And yes, thirty-four can be hard. Just like two. And six. And sixteen. There are parts of every age that are hard or challenging or just new and different.
But what is a mom, especially a stay at home mom who homeschools and is with her children all of the time, supposed to do? A generation or two ago, I would have chatted with a neighbor friend in a similar phase of life or my own mom or mother-in-law would be nearby. But that is not the case for me or many of my friends. I think many of us, in matter if we are stay at home or working moms, feel like little islands. Even with all of this technology to keep us connected, we still feel isolated and so we turn to Facebook as a mini-cry for help or seeking affirmation that we are doing a good job, that we are not alone in our mothering, that we are not screwing up our kids by telling them for the fiftieth time they cannot try to swing like Tarzan from a piece of equipment at occupation therapy.
I don't have all the answers, but I want to try to do better at connecting and encouraging. I want to remind my friends with toddlers that many things get easier, and I want my friends with teenagers and grown children to remind me that things get easier. I want to see my friends with six year olds, really see them, and tell them they are not alone. I want to link arms with my friends with children with special needs and truly be in this together with them - whatever that may look like. I want to notice what my friends' kids are doing well - not just the trophy moments but the character moments - and specifically say the good thing I noticed. I want to pray for my friends who are weary with the same battles I am encountering.
Life is full at our house these days. School and work for the Hubs. Activities for Bubby. Therapies for Bugaboo. Volunteer ministries for me. And the daily stuff like learning and playing and chores. But I don't want things to get so full that I stop noticing my friends. And I don't want things to get so full I stop noticing and acknowledging the good my kids are doing.
Bubby helps to carry in groceries. He has a tender heart. He loves telling us about his day. He is a patient and kind big brother. He asks great questions. Bugaboo perseveres when learning new skills. He prays for both real friends and animated ones. He loves saying, "Hi Dad!" when The Hubs walks in the door. He has made it through one month of Sunday morning services without having to go to the lobby.
Life is full. These ages and phases are hard some days. But every day there is so much good. I want to open my eyes fully and see it. Will you help me? Will you join me?