Spend five minutes with me and I won't be able to NOT talk about my kids. All five of them. Three of them I gave birth to, two of them I've welcomed into my heart as though I did. They are the center of my world. Every time I've wanted to give up and quit or take the easy road, they are the reason I stuck it out. I work hard to give them a life full of joy and experiences and breathtaking moments. And I know they will not appreciate this until they are older and have children of their own.
But there are moments when they surprise me. Recently, all seven of us went to church and all the kids participated in Sunday School. The topic for that day was all about sharing kindness. They spent the time painting rocks and writing the words "kindness" and "share kindness" on them. I wish I had a picture with me, but I'm on a business trip right now so I'll have to share it with you later.
Anyway, the whole concept of these rocks is that you paint them, make the note on them and place them where another a person can find it. It will be a reminder to them to share kindness with someone else. Hopefully, they'll hide the rock themselves for another to find, but maybe they'll put it on their dresser or their desk or another place where they'll see it everyday and have a reminder that kindness is meant to be shared.
The other night, I went to bed as usual, read a couple of chapters in my current book and turned off the light. As is my habit, I rolled onto my left side and tucked my left arm up and under my pillow. I felt something hard. I sat up and reached under the pillow and pulled out a bright red rock that said "Share Kindness." I smiled. I put it on my bedside table and fell asleep.
The next day, we were out (with all five kids) at Home Depot, getting supplies to start working on our hard (hooray for Spring) when I remembered the rock.
"Who put the kindness rock under my pillow?" They all stared at me blankly. I realized that they probably thought they were in trouble (which made me wonder, do I do nothing but scold and yell? But that's for another post...) and I quickly assured them that I thought it was very sweet and it made me smile.
I had assumed that the rock had been put there by one of the younger kids. Ages 6, 5, and 5, they were the most likely (adorable) culprits but imagine my surprise when my 13 year old raised her hand. My heart leapt. My beautiful, brave girl put a rock under my pillow to remind me to share kindness because she thought it would make me smile.
I hugged her, probably longer than acceptable in teenage time, but I didn't care. I kissed her head and told her thank you. This morning, I read a post from Yarn Harlot (Stephanie Pearl-McPhee) as she documented what it was like to watch her daughter give birth. I cried. Because I cannot imagine that. Right now, my girl is 13 and not admitting that there are boys that she likes in school, navigating junior high and being all around awesome.
She has been through more than her fair share of crap. The death of her dad, changing schools and neighborhoods more frequently than I would have liked, people coming in and out of our lives, sometimes in a confusing and painful way, but here she is. And can I just tell you... she inspires me.
I often look at her and wonder how it all happened. How my baby girl has turned in a young lady. How she has gotten almost as tall as I am (which isn't much of an accomplishment, but still, I'm an inch taller than her). How she has been so brave and courageous and ready for anything. You would be lucky to know her. I know I am.
So anyway, here I am, sitting in a hotel room, missing my kids and thinking about my girl and how lucky I am to be her mama. Give me all the mood swings, all the eye rolls, and all the typical teenage antics in the world, God. I'll take them. Because I get to be her mama.
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