This month is National Parenting Month. I always find that humorous, like it's something we need to acknowledge as some sort of new truth in our lives. I am very aware that I am a parent. I have been parenting for nearly 24 years. I have been changing diapers for 20 of those 24 years. I have made meals, wiped noses, cleaned up vomit and poop. I've held out my hands to catch children jumping in the pool, pull children who shouldn't have jumped into the pool out of the pool, accept the deposit of gum that wasn't supposed to be chewed, to receive hugs and to point in the right direction. The thing is...we all have. So why do we proclaim this National Parenting Month? Why is it significant? Is it just another awareness thing I need to support with a particular ribbon pinned to my overalls?
Officially this month was created to "help the public better understand the role parents play in the development of their children." I generally don't like "awareness" stuff. I even have a hard time with Mother's Day because...HELLO...I am that same mom all the rest of the year too (for better or for worse). But there are those moments, those break down moments, when mamas themselves need to better understand the role they play in the development of their children. With all we do we can still feel overwhelmed, underappreciated, exhausted, frustrated, elated AND in tears at the same time and just plain OVER. IT. We wonder, as soon as their feisty little wills start exerting themselves, if anything we do will have a positive impact on our children's lives. While mothering is one of the most beautiful and fulfilling jobs on the planet, it can bring us to our knees like nothing else. It is good for us to be reminded of the importance of our constant investments into the hearts and minds of our children, not so we can rise up and call ourselves blessed, but so that we can find refreshment for the long hard journey ahead.
Something marvelous has happened to me TWICE at Trader Joes. Not only have I found amazing food and receive wonderful customer service, I found healing. Okay, yes, I am sort of a "peace, love, brown rice" kind of person, but while strange things were afoot at the Circle K, amazing blessings took place at TJ's. It had been a hard day. I was actually at the store without any of my children! With the number of mouths I have to feed in my family the check out clerks often assume I'm stocking up for the month when I'm just buying for the week. Sometimes they ask how many children I have, sometimes they don't. But somehow I always end up saying something about our large family, adoption or foster care after I mention how big my family actually is. It's usually casual and fun. I hear a lot of stories from the checkers about how they thought about doing foster care, or their parents or some other relative adopted...makes for easy conversation.
While the checker and I talked and after she stopped staring at me when I said 9 children, she rang her bell, whispered to a courtesy clerk and continued to ring up my groceries. Moments later the clerk returned with a bouquet of flowers for me! I was stunned and started getting teary eyed. In fact as I write this happy tears are stinging my eyes. She thanked me for being a mom. She made my day. Yes, I knew I was leaving the tranquil place that houses my favorite oriental rice crackers and heading back willingly to the lion's den I call home, but this woman thanked me for cleaning up the poop and giving the hugs and saying "no" when necessary and cheering louder than anyone and crying secretly in my room because one of my children told me they hate me and that I'm not their mom or they wish they had another mom... She thanked me for being.
So, happy National Parenting Month. If no one gets them for you then get yourself a bunch of flowers (or a box of chocolate or just plug your years for 30 seconds for at least a little peace and quiet) and know that the work we do IS important and the investment we make into the lives of our children IS worth it EVEN IF they can't/won't/don't receive it. Get out of the closet, uncurl from the fetal position, and go hug your child...unless they're sleeping then for goodness sake let them sleep!
Many blessings in Christ!
Orthodox Mother's Prayer for Her Children
Holy Father, Immortal, from whom all goodness and gentleness comes, penitently I pray Thee for the children whom Thou hast given me to bear. Keep them in Thy grace and holiness, that Thy name may be glorified in them. Direct me by Thy grace to raise them toward the glory of Thy holy name and the benefit of other people. Grant me the gift of the patience necessary to do so. O Lord, enlighten the mind of my children with Thy Wisdom to learn to love Thee in their souls and thoughts. Instill in their hearts the fear and abhorrence of every vice, that they may be able to go the right way without sin. Adorn their souls with purity, goodness, humility, diligence, patience, and every virtue. Guard their lips from all slander and lies. Bless my children, that they may progress in virtue and holiness, and grow under Thy care into honest people. May their guardian angels be with them and protect them in their youth from misleading thoughts, from the evil and sinful temptations of this world, and from the traps of all unclean spirits. And when my children sin before Thee, do not turn away Thy face from them, but according to Thy great mercy be merciful unto them, for Thou alone art the one who cleansesth people from all sin. Reward my children with worldly good things and everything they need for salvation. Keep them from wrath, anger, misfortune, evil, and suffering all the days of their lives. O good Lord, I pray Thee, grant me joy and happiness from my children. Keep me in righteousness and justice, that with Thy children I may stand before Thee in the day of Thy dreaded judgment, and that without fear I may say: Here I am, Lord, with the children whom Thou hast given me, that together with them I may praise Thy most holy name of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit, unto ages of ages. Amen.
Found Here: http://www.saintgregoryoutreach.org/2011/12/mothers-prayer-for-children.html