Thursday, February 09, 2012

Late Bloomers


I've never managed to get a firm grasp on where the line is between being selfish about wanting time for "me" and acknowledging the obvious truth that I'm a mother of four kids who require a lot of work and attention.

I love my life, would not want it any other way, and yet I can also admit that motherhood is hard.  Kids don't raise themselves.  When I close my eyes and dream and hope for my children...thinking about the people I want them to become one day, I know that nothing short of hard work and a butt-load of grace and prayer will be needed for the task at hand.  Parenting is difficult.  It takes a lot of time.  More time than I ever feel like I have.  Even on the days when I'm "all in," it stills seems like an awful lot fell through the cracks.  I know loving and shaping our kids will take an awful lot of effort, but I also know that there's this part of me that desires space to grow and flourish in areas outside of being a mommy.  I recognize those two ideas seem to play tug-of-war with each other, yet I still don't always know how to balance that tug.

This week in school our kids had to do a 5 minute presentation about an American artist in front of their class.  Hayden picked his grandmother, Judy Hendrick (Aaron's mom).  She may not be a famous American artist, but she is mighty famous to her grandkids.

I loved this house.

As Hayden was eagerly telling his class about his grandmother and showing off her artwork, I was surprised how emotional I felt.  I blinked back some tears thinking about how thankful I am for Judy's life and her role she plays in our children's lives.  Hayden was beaming with pride as he shared his grandmother with his class.  As a woman and a mother, I was also inspired by her story too.

Aaron fishing with Anson

Aaron's mom did not start pursuing art until 2001.  As a matter of fact, what drove her to her first art class was not a deep-down desire to learn to be an artist.  She signed up for her first art class simply because her friend was teaching the class, and Judy wanted to support and encourage her.

Aaron and Ashton

Judy has drawn or painted pictures of each of our children.  She has captured some of the sweetest moments in her art.  I have zero artistic ability, but art stirs up deep feelings inside of me.  It's been a pleasure to watch Judy's talent blossom over the years.  Her love for art has also inspired our children.  Art is a medium they use daily to express themselves.  It is an inseparable part of their personality, and we owe Judy for awakening that passion in our sons.


I stood in the back of the room watching Hayden excitedly share his grandmother's art and her stories.  I don't know about you, but there are times when I forget that life is made up of a series of seasons.  Some last a long time. Some don't.  I am consistently duped into thinking that the season I am currently in is the only one that ever has been and ever will be.  Four kids.  Educating them.  Helping one of our children through some difficult issues.  Dinner.  Laundry.  Errands.  Marriage. Investing in relationships around me.  Life.  Each of these elements combined make for busy days where I sometimes feel lost and tired in all the needs that surround me.  I feel like I'm helping everyone else grow, aiming for quality time, wanting so much for them, dreaming great big dreams for their lives, and yet I rarely have time to check-in on myself.

Judy's kids were completely grown when she started drawing and painting, and yet art is so much a part of who she is today, I can't imagine her and not immediately think of it.

I listened to Hayden telling the story of his grandmother and let the beauty of all of it wash over me.  Judy's story is inspiring to me as a woman, but there was something extra special about hearing this message come out of my own son's mouth.  One day that precious boy standing in front of his class will grow up.  How is it possible to not want to rush that, to want to pour my love and attention into who he is becoming, and yet be comforted at the same time by the thought that there are endless possibilities for what lies on the horizon when the season of intimately caring for our children has ended.


Judy painted these bug canvases and music themed canvases for our boy's rooms.

I'm not sure I'll ever really "get" how to consistently make time for myself while I'm in the trenches with four young kids.  I may never figure out what a "healthy balance" looks like. But a calming thought wrapped me up tight and cozy yesterday as I thought about Judy's life:  One day there will be more time.  And when there is, who knows what hidden talents, passions, or hobbies might make their debut.

You know a picture is incredibly life-like when you want to climb in it and kiss your baby.

What if under all this mommyhood is a one-day MD or movie director?  What if there's a violinist just dying to break out?  What if a white Tina Turner is hidin' all up in here?  What if an artist is patiently waiting her turn, watching my babies turn into big boys before she introduces herself to me?  Maybe one day when I'm not too busy matching 22,000 socks, I'll discover what seeds are planted inside of me that are quietly waiting for their season to bloom.

Maybe you will too, my friend.  

17 comments:

Melis said...

I have been reading your blog since you were in Haiti. I live down in Tomball, and just stumbled upon your blog and was just drawn to how much you let God be God and not stick to your own plans. Not to mention the fact that we technically live near each other, you know, relatively speaking, when it comes to the interwebs. :) I'm a SAHM of 3, ages 1,3, and 4, and this brought tears to my eyes. Okay, well, really, they're pouring down my face. Thank you for your honest heart outpourings - they uplift and encourage more than you probably expect. I'm a total stranger, but you have really made a difference today.

Heather said...

I needed to hear this today. My oldest just asked me a couple of days ago if I thought I'd have a job one day when all of my kids were grown up and you would have thought she'd ask me the secret to world peace because I was floored. I had no idea what to say. Yet, I've been thinking about it constantly since. It has been getting me down, honestly. Reading this, I understand that I don't have to know right now. I'm in this season, raising my babies and one day, there will be a new season. By the way, if you find that balance, let me know!! :)

Bob & Judy said...

