Overwhelmed …

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It’s Sunday. That means I’m not usually on social media in the morning (except “Postsecret,” of course … ).

So today, when I finally got on my computer, I found this on my page:

Gina, I LOVE that you are a visionary parent. I love seeing/reading how you help your children navigate into adulthood, fulfilling their dreams, even though it means they are far away. How blessed they are to have your love and support and encouragement and help as they establish themselves. It encourages me to keep in mind a bigger picture for my boys. It’s one thing for me to tell them they can be and do anything they want, it’s a whole other thing for me to believe in them enough to help them gain experiences that will open doors for them. Thanks for being an example of what a Godly mother does to be a visionary parent.

I didn’t know what to say. My friend, Candice is an amazing woman in her own right. She and her husband are raising three beautiful boys while they both work, are avid runners, camp, enjoy a full life –and an occasionally cake ball, but that’s another story…I see this young family in the midst and throws of life with little kids, and I remember what it was like.

I’m not going to lie. “Visionary parenting” was never in my vocabulary when the kids were little. Most days I was like most moms … happy to get a shower, get them dressed, fed and keep them from killing one another. We did make some intentional choices, it’s true. My biggest one was to NOT do many things I had seen my parents do (or to do those things they didn’t). My folks were great, don’t get me wrong. But I did take from them some very definite ideas about the kind of parent I wanted to be.

I do remember a lot of sacrifices. Even today, I still wonder if some of the choices I made were right. Should I have home schooled them? Did they “miss out” on good stuff? Should I have worked more? Taught them more? Made them more (or less) self-reliant? I remember reading somewhere that, “Behind every great kids is a mother sure she screwed them up.” Yes … I see that hand in the mirror.

Looking back, I have to admit there was some intentionality in place. Who we surrounded our kids with (because they all need other adults than their parents). What opportunities we made happen for them (travel …camp … trips… lessons). What classes we studied … what books we read … and the constant, never-ceasing dialogue that I’m quite sure they got tired of (probably still).

And yes … telling them anything was possible. Giving them a sense of their place in the bigger world picture. Helping them know the universe wasn’t about them … but reminding them of a sure and definite purpose they had. Trying to help them never doubt they were here for something bigger … maybe not grandiose, but important none-the-less.

I can’t even formulate the words that would let you know how proud I am of the people my kids are. And it’s not about the cool stuff they do. Or the way they are self-reliant and prepared for the “real world,” whatever that means. Yeah, all that is important — cool. They are all brilliant and gifted in different ways. They are all seeking God’s direction in their lives. That’s great, don’t get me wrong.

But the thing I love most about my kids are that, while I might have been a “visionary parent,” they have this innate ability to make me know I couldn’t have done anything more important with my life. I see that most, when it’s just the six (now seven!) of us, sitting around, laughing, being stupid. Or when the three oldest graciously bring “significant others” into our family and I stand back and am so proud of the choices in friends and partners they have made. Or when it’s just me and one of them … and they pour out their hearts and dreams and their own visions for where they are going.

It’s priceless, my friends.

So today, I will rejoice in the beautiful complement my friend has paid me. I will turn the praise back to my husband, my support system, and my God. They are all equal partners in this journey. And I will look forward with eager anticipation as to “whatever” will come next for my kids and I. And … I will quietly be overwhelmed at the goodness in my life.

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