Friday, June 29, 2012

Finding My Home Place By Sara Munday, mother of three

When I married, my husband and I moved away from home. I had always lived near family, but now I found myself in a place that felt so foreign. I became depressed as I felt more and more alone. I had no friends, no family, my husband worked late hours, and my neighbors all worked outside of the home.

This feeling of being alone increased when we had our first child and struggled to be good parents. My husband and I felt so lost and lonely that we were talking about giving up and moving to live with my husband's parents until he found a job near family.
"For the first time,
I was in a crowd
   in which I belonged."

When our son was six months old, I visited a MOPS group out of sheer desperation. Something changed that day. For the first time, I was in a crowd in which I belonged ... for no other reason than because I was a mom. I attended every meeting and every event the MOPS group offered that year. Through MOPS, my husband and I finally felt like we were at home in a state so far away from everything we knew.

When it was time to move again, the first thing I did was search for a MOPS group near our new home. Even though we moved in the summer time, I quickly found a group that I would attend in the fall. I called the group’s coordinator before we even finished unpacking, and she invited us to play dates throughout the summer. This is when I realized that no matter where I was, if I could find a group of MOPS moms, I’d be home.

Dear God, please help me to accept the moms around me and to make them feel welcomed into our lives. Please help me be a part of seeing No Mom Alone. Amen. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Oh My Words! by Kim Peterson, mom of one

My husband has the largest vocabulary of anyone I know. Playing Boggle or Scrabble with him always ends up with me breaking out the dictionary to challenge at least three of his words. Whenever he uses the word “unguents” in everyday conversation, I know he is flirting with me. I relish the challenge of trying to out-wordsmith him.

It seems my 4-year-old daughter hasn’t fallen far from the tree. An early speaker, she memorizes songs and movie scripts easily, manages an impressive vocabulary and even invents words of her own. After our indoor Easter egg hunt this year, she asked me, “Mom, do you know why I preferred to have Dad get the egg on the table?” On any given day, it’s not unusual to hear her telling me, “Mom, that is not appropriate!” I always forget that her developmental level is not as sophisticated as her understanding of language.
"I delight in seeing parts
of my husband that I love
emerge in my precious daughter."

Besides a large vocabulary, my husband and daughter also share a very mischievous streak. Before bedtime, the family roughhousing usually reaches its peak. After reading books with our daughter in our bed, we trek to her room for prayers and hugs and kisses. While cuddling on the bed, Daddy usually accidentally “trips” on us. After the barrage of giggling dies down, our daughter will jump off the bed and then jump back on top of us. Next, comes the squeal, “Daddy, attackle Mommy!” Attackle--get it? Attack and tackle put together.

I delight in seeing parts of my husband that I love emerge in my precious daughter. Watching them play together and share little moments remains one of my greatest joys. True, with the two of them in my life, there’s never a dull moment. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.  

Dear Father, thank you for my family and their gifts. Help me to cherish them and the special things we share. Amen.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Losing It by Cori Salchert, mom of eight

When I was pregnant with my third baby and very hormonal, I spent most of my days chasing around an almost 2-year-old boy who never walked, only ran. I also had a 3-year-old daughter who had some speech difficulties. Sarah called her younger brother “baby” for a couple of years until I told her he was a little boy now. She then switched to calling out, “Hey boy, come here” whenever she wanted him. Despite her best efforts (and mine), her speech difficulties remained.

"I know now
she wasn’t being
disobedient or rebellious."

One evening I lost it. When she responded, “kanku” instead of “thank you” I decided to take matters into my own hands. Her speech wasn’t good enough and I was going to straighten her out here and now. “Say,  ‘Thank you!’” I repeated louder. Intimidated, she drew in a breath and carefully replied, “kanku.” It grieves me to admit I went back and forth with her for a good 15 minutes – she in tears and me insisting she say it correctly – before my husband intervened.

All but one of our kids experienced speech struggles. And I grew more comfortable with how to lovingly mother them through those challenges. But I still wince when I remember that encounter with Sarah. At 23, Sarah has no recollection of this incident, but I still asked her forgiveness the other night. I know now she wasn’t being disobedient or rebellious. I simply expected something from her she was unable to give. I’m grateful for not only her forgiveness, but also my ability to grow and change as a mother.

Dear Lord, be with me in all my “nexts.” From one day to the next, show me how to love large and loosely, and please never let go of my hand. Amen.  

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Graduate by Andrea Jones, mom of three

I couldn’t contain my tears. I was undone. There was my 5-year-old daughter, Alyssa, in her preschool cap and gown. I received the photo in a text message from my husband, taken during her photo shoot at school, and graduation was just two weeks away.

It seemed like yesterday that I’d stopped nursing her. Days at the park spent urging her up the slide and then back down. Memories of our “explorations” on the Highline Canal collecting rocks, leaves and other “clues” flooded my mind. I smiled, thinking of the two days after her birth. I slept with her next to me in my hospital bed, just me and my red, wrinkly little girl. My graduate was “a big girl now,” and I couldn’t contain my emotions.  
"She was filled with
excitement, wonder and fear
all at the same time."

She’s worried about her new school, kindergarten, new friends and if her new teacher will love her as much as her current one does. She whined for the past week before her annual physical and booster shots she needed to get before school started. She was filled with excitement, wonder and fear all at the same time. Hmm … I know how she feels.

She’s ready. Ready to tackle the responsibilities of calendar duty, plant keeper, snack organizer and whatever else kindergarten can throw her way. Yet, here I am, fighting back tears, realizing my tomorrow is here.
I feel as if this is the first time I’ve had to let something go and move into a new season. Seasons change, and the next certainly will become our now. To my graduate! Mommy is proud, and I will love you forever! 

Dear Lord, be with me in all my “nexts.” From one day to the next, show me how to love large and loosely, and please never let go of my hand. Amen.