Wow, you make me sound so much cooler than I am!

I am incredibly proud that the grandsons think of "Grandma" and "artist" in the same sentence.

Rachel said...

This reminded me of a few weeks ago, my six year old asked me what I was going to be when I grow up. I explained that I am grown up, sort of, at least compared to him. He said he meant when all my kids are big, what would I do then? Honestly, that seems like a world away, but it is exciting to imagine that the Lord has more in store after this season! I appreciate your mother-in-law's story.

Megan Fletcher said...

thank you, my friend. i needed to read this right now. in this season of having a baby again after 5 years of growing out of it, I often feel I'm drowning in it all. i haven't struggled a lot with "me time" but there are some things that keep surfacing. I keep asking "when?" and "how?" thanks for reminding me of all the beautiful women I know who have seen much more ministry and learning and growth beyond their busy mommying years.

and, i LOVE that last drawing of Hudson. stunning! beautiful work Judy!

magimoe2@gmail.com said...

Well folks, I am in total shock because I have known this family for lots of years and I had no idea Judy could do this!! Judy and I worked together for several years as her kiddos were growing up and she is not only a wonderful person but very adept at any task she takes on. I even worked with Heather for awhile at the bank and she was a sweetheart then. She has grown into a great mom with a heart full of Christian thoughts and actions. I am proud of you ladies for the things you have accomplished in your "grown up" years and yes Judy, you do have a wonderful family---but you know what? They had some very special examples set for them to follow. God bless all you Hendricks--love you all very much!

Sarah said...

Thank you. This is beautiful and comforting.

Kari said...

Was just having a conversation with another friend tonight about seasons! She was encouraging me that someday I will have time! One day, friend! Miss you!

RWebb said...

Thank you. I needed this today. As a new stay at home Mommy with two babies, I have really been struggling with feeling like my new "job" never stops and I have no time for myself. Even just to run to the store! My birthday was 2 days ago and I spent the morning at the Dr's office with the littlest one, then doctored him the rest of the day. Not exactly a day of celebrating "me". I needed this reminder of perspective... :-)

TamaraLove said...

Very beautifully said, and a powerful point. You are very correct about seasons of your life (and of motherhood). Some days can be more challenging than others, and it is true that often it is easy to feel as though you lose a sense of self in the mix. I currently have three beautiful teens (moody and challenging at times) but great people. Great I believe, because I believe they know that their Mommy loves them and chose them above all else... While each day isn't easy, I know it is worth it. I like to think of it as my time to facilitate greatness in them. The time with your kids goes to quickly, and I keep trying to remember that... Trying to cherish the here and now (even when I feel a little overwhelmed) as this time will be gone before we know it! Thank you for sharing your story... (:

Susan, wife of 1, mother of 4 said...

THose are AMAZING pictures! You are blessed, Heather. I'm so glad for you. My one big splurge has been pictures and I have never regretted it. They grow up too fast. It's wonderful that you have these.

Debi Stoll said...

Heather - I love this post. As a Mom on the other end of the spectrum and only 2 years before the youngest leaves, I have reunited with some passions I had before kids.

Just so you know, I think you will be a famous actress walking the red carpet :) You'll be tickled to know Matt was excited to see your Haiti magnet on the fridge and he and Corey began acting out your "BUTTER" skit from church. We still laugh over that one.

Love ya Girlie!

M said...

Such a good reminder...love this space here - thank you.

Christy said...

This is so perfect. Thanks.

beth lehman said...

i loved this one...

Anonymous said...

Always a reader and never a commenter, I simply cannot resist calling out to you from the other side of the trenches after reading your blog today. I vividly remember my own feelings/struggles/joys from the days when I chose to devote myself to family and the well being of my children above all else -- my details vary from yours, but the themes/joys/struggles are shared. Despite the moments of joy and the knowledge that I was making the right choice during those years, there were many days of "quiet desperation" and sacrifice. Finally, at age 50, I returned to school and earned a MA and teaching credential. These years of teaching 5th grade have brought me great personal joy and fulfillment, and I catch myself thinking "I should have been a teacher all my life. I was meant to be a teacher!" However, I see the younger women who are balancing a stressful, full time teaching career with family and I know I couldn't have done that. I wouldn't be the teacher I am today or the mother I was then if I were torn between home and career. For me, there IS more joy and reward in my short teaching career than if I had pursued it while my children were home. This is all to encourage you to dream about and plan towards the time when your new role as a mother of adult children will be to be their "cheerleader" and you will have years of freedom to explore and check in more and more on yourself! I wish there had been a way for me to do both at the same time, but the particulars of my story (a child that had some special needs, a husband in the ministry, and my own sense of calling) determined my path. Blessings during these years Heather! I pray that you will find that place to invest yourself and your unique gifts (as you did in Haiti).

~Carol, a late bloomer from California

Danielle said...

What a great perspective! As a fellow mother trying to balance motherhood and ministry and life I am really encouraged by your words!