Following the sermon on generosity Sunday, I found myself reflecting quite a bit on how we are called as parents to give. Without ceasing. Every day. How often do we feel drained at the end of the day because we have given and given and given. We often feel that there is not enough to go around.
Anyone else feel like it’s a continuous game of “zone” defense? You know, when the giver is often outnumbered by the takers?
What…you don’t have little takers running around the house?
Mama, I need milk.
Mama, need napkin.
Mama, need ‘nuggles? (Ok, so this one doesn’t count as “taking”…am I right?)
Mama….waaaawaawaw!!!! I got ooowwie!!!
Mama, brother needs time out!
Mama, do puzzles?
Mama, I like watch songs?
Mama, let’s do “Happy Day” again?
Mama, I tired.
…and the list goes on.
One morning this week, it felt like an hour from the time I got the boys up, changed their diaper, negotiated clothing options, put on chosen attire, loaded up the cadre of stuffed animal friends and blankies, carried our seriously tough looking posse down the stairs, flipped on Curious George, cut up the bananas, toasted the waffles, chose the correct colored plates and character-themed milk cups, rinsed the blueberries, selected the yogurt flavor of the day, called the crew up to the breakfast table, snapped them in, pushed them in, presented 3 different spoon options…to the time I finally sat down to a quick bite of banana for myself.
Of course, the exact moment my rear hit the seat…
Mama, I need more milk?
You need more milk _____ ?
Peees. Definitive nod.
Ok, sweetie. Just a minute.
How often do we give so much of ourselves as parents that we forget to nourish ourselves. I will be the first to admit I do not always give with joy and gratitude in my heart every.single.minute. It is hard. I’m often exhausted. I often want to throw a pity party for myself.
I remember talking to a dear friend shortly after my boys were born. She had just had her third child, and I had just gone from exactly zero to two. I was overwhelmed and trying to pick her brain to see how she managed with three. She told me something that still resonates with me…
The first child is the hardest. That is when you learn to become a parent. You learn to be selfless. The rest are a piece of cake after that.
Two-and-a-half years later, I think it’s safe to say I’m still working on that selfless thing.
So, I’m grateful for the current sermon series on generosity. I know I need this reminder of the connection between a parent’s love for a child and God’s love for all of us. Maybe for some of us, it is when we constantly give of ourselves to our children that we come closest to mirroring God’s love for us. (Talk about zone defense. I think two-on-one at times is tough!)
And, while my kids are just toddlers and rarely sit me down to express their most sincere thanks for a perfectly toasted waffle, I imagine that, for most of us, our generosity goes without thanks many days. Perhaps we, as adults, can do a better job of being grateful for the constant giving we receive. Maybe that gets us one step closer to that “selfless” thing. One step at a time.
Dear Lord, Thank you for always giving. Help us to pass along your Gift to others in our life. Amen.