Sorting through my 11 year old son’s school papers that had been stuffed in his bookbag for weeks, I ran across one particular worksheet that impacted me powerfully. It was a finish-the-sentence exercise titled “This is me.” It had obviously been done at the beginning of the school year (and why was I just seeing this over Christmas break???)

The sentences were simple statements such as “I am happiest when…(I don’t get made fun of)” and “I get angry when…(I’m not fed well :-)” But the two that caught my heart were these:

I feel love…when my mommy hugs me.
I feel safe…when my mommy’s around.

Wow! Really? Does my presence mean that much to him? This is my son who hates for me to show him any sort of affection and promptly wipes off my kisses when I’m able to sneak them on his cheek. This is my son who squirms to get away when I hug him. This is my boy that is Mr. Cool in the presence of his friends.

I rarely waffle in my commitment to be at home. I KNOW the value of it throughout my children’s growing up years. But moments like this are a gift of recommitment. My presence is important. In fact, it’s stablizing, foundational, and essential to my children.

Just a few weeks before I found this inadvertant love note from my son, I had been considering a spring trip to speak at the Hearts at Home conference in Europe. I usually go every other year and 2008 was my next prospective opportunity. Yet, I sensed I wasn’t to go. Erica is a junior this year and being the only girl at home, she and I spend alot of time together. Both Austin and Kolya are adapting to a new school and have needed alot of encouragement this year.

It may have been my year to go from a Hearts at Home perspective, but I wasn’t sensing it was a year to go from a family perspective. And family has to come first. So I declined the opportunity and encouraged our leadership to find another speaker to go. I had peace about the decision, but the day I found Austin’s school paper I had full confirmation. There will be many opportunities for me to travel and encourage more moms. But there’s only one opportunity for me to be there for my kids. And that’s now.

Sometimes we need to be reminded of the important things in life. And occasionally those reminders will be delivered in the most unusual of ways.

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