When I was the mother of young children, I always thought that it would get easier to be a mother as they grew older. I thought about the fact that I wouldn't have the intense physical care that you have with young children and that is definitely true, though I do still have to do their laundry, and make the meals, and take the boys to their activities. In my case, I also have to deal with all the schooling. Sometimes just trying to keep them motivated to do the things they need to do is overwhelming. However, now Beth requires much less from me in that way and that part is easier....
But emotionally, these last few years have been the most draining of my life. Having to deal with adolescents and young adults that you love intensely can be very tiring. You want the best for them....you can see pitfalls that they're heading into.....you want so much to save them from their own mistakes, but you know you can only do so much. I have made mistakes with Beth because of my intense love and my desire to see her be faith-filled, and now I have learned that I need to step back. I have to let her make her own decisions no matter how they may grieve me and all I can do is pray, pray, pray, and be available to listen to her and give advice when she asks for it. There are still basic house rules she has to follow, but these are actually few. Things such as having to go to Mass on Sunday (we have no problems with her in that way), a few weekly chores (in her case, cleaning two of the bathrooms which takes her about 30 minutes) and common courtesies such as letting me know if she's going to be home for dinner and a basic idea of where she's going to be. Though truthfully, there are many times I have no clue where she is. But I see attitudes and activities that she chooses to pursue and other things that make me wonder sometimes if I went wrong somewhere. But I feel in my heart that I have done the best I've known how and that I have to put her and the boys into God's hands. He loves them even more than I do...
I think it is even more difficult for us homeschool moms to let go in these situations. I know that I have had more control over my children's day-to-day lives than the parents I know who send their children to school. Admittedly, it is difficult to let go of that control, but I have learned how with Beth and I am hopeful that things will go much smoother with the boys in that way.
Beth has never struggled academically, but both of the boys do, especially John, and I find myself wondering what they are going to do after high school and the time is coming closer and closer. I keep telling myself that our dear Lord has a marvelous plan for their lives, but I find myself wondering if He could just let me in on it so that I could have a little peace of mind. But no, of course, that is not possible and I know that I have to trust. Sometimes, easier said than done.
I have to say that nothing in my earlier life prepared me for the intensity of my maternal love for my children. Even the love I have for Mark, strong as it is, is different from this intense, protective maternal love. In these last twenty years, I have a greater appreciation for the love my mother bears for me and my siblings, and I understand better the hurts some of us have caused her. It's one reason why I spend so much time with her and my dad....I can understand how much she loves our company and our concern and care for her.
Perhaps not all mothers are like me.....but I can't help but think that many are.
I realize that this will never end....it will follow me until I reach the next life. I pray that my dear children will not cause me too much grief; I've seen many friends and relatives who have had to endure much sorrow and grief because of their children's choices. But I pray even more for their eternal salvation and that I may offer up any grief they cause me for their benefit.
When I was suffering through infertility and longing for a baby, I used to think of motherhood in terms of having sweet little babies and young children who bring such joy, and of being the center of their little worlds, but I realize those years go way too quickly and the reality of motherhood is a bit different....they still can bring that joy but other possibilities are there too.
All can be little lessons on the road to holiness.
A blessed night to all....