Did you always want a birth mark? Yeah I did. I never had one, not even freckles. I do now from too many no sunscreen pool days, but for whatever reason when kids exchanged broken arm stories, scar stories, or even came up with birth mark stories I had none to tell at recess. God has blessed me with tough bones (i certainly tripped and ran into enough things), no major injuries (save one set of stitches I managed to avoid), and not even a birth mark or what was it that girl always boastfully called hers , "An angel kiss".
I was just such a boring second grader.
We all have birth marks though. Meaning marks of those who birthed us or from the family that we received our life from, did our growing in, and who shaped us for better and worse.
We are marked forever by our family.
What was important to them, what central themes were spoken and lived out before us, what lenses our family viewed life with.
My family had their own set. For better and Worse. These birth marks gives us things to laugh about, cry about, and many times provide explanations for why and why we do not do things.
It's my dad in me and my mom's wary eye looking at me that make me always tell my girls, "We do not burp on purpose. It isn't lady like. Say excuse me." I sound just like my mama. Every time.
My husband has them too. I remember the first time he took all the laundry away from me and told me how to properly fold towels I stared in disbelief that he thought jelly rolled towels were superior to normal towel folds. My jaw also dropped when I discovered that a whole clan of people didn't marry grilled cheese sandwiches with soup but dipped peanut butter sandwiches into tomato soup. I really was shocked.
It is funny sometimes to watch a family and see the inter workings and the unspoken rules. The rhythm, the way they do things that is unique to them.
I think that many times we try to act outside of our God given rhythm and be other people's families. Or be other people ourselves entirely. You know what I mean? You see that woman who has her whole pile of kids recycling, poised with watering cans over their raised flower gardens, all wearing crocs, and eating the veggies their hands have helped make. Or that lady who has her children reading and they are three. Or that woman that you envy that lets her kids play video games and doesn't feel guilty because you would and you won't let them. Or that woman that slathers so much sunscreen all over her kids face its basically white out and you arrive at swimming lessons and forgot completely to put it on.
We all have things that are important to us, things we prioritize, things that we are good at. Things that our family together is good at.
I think its ok to focus on those things and let those other things fall off to other people. Like the gardening mother. Not me. I will kill any plant almost upon arrival and I have not the discipline or patience to ever make green life thrive (save my yearly hibiscus purchases that survive basically anything). We only grow humans here. We can't even seem to do pets. I cannot sew and have decided despite the purchase of a sewing machine and several hints from grandparents I will not be trying. It's not me and I'm not wasting time trying to make it be me. And I'm totally cool with buying store bought birthday cakes because they are pretty.
I felt a lot of pressure when I was a homeschooling mom too. To makes sure my kids were memorizing latin and math laws, but in the end most of our best moments were reading living books and mulling over things we found fascinating and learning from a place of deep interest, natural curiosity, and love.
When I hung that up this winter and let them go off to school I felt a weight drop off. Now after homework is done i still read to them the things I want to and we still have way too in-depth conversations, but they are us and they are the parts of me I want my kids to have. The best parts. Instead of being the taskmaster I've relinquished that role and now I'm the homework aide and we still get to read our books about Julia Childs and Dr. Seuss and whatever biography they want to read and answer a million rabbit trail questions. Bed time is a big one for me. It's important to circle up for me and end the day together over some good conversations. Even if it means I lose some me time and can't pull myself away easily. Those things matter to me. It becomes the fabric of who we are and it gives them a sense of us. Who we are together. What's important to us.
The other night we started with a story about Abraham and Isaac and ended with my oldest saying, "Why does God allow Satan to still live?" And before I could answer it my middle saying, "I think in Heaven we won't miss anyone because we will be too distracted by God." The questions kept coming out and I kind of kept blinking thinking, "Oh great it is now ten o'clock and we are discussing free will." My oldest concluded, "God lets Satan be here because He wants us to choose Him. He doesn't want us to be forced to love Him." I just sat stunned. I was tired and my baby was crying, but nothing took the jewel of that moment away from me. "I think you're right" I smiled, "Now go to bed, please." I begged. That's me. That's us. And i want those questions to keep coming and the discussions to keep happening.
I want my kids to love beautiful things, be in wonder of nature, and talk to God freely as if He was right there so we do while we drive. We stop the car for sunsets, we pause long over things we find, and we freely pray out loud together. My dad passed that to me. Praying wherever and whenever and it's as deeply a part of me as the blue eyes we share. He whispers, my mom talks out loud. I find myself doing the same thing in the kitchen and am met with the question, "Mom who are you talking to?" "Oh I'm just talking to God." You know while I'm slicing vegetables or something mundane like that.
Our days are far from perfect and I can't offer them experiences or expertise on most things. I can just offer what God has planted in me and seek to see the seeds He has sown into their DNA, watering and feeding those dreams, those loves, those passions. And if I see a passion in them I don't share I want to learn it and help it grow. I find myself regularly thinking, I need to study my kids and learn from them. What is God revealing to them? He does you know. I believe He is close to the heart of a child and they know way more than we think most times.
What is important to your family? What makes you feel most connected to your family? What is a family love language that is layered with meaning to just ya'll? What's your family birth marks? They make us special, they form us, they shape the way we see the world. Celebrate them.
|Some kind of loud bedtime moments.|