I often dream of the conversations I will have with my children when they are older. I long to have them run to me when their little hearts are broken, I pray that my hugs will always be able to heal their pain at least a little, and I try to remember exactly how I felt at whatever age they are. I have decided that I need to begin a journal of these letters for my children. Not for any morbid reason, like failing health, but simply because I worry that in the moment I may forget just how important my first love was, or how I felt when everyone else was shaving their legs and I couldn't, or the pain of betrayal of a friend that I now know really wasn't all that great of a friend in the first place. I always said, "I would never handle it the way my mother did." But daily I am reminded of how natural her reaction was, I know that it was just an "adult mind" that had forgotten exactly what it was like to be young and still tender.
Although I can pray and try my hardest not to react like that, I know that sometimes I will. I want to make sure that if I mess up in the moment that they will still know the message that has been in my heart all of these years. I long for them to know as teenagers and as adults that this is something that has been developing since they were born. That in the very first moment I saw their tiny bodies on the ultrasound screen I loved them, that the very first time I felt their kick I desired to be their mother, that the very first time I held them in my arms I had already vowed to do whatever it takes to protect them. I want them to know just how strong these feelings are. That no friend, no teacher, no pastor, no one else that they may feel is more influential in their life than I am at that moment has never and will never care about them as much as I do. As I begin these letters I am praying over each and every one. I pray that the words will be understood, that even if they don't want to talk to me face-to-face at times that the words on the page will be alive to them. I want them to truly know that I do understand, that I don't take their feelings or circumstances lightly.
I've begun to realize just how important it is to begin planning for their future. Planning for the days when I'm not the most important person in their life, planning for the days when someone else seems so much smarter than just their "old mom who has to say that", planning for the children they will become one day. I must plan a little because when the time comes if I haven't been planning I will miss out on the opportunities. There is a little box I am making that I stole from a friend. She has a beautiful recipe box filled with recipe cards, not of recipes for meals, but recipes for life. In her box are hundreds of Scriptures written out and categorized. Her children know when they are struggling with someting to go to the box and find a Scripture that deals with that issue. Right now is when I must begin planning for this. I must start before life gets in the way and it never gets done, before my children become too "old" for that sort of thing, or before I miss the opportunity altogether.
Since my son was born four years ago, I have had a strong desire to make traditions. Growing up we did not have any, and it is a longing that I have had since day one for my own family. But I've recently come to realize exactly why these traditions are so important to me. If I do not start making traditions now with my family then we will never have traditions. If I don't start doing the things with them that I want to do when they're older then we will never do it. Eventually, these things that I long to do but have not done already will just become awkward. It will never be the perfect moment, my children will never bring it up, or I'll never be "prepared". So, bypassing all of the things that can hinder my relationship from ever forming, from ever growing, from ever blossoming, I will start that relationship now.
I remember when Maddox was only a year old. I would find all of these super fun things to do with him when he was two or three, always so upset that there was nothing to do with him when he was one. I would store it away in my mind to remember for when he was older, but I don't know how many of those things we have actually done because I don't really remember them. Not only was I missing out on the things I could do with him then, but because I didn't properly prepare for the future I missed out on that as well. Granted, remembering a certain game or museum isn't the end of the world. We still did plenty of fun things together, but how many of our days were spent with me wasting time trying to figure out what to do that day? How many future conversations will be missed because I haven't prepared for them and I need time to think of my answers? How many opportunities to share Scripture with my children will be lost because I can't remember exactly where that verse is? These are the two most important things about my relationship with my children, so these are the two things that I am beginning now.