Just Write: I Never Stop Being a Mama

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It’s the strongest, loudest piece of me, this mama thing. I was surprised by motherhood when it suddenly showed up. There we were, thousands of miles away from home, totally green about all but the basics of married life. 

And then she was born, and the entire world shifted on its axis. And then her sister and then her brother, and then, oh my! three littles in less than four years. And tired? Unbelievably so.

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But here they were and there I was, a mom. Not a particularly great mom, truth be told. Impatient, overbearing, insecure, torn by wondering if I should be doing something ‘more’ with my life than wiping bottoms and breaking up bickering.

But I chose to be there, at home, doing exactly that. And I have never regretted it, not even when my eldest questioned that choice when she was about twelve, wondering why I didn’t have a real job like all her friends’ moms.

The most wondrous thing is this: that as they began to grow up, they each showed signs of independence and quick intelligence and wonderful humor and insight. And I became their student, in so many rich and wonderful ways.

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My children have taught me so much. About humility, first and foremost. About laughter and anger, about love and disdain, about temperament and truth. Each one of them, wildly different from one another, beginning with that first flutter-in-the-womb. And yet so closely woven together. So close.

Yes, indeed, they were mean to one another, on occasion. I’ve learned more about their childhood meannesses since they’ve grown up! But underneath all of that there has always been a fierce loyalty and love, a deep desire for the best in one another, a willingness to come alongside in the tough times and to joyfully celebrate the great times.

I now have a grandson the same age I was when my first child was born: 23. LORD, have mercy! How is this possible? I truly don’t know how time can sprint by in a blink. I can call up elementary school orchestra concerts (on, my ears!), youth group scavenger hunts, early dating experiences, and long courtships for each of them.

And then suddenly — here we are! Three thriving families, eight grandchildren, every one making real contributions to their community, their church, their friends. 

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So I am still learning from them. Every day. And I am still mama at heart, at base, at center. One of them is facing into back surgery; a little grandgirl has a chronic disease; one has been widowed and remarried; two grandkids are searching for ultimate answers, the prayers of us all undergirding their journey. 

No matter what else I have done or will do, no matter how many people I interact with, love, preach to, partner with or direct — these ones, these children, children-in-love/law, grandchildren, along with my husband — these are the community of first commitment and most essential ministry. 

How did I get so lucky?

I haven’t done this in ages, but I so love it when I do. Joining with Heather at EO for her Just Write this week. JUST WRITE whatever comes, then join the community and see where everyone else landed. It’s fun, I promise.

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Comments

  1. Just beautiful my friend. So thankful for the branches on the tree of your life. I just put my little grands with their curly locks down for a nap after picking them up from pre-school. My daughter is teaching other little ones to play the piano and I wonder at how quickly I am here, a mother and grandmother…something about the light in the house today, the windows open, and the nearness of God…God is good and though I too went a direction away from my generation wondering often if I had wasted a college degree, I live with no regrets, only the desire to run my race into eternity, unencumbered, fixed on Jesus. Thank you for sharing your life here today. Loved it all.

  2. Just thrilling to see what love produces.

    • Thank you, Brandee. Seems like you’ve got your own evidence of that all around you. Such a lovely crew of children, the big one and all the littles.

  3. You have a beautiful family, Diana. Such a wonderful tribute to all your years of parenting! I’m pretty sure they’d all say you’ve been as much of a blessing to them as they have been to you.

    I chose to leave my teaching career to be at home with our children, and I’m glad I did. I never returned to teaching, but after they were all grown I pursued a number of very satisfying careers. (None of them was as challenging as parenting!)

    I adore the capable, compassionate Christian adults our children have become, but I marvel at how quickly their growing up years passed! This weekend we’ll be celebrating the marriage of our fourth grandchild (out of 15, thanks to two ‘blended’ families). How can that be??? The generations keep mushrooming (we have two great-grandchildren now, too) with the accompanying new ministry opportunities. We are indeed blessed!

    • Thank you, Carol, for your kind words, and for sharing a bit more about your own remarkable family! And yes, it did go by so fast! I think we’re a ways from greats – our eldest grandsons show no signs of settling down anytime soon!

  4. “It’s the strongest, loudest piece of me, this mama thing.” Oh Yes….this rings true for me. What a beautiful family Diana 🙂

  5. Really liked this Diana. My blog reading esp responding took a back burner w my knee surgery since aug 18. Wondering how you are doing now. Your ordeal was much longer. Doing mostly ok. Just over did yesterday ands little slowed down today. Surgery/meds. They take your brain and scramble your emotions don’t they.

    • I hope you are doing well, my friend! I am slowly getting closer to ‘normal’ (whatever that is!) and am trying to walk about 15 minutes a day – that’s about all I can manage! And I’m doing PT twice a week for a while longer, too. And I TOTALLY get you about the surgery/meds combo and what they do to us. Yucko.

  6. I came back and really read this again. This is me. A mama at heart always and ever. A few tears behind you. ( I meant to write “years not tears but maybe that’s more true than not.) The older they get the more people there are to love, hold, pray for and carry around in my heart. Like you I look at all I have done and could do snd this, this is the most important to me.

  7. You are the most fortunate of souls, Diana, as your family has stuck together through both joys and tragedies. That is, ultimately the strength of families through the love of God. I’ve been through divorce, married again until my husband died in a tragic accident, yet, married once again to my beloved Danny now. My family, my kids, have seen it all and seen it through. Don’t know how we could have made it without trust in God and the love we shared. Thank you for this post!

    • I am blessed, Martha, and I know that. I am so sorry for the struggles you’ve had but grateful to read that you are currently happy and that your kids have walked through all the heartache with you. And. . . you’re welcome!

  8. Ahh, this mama thing. I was several years older than you when they came along, and I really hoped I’m be way more wise in the raising. But this mama thing… and nama thing… it’s something else. I’m praying. Love you!

  9. Being a mama, the most rewarding, humbling, fulfilling, hardest thing I’ve ever done. Then come the grandchildren…who knew there could be such love?

  10. Diana, these are words I could have spoken (though not so eloquently!) – They resonate on every level – and make me doubly thankful for decisions I made along the way – especially now that I know that what seemed like sacrifices at times were truly great blessings. I simply loved this.

    • I’m so glad, Sue! Yes, there are sacrifices to be made. But then everything that is worthwhile requires some kind of sacrifice, don’t you think? Time? Energy? Money? Heartache? Yeah, all of the above. Definitely my favorite gig of all the ones I’ve dabbled in over the years. Glad that’s true for you, too.

  11. I LOVE that last line about family being “the community of first commitment and most essential ministry.” So much truth in so few words! 1. Family as community, committed to developing Biblical values, is what being Christian parents is all about. 2. Raising godly people for kingdom service is our essential ministry. But when laundry, toys, and dirty dishes pile up, it’s easy to forget those lofty goals! Your statement should become a plaque, Diana. It would surely help weary parents refocus and rejuvenate for the crucial role they play.

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