As my kids get older, I’m beginning to get a sense of what it will be like when they leave home for good. In the early days of our country, this could cause justifiable fear and anxiety, as mail was sporadic at best, and news of your loved ones could take months or more to reach home. When a mother sent her child off, she had to trust that she’d done her best, and to leave them in God’s hands.
My own mom is a stay-at-home mother who had the task of raising three daughters with completely opposite personalities and interests. But she excelled at it from the start. From the time we were small, she would watch to make sure we ate our veggies, practiced the piano, brushed our teeth, attended church, and made our own beds. She watched over us as we learned different homemaking skills - cooking and cleaning and childcare. But she made it seem fun: I learned simple sewing skills by making clothes for small dolls, and my sisters and I learned to cook by burning up the mixer in over-mixed cookie dough. She took us camping and fishing and hunting. She turned us loose in the backyard every day, and watched us as we learned to play together. It wasn't always harmonious play (remember the opposite personalities), but she watched as we worked out our disagreements with only minimal intervention necessary. She watched us at our school events, our piano recitals, our debate competitions, our church activities. She watched us as we made mistakes and learned from them.
While this childhood was pretty typical, my own children now have an asset in their lives that is definitely more atypical. Their grandmother is the very best of grandmothers. With nine grandchildren living in three different cities, she has managed the impossible task of making each one feel like he/she is her favorite. She is involved in every aspect of their lives; but where I found it intrusive as a teenager, my teenage sons welcome her companionship and advice. I can't say enough how reassuring to me that is. When these kids begin to make their mark on the world, it will be due to her influence, just as it was for me.
With the significant increase in family members and her household tasks, you would think that her capacity to care for me as her daughter would be limited by logistics of time and distance. But she has never stopped watching over me. She still wants to know how I feel and what I'm doing. She watches me work and learn life's hard lessons. She watches over me when I'm in pain, and she watches for me when I need a steadier hand to help. She still loves to watch me play. There have been mothers for thousands of years who have sent their children out into an uncertain world. I believe that a mother's example is truly symbolic of Another's even higher love. I think that the Lord phrased it this way when He sent me to her: "Your mother will watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another" (see Genesis 31:49).