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What happened when I invited my kids into my world

“Mom, what were you talking about?”

“Mom, what are you doing?”

“Nothing,” I quickly blurt out, disregarding their questions.

This is a common interaction between the kids and I as we go about our days.

Sure, with homeschooling we are together most days, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to quality time where we are intersecting worlds. I have realized that often times I immerse myself so deeply into their worlds and I don’t allow them into mine.

I understand and can appreciate the importance of conversations amongst adults only. There are times when I am refreshed through cherished moments with a friend, laughing (or crying) about the busyness of our lives and the challenges of our current season, or getting real and sharing from the deepest places of our souls.

But, I so often dismiss the questions, refuse conversations that would give my children a better understanding of my life, and unknowingly reject their desire to know me not only as their mom, but as God’s creation. They want to hear “the funny stories that make me laugh”, “stories from when I was their age”, “what I’m spending my time working on”, and the list could continue. Basically, they just want to be let into MY world.

Of course they are not completely ignorant to these aspects of my life. As a family we know one another in unique and real ways, but I rarely share unsolicited parts of myself with them.

Part of why I balk at sharing is because it takes intentionality with my time. After being submerged into their world, I just want to escape into my space for a time.

Recently, as we were casually going about our day, the boys inquired as to what I was doing.  Instead of quickly providing my curt go-to answer of “nothing”, I instead decided to allow them to enter my world.  This happened to be at the end of our quiet time.  The time in the afternoon when each of us find a space to read, or for the younger kids, to play quietly for 30 minutes. Some days this is successful and other days it’s time to throw up my hands and say maybe tomorrow. 🙂

On this day, I couldn’t believe it when I realized that all four kids seemed to be “quiet” during “quiet time”.  Without hesitating I grabbed my laptop and loaded a teaching I had been eager to watch.  As I mentioned in a previous post I am being intentional about pursuing one of my dreams.  Recently, I enrolled in on-line training classes so that I can learn, grow, be challenged and find community. My notebook, filled with rich notes, was still out and I was sitting with my computer on my lap as the older boys hastened downstairs to investigate as to what I was doing.

In that moment I chose to invite them in.  I shared what I was learning and why.  “I want to be a….”, I stated, and shared this deep, hidden dream that I have only allowed myself to reveal to a handful of others.  I had no expectations as to what their reaction would be, since I hadn’t planned to share this with them.  Boy was I surprised!

I might as well have proclaimed, “I plan to go to the moon!”

“Really?” they shouted with excitement!  “That’s so cool!” they exclaimed. Then they began to talk about all of the things I was going to do and accomplish.  I sat in stunned amazement, realizing their dreams were far grander than mine, their faith much greater.

Their enthusiasm was contagious!  Moments of discouragement have certainly invaded my journey, thoughts of insecurity have threatened to destroy this desire, lack of time and energy have made me consider giving up, yet the excitement from by boys, in this moment, ignited a desire within me to share more of my world with them.

There are several reasons I am delighted that I extended this invitation.

1. I want them to see that I’m more like them than they think

I may be their mom, home many days teaching them, transporting them to activities, preparing their meals, but I still have desires and dreams apart from just doing laundry. 🙂 It makes me think of one of my favorite scenes in the movie Notting Hill. Julia Roberts is standing in front of Hugh Grant and says, “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.” Although she was an international movie star, she was reminding him that she was in reality “just a girl”.  I want my kids to understand this.  I’m just a girl.  A girl who messes up daily and has to work hard to do well at something.  A girl who loves to eat chocolate and watch a good movie.  A girl who loves being a mom and also loves a break!  🙂

2. I want them to see that I have to work hard

This revelation is not only one I hope they will see, but one I need to grasp as well. As I harp on them about completing their school work, working out new math concepts and continuing on with their assignments, even when they’re fatigued, I realize that I have suddenly entered their world. A place filled with challenges, new information, and the difficulty in understanding and implementing new ideas. A greater understanding of what they experience during our school time has resulted in a relatability I believe we all needed; student AND teacher.

3. I want them to see that I don’t know it all and am unsure at times, intimidated even

I don’t know it all.  This is clear as day any time Drew attempts to quiz me using his study guides for Quiz Club. Not only do I NOT know it all, I would be ecstatic if I could correctly answer one of these ridiculously, challenging questions! Recently, Drew returned from a quiz tournament and walked through the door, holding, in his hands, a valuable stack of papers that he would be able to use to prepare for his competitions. His coach had gifted him with previous tournament questions. Without my consent, Andy began quizzing us, involving Drew and I in a head to head battle. I quickly realized that I was unable to come up with educated guesses so I began throwing out the most outlandish answers I could think of. Drew laughed and laughed and I delighted in the fact that my oldest finds pleasure in learning, reading, and gaining knowledge. It’s clear to Drew that I certainly don’t know it all when it comes to trivia, but I hope he and his siblings realize there are so many other areas in which I need to grow. They are learning. I am learning. We are all learning together.

4. I want them to see that I dream

Mundane life is not useless or something to wish away. In fact, some of my greatest blessings have come in the ordinary, routine days, but I need, I desire, for my kids to realize that they have permission to go for it! As God places goals, passions and dreams on their hearts I don’t want them to hesitate. I want them to move forward in obedience wherever He leads. Oh, the joy, the excitement, that dreaming brings along with it. I want my children to experience the overwhelming wonder and awe that accompanies pursing and living their dreams. Growing up, my dream was to be a wife, mom, and teacher. To realize I am now living that dream instills in me a gratefulness I cannot even begin to express to the Lord. As the Lord impresses more dreams upon my heart, I want to share them with my family and with others.

5. I want them to be a part of the journey

Now that I have revealed this aspiration to the boys, we discuss it almost daily. It seems to come up in conversation very naturally. It’s become a part of our normal, every day talks. This hope and desire that seems so huge to me, does not faze them. They have given me the courage to treat this goal as anything else in life. “Just take it one day at a time,” they seem to say. This dream, in their mind, is now a part of our life.

I love that they will be with me along the journey.

I love that they are my biggest cheerleaders.

And

I love that they will be there to see this dream unfold.

I am so glad I invited my boys into my world.

 I want to continue inviting my children into my world, so that our lives are intertwined in a deep and meaningful way, and so that as I consider the legacy I leave behind, my children will know who their mother truly was.

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