Tuesday, February 14, 2017

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my thoughts: seasons of mother love

Love deserves attention all year long because God is Love, of course.  Yet, I am climbing on the band-wagon to pay special attention to this special subject this month in honor of Valentine's day.  If you missed my other tribute all about my man-crush, make sure to check it out.

If you have children, have you ever pondered on the seasons of 'mother love'?  I have been pondering just that a great deal of late and want to share a few of my musings.

Although in some way it must necessarily be absolutely the same as demonstrated in the Mandelbrot Set, it seems to me that my love for my children feels more different than similar to my love for my husband.  Perhaps it feels more similar to the love feeling i feel toward my siblings... only somehow bigger for my children even though I have known them a far shorter a time.

Perhaps one explanation is the service given to children creates a sort of humongous love that doesn't quite compare to any love before it.  For service builds and fortifies love.  Yet still it feels more than that explanation somehow.

So, regarding the seasons of mother love specifically... the pregnancy and newborn months absolutely smoosh together for me.  Though, i definitely prefer holding my newborn to pregnancy!   This phase of the relationship is bumpy and a bit scary, right?  Or is that just me?  I've been through this cycle of seasons now six times and each time it's been a variation of the same.  Two miscarriages in there probably help to keep me feeling nervous and on edge during pregnancy.

That ends up to be about a year of growing adoration, pleasure in the new person's existence, and lots of scary moments, which all somehow work together to solidify the loving feelings.  Birth is also in there, which is a tremendous act of service.  So that helps the live thang grow, for sure.

Then there is the season of loads of accomplishments happening in a short space of time.  I mean, come on!  Crawling, walking, teething, sitting up, standing, eating, giggling, first temper tantrums, individuating!!  All happening before their first birthday.  It's a whirlwind of change and accomplishment.  If someone had told me that i would be as proud (and maybe more so) of my sixth child reaching each of these milestones (and more) as i was of my first, i probably wouldn't have believed them.  But it's totally true!  And with the joy in their learning, i feel love burst forth and wash through me.  Love during this season is easy to feel and sometimes overwhelms to tears.

The next year is usually relatively peaceful.  Most of my children have learned to talk or communicate pretty well before they turn two.  Between two and three there is lots of playing going on.  It is easy to feel live for my little ones during this.time, too.

Usually right around when mine turn three years old, we get to experience the beginning of what usually lasts about a year of full-on boundary-testing, tantrum-making, ugly-crying (and that's probably me more than my toddler), full-on individuation work! Whoever said it was terrible twos must have had early bloomers! Mine have all gone through the terrible threes for sure!  This is the first time i have any 'dislike' sort of feelings.  I will note that i experienced this.early with my first.  She was a "button pusher" " from six month old and she loved to push mine!!  Thankfully, we can love people even when we may not like what they do.

Thereafter comes a season of greater peace, which lasts until they are about seven and a half.  For some reason my three eldest started to think they knew everything at seven and a half.  My thirs is now eight years old, so i don't have nearly as much experience with the seasons of mother love with older children.  I'd love to hear from any Moms who have been through those seasons once or more!

During this season of smarty-pantsedness, my three eldest have felt it absolutely necessary to question my judgement and decisions in practically all things.  It has been exhausting.  It is also another season where the 'dislike' feeling pops up frequently.  No matter what, though, i strive to end the day with a hug, words of love, and our special "love fits" handshake.  I have had to increasingly focus on choosing to think lovingly even if i don't feel loving during this season... and much of those that follow.

My two eldest are 10 and 12.  They have both started into the hormonal season right around ten.  Heaven help us when all 4 of our girls are older!  There is opposition in all things, so they are just as wonderful as they are at times horrible.  And i am adult enough (i hope and work hard) to choose those loving thoughts even when the feelings of the same are absent.

I imagine the seasons following what i know are lots of a smooshing of all the previous because there is so much that happens before children leave home as adults.  Learning to drive, school at various levels..

Adult children... the only way i can even sort of imagine that is by thinking of my own relationship with my parents.  I hope i will do at least as well as they have done with me!
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