I’m enjoying a book called The Rhythm of Family by Amanda and Stephen Soule. As I was reading Amanda’s writings about canning and crafting and all sort of creative and beautiful activities, I was comparing my efforts of past years, when my kids were young.
And I found myself weighed in the balance and found wanting – can you relate? Could we all just stop doing that? I stopped myself with a positive “yeah, but . . .”
Yeah, but my kids made a hammock in the top of a tall oak tree, forts in the woods, ships on the creek, trains in the garage. They made up and wrote stories about the local rabbit family and buried and hunted treasure, caught and lost crawdads and lizards, and slew as well as drew great dragons.
They loved and were loved by an oddity of a dog. He seemed odd to us, that is, but to him his behavior was absolutely normal. I’ll share more about this dog in a moment, but back to my kids’ having a childhood – maybe they didn’t live on the ocean in Maine and maybe their mom wasn’t the craft queen of the universe. But she made them homemade fingerpaints when it was raining, and turned grape juice into popsicles when it was hot, and they know how to make artisan breads, and what a snake smells like when you get too close while you’re picking blackberries.
They still remember reading Timothy Tattercoat on a quilt in the shade with a thermos of iced tea and peanut butter on saltines. And through Timothy, a desire was instilled in their hearts to live where he lived, in the mountains of Colorado.
I mentioned our old dog, Buster, who died by the way, chasing a car, and as we told the kids – he died instantly as his head connected with a fast-moving fender, and it was probably painless.
Buster was better at chasing cows – they and he knew who and what he was.
We were walking in the country a long way from home one day and we came upon a pasture full of cows, in the corner farthest fro m the road. Buster went across the pasture, herded those cows to the opposite end of the field and they did exactly as he bade them. He was the boss of these big and theretofore unknown cows.
Not so Chihuahuas. There was a lady who walked her three chihuahuas past our house every day. Benjamin, age 7 then, called her Mrs. Chawalla. I guess Buster thought her dogs were giant rabies-infested rats – he was terrified and hid under the back porch and cried every day when they went by.
As for snakes, he would step on or over them and not even see them. Amazing. But when it came to doing what he was created to do, he meant business. He knew who he was. He was a cowdog. An Australian Shepherd.
We come to know who we are when we grasp that great truth that we are created in the image of God, who is Love, and we are therefore, when being our true selves, LOVE.
Which means – aha! – that I can rejoice in and admire the strengths and successes of other moms, and perhaps even emulate them in some areas; I can look back with appreciation for what I did right and ABSOLUTELY forget about what I might have done differently; and I can do a great service to my kids now, whatever their ages, by modeling the rest and contentment that comes from knowing who and Whose I am.
What a way to live!