By Samuel Keating
For my daughter Audrey’s first birthday, my wife and I planned to have a small celebration with a few friends and family members at home; instead we ended up with a cupcake-themed extravaganza at the restaurant her grandparents manage. Admittedly, it was probably more for everyone else’s benefit. Audrey spent much of the time observing the proceedings warily from the safety of someone’s arms and flatly refused to pose for photos by her lone candle, despite (or because of) much encouragement to do so.
People talk about how fast time flies, and I feel it really does. Maybe that’s because I’m getting older. When I was a child, days, weeks, and months—not to mention years—seemed to pass so slowly; now it seems like only a few weeks ago that I first met Audrey. I remember that day so well, along with all my first impressions and emotions as I watched the nurse give Audrey her first bath, and then her falling asleep in my arms for the first time.
Before she was born, I often heard parents talk about the joys of having children, but I wasn’t convinced. I believed those parents truly thought they were happy, but I didn’t understand how. Weren’t their lives more stressful, tiring, and hectic than before? Didn’t they have less free time? Weren’t they embarrassed by their children turning over a plate of food, frazzled by their children’s whininess when they were tired, annoyed by their clinginess or repeated petty disobediences? I was sure I would be. While I enjoyed being around other people’s children, I felt I valued my time and comfort too much to ever have any of my own.
Now, however, I can’t imagine my life without Audrey. Every smile, every peal of laughter, every new discovery she makes, every new toy she masters, every animal sound she learns fills me with deep happiness and gratitude for her presence in my life. Her latest discovery is that a piercing shriek is an effective way to get my attention when she wants me to play with her or read her a book, but even that doesn’t take away from the love I feel for her or the happiness she brings.
Article and photo courtesy of Activated magazine.
Motherhood may have its ups and downs, but when we stop to focus on what is truly great, truly important, truly wonderful in this world, one thing that most people will always have at or near the top of their list is the wonder of mothers.
How do mothers do it? What is the secret of that seemingly boundless patience, endurance, and love that seems to keep reviving again and again in spite of anything that life throws at it?
Here are some of my thoughts about mothers—things that mothers do, or are, that make them so special.
and sorrow of those in your care. It costs in battling their fears on top of your own and
worrying as your children fall again and again. It costs in trying to muster a little more
strength when yours is gone, yet more is needed to lift those who are looking to you
for strength. It costs when hope seems gone, yet you know that you cannot let go for
their sakes, and you hope against hope until you see them back on their feet.
It is far beyond defining,
It defies all explanation;
And it still remains a secret
Like the mysteries of creation.
A many-splendored miracle
Man cannot understand,
And another wondrous evidence
Of God’s tender guiding hand.
b. Balancing moral standards with compassion and mercy that teaches them forgiveness and tolerance, coupled with a conviction for what is true and right.
c. Prayer, faith, and trust as an integral part of our relationship with our children.
d. The example of trust and faith that we show in how we react to the heartaches that come into our life and into the lives of others.
e. The resilience we show when we make mistakes or fail, and the seeking of ways to grow from the experience, so that our children, when they make mistakes, can discover the purpose of them without condemnation.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you feed a stray cat,
and I wanted to be kind to animals.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you make my favorite cake for me,
and I knew that little things are special things.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I heard you pour your heart out to Jesus,
and I knew there is a God I could always talk to.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I felt you kiss me goodnight,
and I felt loved.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw the tears you shed,
and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it's all right to cry.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw that you cared
and I wanted to be everything that I could be.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you react graciously to the difficulties in life,
and I saw that I could do the same and still have joy.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you forgive over and over again,
and I learned the value of forgiveness.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I heard you praying for me,
and I learned how to do it too.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you sacrificing to give to others,
and I learned that you truly gain from giving.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you healing hurts and calming fears,
and now I know how to do it with others.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I learned so many lessons about how to love and give,
and these now bring blessings to me every day.
When you thought I didn’t notice, I saw all the many times you loved and sacrificed,
and I realized that you are the proof that God exists.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I looked …
and wanted to say thanks for all the things I saw,
When you thought I wasn't looking.
The Price of Children
As every parent knows, raising a child is not cheap. However, most of us tend to forget just how much we get in return. This presentation is a good reminder that the cost of having and raising a child is nothing in comparison to how much we get back. Enjoy!
Courtesy of Tommy's Window.
Free Children's Stories