The lessons in life are never ending. I am learning to look at myself as a forever student. I truly learn something new everyday, whether about myself, about life, about others, or a random fact – I never stop learning. My teachers originate from the world around me, my environment, my home, others, my mistakes, my successes, books, my failures, the successes and failures of others – you name it! Life’s teachers are all around! I have only to keep an open mind that is eager and ready to learn.
Some of my greatest lessons have come from my children. Who knew that my 13, 11, and 9 year olds could teach me such profound life lessons. My kids have taught me things about myself, that I did not realize, nor would I have realized had it not been for their influence on my life. In my quest to be, not a good mother, but a great mother, I find that this comes from having a great social-emotional connection with my children – which I do, for the most part. But then I looked at my kids, really looked at them. They were starving for affection. Don’t I give you enough love? Where am I falling short? Is it because Dad and I are divorced? Is it living in a single parent household? What is it? I couldn’t answer any of the questions, so I asked them. Of course they said to me: We feel loved. You give us lots of love. Blah, blah, blah… I was forced to look deeper. Introspection – I love it but I hate it. Well, a mix of introspection and watching my children. Now, all of my children are super sweet kids! (I’m not just saying this because I’m Mommy to them either.) However, in watching my youngest, I realized a need for connection. She would come to me, and just do a lay on me type hug. I would hug/hold her for about 15-20 seconds before I was like, “Okay, go.” Finally, it dawned on me, This child needs love!
I left for Basic Combat Training right after she turned 2 years old. She was left with her Dad, to whom she was not attached. She had been solely attached to me. Then, seven months later we reunite, only to have me deploy in about three months. Talk about traumatic! Admittedly, I returned different. Not quite affectionate. Not quite emotional. Definitely not the Mom the kids remembered.
I began holding her as long as she needed, as long as I needed! I began holding her when she was cranky and being mean to her older brother and/or sister. As we know, a Mother’s touch is soothing. A Mother’s touch is calming. A Mother’s touch is healing. There is no touch quite like a Mother’s touch… As I began to watch her and her older siblings, I learned that they all benefited from being held. I did too. My eldest told me the other day that my embrace was calming.
I questioned myself, What is it within me, that isn’t comfortable embracing my own children? I did – before… Before the Army, before the war, before I became unsure of myself… And here’s the one that really got me! The message I heard my whole life, “The problem with you is that you wear your heart on your sleeve.” Well, pouring my heart out, and loving, has only left me abandoned, weak… Surely, there was a truth to it. But looking at my kids, as I began to heal, and take my eyes of off me, I realized, the problem did not rest solely with me. But, my actions, as a result, now was harming the ones I love most in this world. I owed them an apology.
I made a point to be more affectionate, to once again wear my heart on my sleeve. Because, that’s the truest me.
I learned from my sister in Christ the way for blessings to flow: One gives and One receives, both are blessed beautifully. If One throws their hands up in opposition, they block the flow of blessings. I have a problem, admittedly still, with the receiving part. Oh, I will give and give, no problem. I will give until there is nothing left. But to receive – I am unworthy. She told me that I allow my unworthiness to show. But who am I to be so unworthy, when I am the daughter of a King? So, a work in progress, I’m working on that, accepting blessings and things.
Many people have said things to me, pertaining to: God has someone special for you. In fact just yesterday my Aunt said, I pray God sends you a really good man. My typical response: No, I’m content on my own; I’m not looking; I don’t date; or something like that… Yesterday, I simply said, Thank you. My godfather, said to me last week on a day at his home: Sister Jessy, I sometimes forget that you are a southern woman. If you marry again, we’ll have to remind him that he has something special. You’re special for other reasons, but southern women bring a different type of charm. I immediately responded: Oh no, I don’t think that’s going to happen. He said: Well, if it does, we’ll have to remind him. Then conviction hit, and I simply said: Thank you. Feeling embarrassed.
I don’t know what the future holds. I sort of know the desires of my heart – when I am honest with myself. I know that not my will but His will be done in every aspect of my life. I know that to live that way, you better be prepared for the unthinkable! His will! His way! Not mine… That takes a committed heart. That takes trust. Nevertheless, yes.
I’m learning to release my will, and trust Him. I am forever a student. The lessons are all around. I have only to open my eyes.
*Image by SunshineBaby