I am both a mother and a child. I was thinking about my two roles and the amount of time I spend in each of them and a couple of points came clear to me. They may not be everyone’s experience.
Over a period of years, parents (and in my case me, as a mom) create a habit of thinking about their children. They say if you can repeat something for what, thirty days, it becomes a habit? Well, living and interacting with my children that were raised in my home created a habit that is very hard to change. I think about my daughters multiple times every day. I don’t have to do anything for them anymore, they don’t live near enough for me to see them often, there is no reason for me to have to think about them, but I do. I miss them.
In my life as a child I didn’t have to think about my parents very much. I had the habit of being with them and I did miss them when I moved away, but I never had responsibility for their welfare and didn’t habitually think about them. I was always kind of busy building my own life and doing new things. I think they call it self absorption. My sense of family connectedness came about because it was always so wonderful to have somebody who wanted to know what I was doing. My grandparents and parents were always there waiting to hear from me and happy when they did.
My conclusion is that parents think about their children much more than their children think about them. At this stage of my life I am hoping to make a more equal adjustment in my roles, and not that I’m wanting to think less about my daughters but I want to think more about my parents. I appreciate them more. I’m aware that I may, at some point, be able to offer them help that they need. Although my days with them have always been numbered, now I’m aware of how small the number may be.
My experience with family goes farther, kind of repeats itself in the spiritual realm. I believe God thinks about me much more than I think about him. I see how very much like a child I am (the self absorption thing again) in my thinking toward my Father in a larger, more eternal sense. I’m reading about beginnings in Genesis – stories that I’ve heard since I was a child in Sunday school. One of the characteristics of God that stands out to me now is how responsive he was to the men and women who kept him in mind. He looked forward to their communication with him and blessed them against all odds.
I used to wonder how firstborn Esau could sell his rights to a double portion of inheritance (and his father was rich) for a bowl of stew – he probably just didn’t spend much time thinking about it. He was his father’s favorite and probably figured Dad would fix everything for him later. I have a lot more in common with Esau than I’d like to think. For one, I have an inheritance coming that’s literally out of this world. Secondly, I don’t spend nearly enough time thinking about it and respecting it. But I am growing up and giving more time to this parent as well.
|My maternal grandparents John and Clementine, in picture on the wall,
Me, holding Esther and Dennis in back row
My Mother Gwen, Julia, my paternal grandfather Roy, my Dad Owen
taken in 1982
I have always loved how God teaches me about himself through family life here and now. Thankful.