As many of you know, I have a sister. A spunky, free spirit, adorable woman named Amber. We have a great relationship. In fact I count her among my best of friends. We are as close as sisters can be...now. You see, once upon a time our relationship was nothing but turbulent at best. Oh, don't get me wrong, I loved her, I just couldn't stand her very much at times.
She has spent her whole life wanting to be my age, until now. Amber is 6 and a half years younger than me. So what that means, is I was always in another stage of life than her. She was born when I was in elementary school, When I was in junior high, she finally started school, and by the time I hit college she made it to junior high. Get the picture? In other words, after the cute baby stage, she became a "brat" in my existence. Always wanting and fussing to do what I was doing, or go where I was going. She always thought I was the "favorite" because I could always do more. I always thought she was the favorite because she could always do more earlier. Of course now she is having the last laugh, because I would love to be almost seven years younger...
Anyway, my post is really not about my sister. We get along great, love spending time together and can't imagine life without the other in it, even in blog land. Love ya, Amb! This post isn't about my wonderful parents, who, bless their hearts did the best they could with us, which since we both turned out alright, I say they managed OK at the parenting thing. Love you Jim-Dad and Mommy! No, this post is about my own children and the lessons God teaches me everyday through them...
My kids are exactly two years apart, both were born in the month of October. There wasn't over six years spreading them apart. Which I don't think is a bad thing, it just comes with a whole new set of problems that I never had modeled for me as a child. My mom always had an excuse for my sister as to why she couldn't do what I was doing or why she treated me differently...her age. I don't have the same luxury. There might be a few issues that would work with, but for the most part, they are right there together. Age can't be a factor for them. Sometimes I can use the gender reason, but even in today's world with girls wanting to prove how tough they are and boys are being allowed to enjoy a few more activities outside of the sports arena, even that because a tough reason to use.
So, my problem comes mainly on a day to day basis. When my son looks at me and says; "Mom, you like Kayla better than me." Or Kayla exclaims; "Jordan gets away with everything!" Sound familiar? Then there are the knock down, drag out fights (luckily they are few and far between, but when they do happen, someone always gets hurt!), in which Kayla can still take down her brother, but just barely... Then there is the constant "Jordan stop!" and "Kayla, you are so mean!" Does anyone else out there have to suffer though this "noise" over and over again. And we wonder why us moms go and have our hair colored every few months...
I realized how much they are watching what we do, the other day. They are at constant rivalry for our praise and affection. What an incredible burden for us parents, to make each child feel like he or she is the favorite. Sometimes I do fail...like the other day. My last post was about my daughter the artist. As I have said before, she loves to draw. I asked her if I could scan her pictures and show my bloggy friends her work. (If you want to see her art, you can go back one post. I'm pretty proud.) What I didn't realize is that my son was watching and listening. You see, he loves to draw too and by me making a big deal about her work, he felt left out. He came to me later and asked if I thought he was a good artist too.
Humbling for a mom for sure. I do think he is a good artist. He loves to draw animals and has even won some art contests at his school. There is a bench at his school now, in their learning garden, that he painted. I'm pretty proud of him. But he didn't read what I wrote in my post, or why I chose Kayla's art...it was all about passion and God's masterpieces. He loves to draw, but not like his sister. But then, it really wasn't about the drawings, in his eyes, it was about being showered with affirming words of love. It was never my intent to leave him out or make him feel unworthy of my praise.
Since then I have been thinking a lot about this parenting stuff and juggling the whole parenting act. I love and adore my children, both of them. However, they both have two very different personalities. I talk to them differently, I discipline them differently, I enjoy different things with both of them. Yet, I love them equally. I really do not have a favorite. I know it may seem to my son that I enjoy being with my daughter more, but that is natural because we share a love for all the "girl stuff." Yet, I couldn't imagine my life without my cuddly, little bear.
As I was thinking and praying for my children, I realized on such a grander scale how AWESOME the Heavenly Father really is. I mean, He loves each one of us. There are no favorites. Yet, like all siblings, we tend to look over at our brothers and sisters and cry "No fair!" How come you are blessing him that way, and why are you disciplining her like that, Lord. Why does it seem that when my friend prays, you ALWAYS listen. How come I have moments when I can't even feel you there. Sometimes, like children, we wish we were treated all the very same way...yet, do we really want that? As I said before, we are all created different, we all serve a different purpose in this world, we all are beautiful masterpieces with the signature of the Lord Almighty stamped in the corner of our hearts.
A great chapter to read is 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. Great verses. My favorite out of this chapter is found in verse 22; "...some of the parts that seem the weakest and least important are really the most necessary..." and verse 27; " Now all of you together are Christ's body and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it."
In other words WE ARE ALL JUST PLUM SPECIAL AND NEEDED IN THIS WORLD!!! How is that for building one's self esteem?! So, as I look over at my brother and sister, in Christ, I need to take the "rose colored glasses" off and look at them for who they are. Creations of the Lord God, struggling to "find themselves" and live for Christ in this cruel and sinful world. What I might handle with ease, someone else may struggle with and so on... It is easy to compare and complain, when we can't see behind all the closed doors of everyone's heart. But Praise the Lord, He can. He doesn't have favorites, He just has extreme love. Enough love, that He died for each one of us. Doesn't get any better than that, my friends.
So, as I'm looking at my children, each one beautiful in their own way, I realize the task before me: to be an example of the greatest parent of them all, making each of them feel beautiful and special in their own way. And when the squabbling occurs, I need to have the patience of the Lord, as hard as that can be, and realize they are just trying to find their own way in this great big world, craving a little love and attention.
To end this post, I would like to say "thanks" for going on this journey with me. Everyday, the Lord teaches me something new about myself. And as I struggle to make it real in my own life, I pray I can encourage someone else along the way. This blog has become my diary of sorts, and there is freedom in writing down the thoughts and feelings of my heart, when sometimes words can not be spoken aloud.
To close this post today, I would like to add a few more drawings. I know you might be a little tired of the artwork bragging, but you see, I have a little boy, who needs to know that is Mommy is very proud of him too. He is so very special to my heart and I am so thankful for him. So here are a few of his favorites...and mine.
Have a great weekend!