving this talk since 2003, so my oldest was only 13 when we started and my youngest hadn’t even been born yet. So I guess it was natural that we would talk about our kids as babies and little kids.
For example, we talk about my oldest son Calvin, who has been a handful ever since the day he was born! Calvin was always the epitome of the very strong-willed and single-minded first-born male. When he wanted to do something, he would do it even if we told him no. And we told him no a lot! Consequently Calvin was in trouble a lot and would need corrective punishment. Sometimes it seemed as if we were punishing him all the time.
But Calvin always took it all in stride. He would do something wrong, we would punish him (with anything from time out, to spanking to losing a privilege) and then he would be fine with it. Shortly thereafter he would be just as happy, loving and free-spirited as before. He never held a grudge or resented us for correcting his behavior – and I always found that to be amazing, probably because I am the type of person that carries a hurt and nurses a grudge for a long time. I can’t help but think that this child of mine was God’s way of trying to show me how to let it all go and just move on.
We mention our daughter who suffered with some learning disabilities. She was the child that caused me to lose many hours of sleep as I worried and wondered about how she would ever manage to get by with her life if she had such trouble learning to read and learn her math facts. I finally had to just trust in God that He would show me the way, and He did. It wasn’t easy and it was certainly a lot of hard work, but she is reading now and doing algebra and geometry just fine!
That part of our presentation always ends with the stillbirth of our sixth child and all of the unexpected blessings and graces that came from that experience.
But our children don’t quit teaching us things when they become teens and adults. The lessons are different but they’re still there. I have three adult sons now and they are all living on their own out of the house. I don’t see them every day, but I think about them all the time, and I check out their pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram because I miss them and a part of me, as their mom, wants to know what is going on in their lives. But I don’t pepper them with texts, phone calls and Facebook messages – I wait for them to reach out to me.
I do this because I WANT them to seek me out – to ask me questions, to have a conversation, or to just share some time together. I’ve left an open invitation, and I want them to reach out and accept it.
For some reason, this Lent, it finally occurred to me that that’s what God wants from me too. He’s always with me, always thinking about me – but he wants me to seek Him out, accept his invitation and share my questions and concerns, express my gratitude for all He has done for me, and just spend some time together!! Oh I suppose he could do a bigger than life miracle now and then or send a message via my guardian angel – just as I could pepper my kids with texts and phone calls – but it’s just nicer to have them drop in from time to time, or call just to talk, or text me a funny link or picture.
This has been a real epiphany for me although deep down I guess I always knew it. My own mother was always so thrilled to hear from me or have me drop by for a visit and now I am SO very grateful that I did spend the time with her whenever I could. But it took having some of the kids moving out to finally drive the lesson home about seeking God in my life and accepting his gifts and invitations.
For the rest of this Lenten season, I’m going to make more time to seek out my Heavenly Father in prayer and scriptural reading. I don’t have anything specific in mind; I just think we should spend some more time together.
So I continue to learn things in my motherhood, even after 25 years, and even from my adult children.
Copyright 2015 Elena LaVictoire
Photo courtesy of Elena LaVictoire. All rights reserved.