June 06, 2011


Here in the upper midwest we endured a mild winter, in place of spring, until about three weeks ago.  Suddenly, and I mean suddenly, our beautiful late spring/summer weather is here.  It has been a wonderful blessing and much anticipated.  Our flowers are blooming, trees are filling out, veggies are in dirt, a sandbox is in progress, a few bike rides are under our belts, an air show and story garden have been enjoyed by all and I have not a single blog post to show for it. 

I mentioned this to Ryan yesterday and his comment was, "That is perfectly fine.  Those that can't, write.  Those that can, do."  I'm not sure of the original context of this quote, but it was mildly comforting in my case, I will admit.  It has been great to be doing.

However, I will try to dig myself out of the backlog I have going.

Toward the end of May T had her first dance recital. 

It was a two hour program (performed two times in one day-yes it was a long day) showcasing the different levels of dance that her awesome Christian teacher instructs for the local rec department.  T's class performed one tap number.  We had a blast putting on her make-up and curling her hair.

T surprised me with her calm poise and how comfortable she was on stage.  The lights and audience did not phase her at all.  She was very matter-of-fact about the parts of her routine she forgot, but very upbeat about how she did stay on track nearly the whole song.  It was delightful to hear her unprompted and positive commentary on herself. 

She is fourth from the left, in the front (looking to the side).

I stayed backstage with her all throughout the first performance and then switched with another mom from our church for the second performance so I could sit with the rest of our family to watch the recital.

This backstage experience was fun for T and I.  She brought along some coloring and played some card games with her classmates.  She brought along her all-important bear and blanket.  I helped her into the right spot in line and walked her up to the stage.

However, the day of her recital left a very bittersweet impression on me.  I watched many a mom and daughter interact and listened to these moms converse. 

As T happily sat in my lap coloring and undoubtedly enjoying my undivided attention I listened to moms tell their daughters to leave them alone, go play over there, or other similar instructions.  Sure they said these things casually and sometimes even with a sweet tone.  But I just kept thinking how this was a first recital for most of these girls.  What an important 'landmark' in these little lives.  An opportunity to support them, hear their concerns, ease their nerves, and offer encouraging words.

Then as we waited in the hot and stuffy wings for T's class to go on stage I listened to a mom explaining to another how she only agreed to do 'this awful duty' with her husband because he said she could go and disappear shopping the next day.  This made me so sad!  Her five year old daughter was right next to her.  Is it so normal for people to talk of their children as burdens that it is now acceptable to verbalize this to the children?  Did this mom think her words made no impact on her daughter?

I observed more than a dozen parents decide to leave their, under age seven, children unattended because they wanted to 'enjoy the show' or 'my daughter is old enough'.  No, the rec department did not assign people to watch these children. 

There were more than a few times where a daughter would tell their mom something, repeat it, pull on their mom's leg, and finally receive a 'WHAT?'.  All the while the mom is texting or busy with their phone. 

I have mentioned before how I have been introduced to Sally Clarkson and some of her books.  As I have been reading through the Mission of Motherhood Sally discusses the two common, and unhealthy, views parents have of the purpose of children.  These are 1)as a burden and 2)to fulfill the parents' emotional needs.  How clearly I saw these acted out on that sad May day. 

Sally advocates that the Bible clearly says that children are a blessing given to us by God to pass on our Christian heritage.  Not a concern to pass the buck on.  Not a bother to shoo away.  Not a clay pot to make fit our mold of the perfect child.

Sure, I don't always remember to only see my children in the light of a blessing from God.  It is a challenge, especially in our society. 

But it is a challenge that I am happy to undertake with His help on a daily basis.  And by doing so, intentionally, I hope to spread that down through generations.  Because as I saw first hand, a month ago, there are going to be even more lost mothers, in twenty years, than there are today. And I hope to help my daughters avoid being in that crowd.

Our lovely, and exhausted, T at the end of her big day, with flowers from her dad.


Diana said...

Oh Heather, what a joy to hear you enjoying your daughter and loving to be with her!

Each of your children are a blessing from God, and I love the way you see them, love on them and protect them.

What a full day for all of you, and T looks so cute and happy.

As to spring/summer you have gotten a lot done already! :-)

Nikki said...

Oh Heather!
First of all I cannot believe T is that old!! I still remember her stretching her little newborn legs out in your home so soon after she was born.

I really enjoyed this post and it challenged me to remember that I can't be too busy or bothered for my kids. Thanks for such a tangible, vivid reminder.

I wanted to cry for those little girls but was reminded how easy I can do the same thing!