Sunday, January 13, 2019

Building with my boys has made me a better mom.

Firstly, in writing this I am throwing no shame on any other moms. Just talking about how I feel within my relationship with my boys. Nothing else. M’kay? Moving on.

L and J have reached that age where toys like legos and model airplanes dominate our house. They are super creative, and while they enjoy following directions and building something that is part of a “set” they also love digging around in the bins and building all sorts of wild and frankly impressive creations out of their heads. Everything we have we have acquired used (except for a few that were presents, were built once and then went into the bins.

Admittedly, when I look at the bins, and the scattered bits as they dig and search for that particular piece, I sometimes really wish I could be that pinterest mom with the “Ikea lego storage hacks” and the label maker.

Granted, while I do have a label maker, I get a little slack as the nearest Ikea is over 1,300 miles away….in another country.

They are still young enough that they, in part, need adult help to make certain things, and sometimes I think they just want to spend that time sat on the floor or at the table getting messy with mom or dad.
I will be the first to admit that structural engineering, spatial awareness, print reading…any of that kind of thing, is REALLY not my forte. I am also really bothered when I do something and it doesn’t quite come out as it “should”. And though the current state of my house may attest to a different ethos, I much prefer tidiness and organization makes me calmer.

All these things combined make it quite a challenge for me to participate fully even when the sweet little boy voice says: Mom can you help me with this?

God is teaching me. I am growing through my boys. Despite the discomfort, I am learning it is okay to have legos turn up in every corner of the house, and have half-finished projects lying around in baking trays (the only way I have found to keep the pieces we have gathered together).

Patience, allowing the imperfect to pass because it brings joy, thinking outside the box, and being content with the simple.

We have even had lessons in economics, and in genuine vs fake. We acquired some fake legos, which bore the logo “Lebqu” on the little display plate. They look ALMOST like legos, but the colors are a bit off, and they don’t stick together like they should. We have since watched a couple of really great lego documentaries that explain why this is so.

So, now we use the lebequ as examples of why it is good to buy less of a more expensive product if the quality is better than the cheaper brand. We also talk about how sometimes seems okay, but when it comes under scrutiny, whether it is a person, a job or an item, the genuine article is a better investment. 

It has become a saying in our house. “Remember the Lebqu!”

Blessings of a community which prays

“Pray over them each morning, even if you can just carve out a couple of minutes right before they head out the door. Ask them what they want God to do for them that day, and see how He answers that request during the day.”

Not your average prescription from a doctor in the US. But this is exactly, amongst other things, what was suggested we do for our boys recently.

Liam and Julien are awesome kids who have taken their parents call to missions in stride from our first in-person meeting with our then recruiters (pic of me with Liam) – to give fair dues to the rather unflattering picture of me, if I recall correctly Liam was maybe a month old at this time.
Through the different church nursery practically every Sunday for over a year with lots of strangers…
To the leaving of the familiar, and giving them a peculiar paradigm of home forever starting at 18 months and 2 years old.

Yes, our boys have gone through many, many transitions in their young lives. Not all of them pleasant, many of them hard enough to make even grownups cry.
They have had to say goodbye to friends, knowing they may never see them again. They continue to have to do this – This week,  Liam had to say this kind of good bye to a friend who he calls his “second best friend”, and whose family has been a source of comfort and friendship for all of us.  His “best friend” left a few months ago.

That is the nature of living in a mission community.
One challenge we have been working through is having two children who are brilliant but have some learning difficulties. We are working through various ideas and aides with the school, with their doctor and on our own. I have a list started of things to look into the next time we are in the US on furlough.

In the meantime, I am continually impressed and encouraged by the others in our community that care for us and our boys. Teachers who pray with us when we have meetings at the school, or sometimes in the store when they see us and ask how things are going. Administrators who e-mail after seeing one of our sons crying after school, to make sure he was okay and ask if there was anything he could do to help. Friends who offer advice, tutoring or just prayers and sympathy.

My Job...

You know those cute fill-in forms kids sometimes get at school around Mother’s Day or Father’s Day? Like this one here.

Notice, that one question somewhere in the middle that says: For work she  _______.
For the last couple of years now, the boys will bring these home as a gift for me for Mother’s Day, and under that question I have gotten various answers: dishes, works on the computer, reads…

Yes, all of those fall under my job description.

I do dishes. Sometimes I do them very grudgingly. Sometimes it is good to stand there and to pray, let my mind wander, laugh at a podcast, all the while not really thinking about the mechanics of what I am doing.

I work on the computer and read. I read for pleasure, always have done. But I also read for my job. I am currently reading through a list of books and articles as part of my training as an anthropology consultant.

I also write up short papers on these books, read online articles, write e-mails, respond to supporters, send out newsletters composed largely by Evan, post updates on our facebook group…many, many things on the computer.

But all this is the in-between. It is my job, and it isn’t. It is the fill-in parts. The part of my job I do when I’m not making food for, cuddling with, tucking in, praying with, building legos, drawing pictures, reading to, hustling out the door, wiping tears, bandaging wounds, laughing with…my kids.

They and the home we live in…along with Evan and making sure he is able to do what God has called him to do…that’s my job.

And I really hope that even though they put down other things for my job, that in the end my boys will be able to say when asked the question, what did you mom do? “She tried her best at being our mom.”