What is a REAL Parent?

I leave on Saturday for a two week visit to New York.  While I am there I will be mainly spending time on my two children.  My visit is one of love.  Sometimes a statement like that may appear simple and easy to gloss over.  Sometimes a statement particularly one about love has a much more profound resonance to it.

My visit is one of love.

realmothering

Brianna, Dustin, Me, Brandon

The fact that love is simple does not mean it is small or insignificant.  I will always remember these words spoken to me by a loving mother, “There is nothing like a mother’s love.”  Once I became a mother I knew the words were profoundly true.  It isn’t the greatest love there is but I think it may be the greatest human love there is.  Yet, while I write this I am aware of several facts.  I am aware that some people would disagree.  I am aware that some men would say that fatherly love is just as strong.  I am aware that some would vehemently argue that just because one is a mother or a father doesn’t mean that they instantly love their children.  I am so sadly aware of those who have had a ‘mother’ in the sense that they lived with one who gave birth to them but they in fact were not loved.  It is a fact that often tortures my mind because I cannot get my head around it.  It was hard enough to understand this before I was a mother but I found it impossible to understand it once I became a mother.  How??  All of my experience, facts, logic of what I tend to think I know about the world…about mental illness suddenly disappears as I cannot conceive of a fact that some children are cruelly treated by their own mothers.  That some children are mistreated…abused…tortured in body and spirit.  How does it happen?  I don’t have a degree in psychology.  I also don’t think that having a degree in psychology or mental illness will help me understand what would cause a ‘mother’ to do unspeakable things.

In past posts I have shared about my idea of ‘being real’.  I have written about becoming real when I wrote ‘When We Become Real’ and I wrote about ‘Being REAL in Sibling Relationships’ but what makes a REAL parent?  Who do we call Mother or Father or Mommy or Daddy?  There is a time perhaps when we are small where we are made to call our parent one of these or similar titles but once we are adults many will only continue to call their parents one of these titles if the parents have earned the right in the child’s eyes to be called so.

There are others too who raise children as their own though they are not biologically theirs.  These amazingly special people truly earn the right to be called Mom and Dad because they LOVE.  They love in spirit and in action.  They nurture, listen, teach, help, comfort, feed, clothe, go out of their way to make special memories for them, work hard and then spend most of their wages on them, pick them up from parties when they are feeling too tired to drive, advise them, entertain them at their birthday parties,  confer with their teachers about them and pray for them….These parents always see the child’s true potential.  They take the time to know them.  They forgive every outburst and naughty action because forgiveness is a huge part of love.  These REAL parents never give up on them.  These real parents never stop loving them.  These real parents also model real love to them.  They plant a seed of genuine loving kindness within their children which grows and expands.  It is the greatest gift one can impart to a child….the expansive gift of love and knowledge of how to love.

puppet

My husband Jim entertaining at Brianna’s birthday party

Loving others may not always come easy to all of us.  If we weren’t given love, then love is not something that is easy to tap into.  Joyfully, it is not impossible.  It can be tapped into and if you persevere with learning how to love, it grows and expands.  Never believe that you already know how to love.  There is no plateau to love.  Keep trying…keep growing…the love grows and the joy of loving grows with it.  Do not believe the lie that you will get hurt therefore you mustn’t love in order to protect yourself.  Love is worth the hurt it sometimes brings.  In time, you will find that no one can hurt you.  Love has grown bigger within you than the fear of being hurt.   With God, it becomes easier.  Oh?  Haven’t you heard that God IS love?  Another simple statement that is not so small.  The truth is deeper than the simplicity of how it reads.

God IS love.

Note: While I am away, I will taking a hiatus from blogging.  I will return about the second week of April.

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