"The Mothering Chain..."

by Kristi Van Dyk in

There are lots of days when it turns to the magical 8:00 p.m. and my children are in bed that I collapse on the couch and say, "I'm just glad I'm still breathing." These two little gorgeous blondes know how to take it out of their mom like no other job (okay, calling) I've ever had. Other days, I listen to them play (like right now) and hear the love in their voices for each other. I see the independence they are gaining (did you catch that, they're awake, they're playing, I'm BLOGGING with my glass of OJ!!) and say, "How fast did THAT go!!" There are still other moments that catch in my throat, make me swallow a little bit too hard and blink back a flood of tears because it's more than I could ever have hoped for. This past week alone, it seems those tear jerking moments are coming faster and faster and more tightly packed together. I could be overly emotional (a side effect of being a woman AND the holidays, or something) ... but, I'd like to think it's the sort of stuff parents want to see from their kids. Moments like when:

Benjamin wakes up from nap and Kayleigh is still asleep. He sits, quietly, cross legged with his teddy just outside her closed door whimpering her name.

While they're headed downstairs Kayleigh gently takes over my role with her brother, "Benjamin, I'm going to walk so I can help you down the stairs but you must scoot on your bottom. That's a good boy!!"

Kayleigh invites Benjamin to play a game with her and although its WELL BEYOND his level of understanding, she patiently spends a half an hour teaching him anyway ...

OR, right now ... they are sitting in the basement with our wedding photo album, each has a chair at the Mickey table and is munching on granola bars (they already had 2 waffles and OJ this a.m., but they love granola bar snacks). I can hear Kayleigh say, "Ben, who is THIS friend?" Ben replies, "MUMMYY!!" Kayleigh "Good. Now this is Grandma, say it clearly ... GRAND-MA." Ben shouts, "NANA!!" Kayleigh, "Okay, for now ..."

But, the moment that has me in the most complete stage of delirious joy was this mornings "Mothering chain." Kayleigh woke up and immediately went to wake her brother. She greeted him with a hug, stowed his pacifier in his drawer and led him by the hand out to the living room. She gave him a Minnie doll to hug (as she had a Mickey) and said, "You have to take care of the babies, Benjamin. Be VERY careful with them." He immediately stopped holding Minnie by her ears and instead cradled her over his shoulder as his big sister was doing. He patted her back and kissed her ear ... and then an idea hit him ... (a friend of ours recently returned a borrowed baby cradle/rocker. It's sitting in our living room since I haven't packed it away yet). Benjamin ran to the cradle, gently (as gently as a 19 month old boy can) placed Minnie in the cradle, ran to get his blanket, covered her up, kissed her nose and said, "Night Ninnie." He pulled the toys in front of her eyes and started the lullaby songs!!!

I teared up because my little man has picked up on our routine ... he tucked that Minnie in EXACTLY the same way I have tucked him in for the past 18 months of his young life ... and the same way I tuck in his sister for the past 3 years. When he was done tucking in his Minnie, I was brimming with tears over the steaming waffles and Kayleigh was a pleased as punch. She came up behind her brother gave him a great big hug and said, "Benjamin, that was EXACTLY the right way to care for your baby! Good boy! I'm proud of you!"

And there I saw the "Mothering Chain." I mother my kids, who in turn pick up all of the traits of me as a mother (good and bad). It's such a blessing to see them practicing some of those traits in reference to each other AND the things they choose to care about. Mostly, though, I just love knowing that despite my flaws - and how often I lose my temper or do it the wrong way - that God is using my best INTENTIONS to help my kids grow into loving small people.

Sigh ... Now, I'm being summoned to the basement by my daughter. "Mommy, you should really come join us for the DARING adventure!" A daring adventure, how could I pass that up?