Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Mother's Job

The other night, I met a lovely young woman. Let’s call her “Grace”. The group of us were talking about some pretty deep subjects, and it was obvious that there was a huge level of trust among us. Grace shared a story that breaks my heart.

Grace and her mother can’t really be in the same space together without arguing and fighting. It sounded pretty ugly, and the details aren’t important here.

Just understand this: a lovely, intelligent, funny young woman told us that, for a long time, she wondered what was wrong… with HER.

I watched through tear-brimmed eyes as she said it, and I truly could not believe my ears. The acoustics in the room were poor, I reasoned. Perhaps I heard that wrong.

How on earth could a daughter believe that she had somehow caused her mother to reject her? So much weight on those shoulders.

As the evening wore on, I got more and more angry at this mother and I didn’t even know her. Perhaps it was because I have my own daughters, and one is preparing to leave home for the first time. I could easily imagine her with a group of friends, at some far-off date, and I prayed right then and there that she would never feel the way Grace obviously felt.

So I’ll say here, what I told Grace last night.

Sweetie, it’s a mother’s job to love her children. It’s her job to protect you. It’s her job to get over herself if that is what it takes. It is her job to seek help if she needs it.

It is not a child’s job to somehow earn that love.

While every parent hopes that there will be a bond that goes bot
h ways, and every parent hopes their children will be true to the amazing potential they see—it’s the parents’ job to love.

Sometimes it’s hard to like our children. Sometimes we have to make that conscious choice that, today, we will smile more and play more and show you more love. Some days it’s a little more difficult than others. Some days it’s a little easier.

But it should never be our children’s job to earn what we should freely give. It is their birthright, their human entitlement, and it makes me so unspeakably sad that so many children go without. And so many adults, young and old, feel they are somehow to blame.

I’m glad Grace has an amazing faith. I’m glad she has a strong church family and many women who surround her with care and guidance and care. But I hope, when the darkness of doubt comes in the deepness of night, that she will remember this:

Grace, it is your mother’s job to love. You are lovable because of who you are, regardless of who she could not be.

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