What I Really Needed to Know About Motherhood, I Learned from My Mom

I’m here visiting my parents and hanging out with my children. We’ve all been trying to catch up on our rest–my parents from their 2 weeks of 4 small grandchildren–and me from all the traveling.

I am just so thankful for my parents. As many women are poring over parenting books, trying to figure out how to “be a good mom”, I haven’t bothered to do that much of that. Yes, I realize I’m far from perfect, but I don’t think any of us are. I was greatly blessed though. I had a great example of motherhood to learn from, so I pretty much try to parent the way my mother did.

Growing up, we never once worried about whether or not our parents loved and cared for us. We knew they did. They told us, and they showed us. We were not wealthy, by the world’s standards, but we never did without anything that we needed. I never realized how many children think that they have to earn their parents’ love until I watched American Idol, about 8 years ago.

Did you watch those kids that would try out for the show? And by kids, I do mean 19 year olds. Over and over, I would hear them say, “I just want my dad to be proud of me,” or “I just want to make my mom happy.”

I never wanted to disappoint my parents either, but I wasn’t desperately trying to make them proud of me. I just knew that they were. They told me that all the time. I didn’t have to do anything extra to earn that.

I’m thankful my boys have gotten to spend the last two weeks with my parents. I feel like it’s just so good for them all–both the boys and my parents. The boys learn, and my parents–well, the boys keep them young. The first three babies always followed Grandaddy around, and he rocked them to sleep in his recliner many a night. Those memories will make me smile for the rest of my life.

John David loves Granddaddy too, but he has completely attached himself to Nana, and when I say attached, I mean he followed my mom as devotedly as he follows me, and JD is a clingy little thing. Nana enjoyed it, I’m sure. I know he stole some of her sleep and kept her on her toes– “Is the bathroom door open? ¬†Quick! Close it! Close it!” (JD would love nothing more than to get his hands into that toilet.)

Actually, all four boys kept both of my parents on their toes. It’s quite a job, which you can’t fully appreciate until you try it. After a week of doing the boys’ laundry, and allowing Joshua to help her figure out whose clothes were whose, Mom noticed that Joshua had 13 pairs of shorts in his drawer, while Caleb had none.

“Joshua, are all of these shorts yours?”

“Yes, those are all mine.”

“Are you sure, because you have 13 pair, and Caleb’s drawer is empty.”

“Yes, those are mine. I wear all of those.”

Nana probably asked Joshua where Caleb’s were, and he probably told her that he just didn’t know.

*Sigh* See, the thing is that yes, Joshua does wear all of those shorts. So does Caleb. They are the same size and share all of their outfits. Nana divided the stack in half, and delivered some shorts back to Caleb’s drawer.

I flipped through Mom’s camera today to discover photos of JD riding Dad’s lawnmower, on Dad’s lap. Adorable. There were pictures of Caleb sitting in a chair, boldly labeled “Birthday Boy.” Mom took photos of the boys sitting at the library, reading. She also had a few of the boys just goofing around in the living room. I feel like I missed so much!

Oh, and Daniel called me “Nana” all day yesterday. I must have corrected him 100 times. “Mommy, Dan. I’m Mommy.”

“No, you Nana, and (pointing at my mom) you Nana. You bof Nana.” *giant grin and giggles* Dan is the funniest guy he knows.

I feel like I’ve busted up a party, in a way, but at least they do all seem very happy to see me.

Time goes by so terribly quickly. I’m going to cherish these bonds that my children have had with their grandparents for the rest of my life. Perhaps that was an unspoken extra benefit of the military life. Sure, if we’d lived closer, the boys might have seen our family more often, but would they have ever lived at their grandparents’ houses for weeks and months at a time? That has happened several different times over the years, between moves and deployments.

Tonight I feel so very thankful. I’m thankful for the example of motherhood that my mom set for me. I was never a rebellious teenager. I was a teen with an attitude, for sure, but I never wanted to rebel or go against my parents’ wishes. When I was in high school, my friends knew that I wasn’t interested in chasing trouble or going to drinking parties. No one ever bothered me about that. Teenage anger and rebellion was not my thing.

Alan was the same way. Perhaps when you come from a stable, loving home, there is no need to rebel. My greatest hope is that God will bless us in that way too. I pray that Alan and I will also have non-rebellious teenagers. I pray that our children will always feel loved, but also respect us enough to not want to hurt us.

I pray I will be as good a mom and grandma as my mom is. Thanks so much, Mom and Dad. I love you.

**Funny Dan**

Daniel: Where are the toys? (bath toys)

Nana: Joshua must have taken them out when he took his bath.

Dan: Him took a bath?

Nana: HE took a bath.

Daniel: Him took a bath.

Nana: Can you say HE took a bath?

Daniel: Yes, him did. Bof of us took a bath.