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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Welcome to the blogosphere, Jill! This was a great opening post. Just today I had similar thoughts as my kids and I enjoyed a lazy morning in pajamas playing with Christmas toys and watching snow fall. As a mom who writes on the side, I often find myself envious of those who have long stretches of uninterrupted time in a more traditional work setting (other than a home office littered with toys!). However, today I enjoyed something special–and luxurious, really. Certainly something that I’d miss if I had those long uninterrupted stretches away from home. So thanks for the reminder to “recommit” to family. Next time I’m writing bleary-eyed in the wee hours and wrestling with jealousy of the regular-work hour crowd, I’ll remember your words. Thanks!
Glad to see you in blogdom! And I fondly remember spending time in Vienna with you a few years back. Time does fly, doesn’t it? My eldest is now learning to drive. Scary!
Have a terrific 2008.
It looks great Jill! You and Anne did a nice job with and it is a great story about Austin.
Very nice and I love the story about Austin.
Thanks for the new blog Jill! I’m sure you’ll have many readers from over on the Bulletin Board. Be sure to keep us posted when you update! ~abby~
There IS only one opportunity to embrace parenting and be the mom your kids need – bravo to you Jill for keeping your commitment and convictions. God bless you and your HAH ministry.
Great blog, Jill. I really enjoyed your adoption story. Very moving. I trust Kolya is adjusting well.
You’ll enjoy blogging. I moved my writing blog to the Xanga community, because my personal blog is there, as well. It made it easier for me to navigate between the two. I must admit that I tend to my personal blog a lot more than my writing blog… hmmmm… I think that says something about my priorites. 😉
I agree with Brenda. Parents have only one chance to raise their children, to be there for them at the important junctions of life. If only all parents realized the importance of saying “no” to other things during these critical years.
Bless you, and all the best on your new blog site.