"Everybody knows that a good mother gives her children a feeling of trust and stability. She is their earth. She is the one they can count on for the things that matter most of all. She is their food and their bed and the extra blanket when it grows cold in the night; she is their warmth and their health and their shelter; she is the one they want to be near when they cry. She is the only person in the whole world in a whole lifetime who can be these things to her children. There is no substitute for her. Somehow even her clothes feel different to her children's hands from anybody else's clothes. Only to touch her skirt or her sleeve makes a troubled child feel better."
~Katharine Butler Hathaway
We've been on vacation this week; a long-saved-for trip to Disney. When we lived in Florida, of course, it was much easier to pop in on the mouse and "my castle" more often, so my children have loads of memories there, but it had been many years since our last trip. My youngest, Nicholas, doesn't remember much, and cars full of people disappearing into dark, unknown spaces were overwhelming to his eight-year-old senses, this time.
He was afraid.
Of Peter Pan.
It took a lot of inner wrestling to decide what to do, along with a call (or ten!) to friends for some mama backup. I've never forced my children to do things they were terrified of, and he was pretty close to terrified. Putting my arm around him and drawing him close, I explained all I could about the ride; the lifts and drops, the scenery, the slow pace, the music I knew he'd enjoy. And I kept him moving toward it because I KNEW there was nothing to actually be afraid of. About halfway through the long line (did I mention we were at Disney IN THE MIDDLE OF JUNE, which is when the rest of the world also is on vacation? *slaps forehead) the shuddering stopped, though we stayed hand-in-hand til we disembarked back on the other side of London and into the Florida sunshine.
He just needed me to stay close. To reassure. To explain. To lend him some courage.
We mamas, we are the ones who let them know they can make it through the dark.
We smile at the child who spills milk on the floor, letting him know it's okay and the mess can be cleaned up.
We are patient with the one overwhelmed by the complexities of algebra.
We take time for the story of the broken heart, the misunderstanding between friends, the dreams deflected.
Oh, dear mom, do you know who you are?
To the tired one, you are rest and peace.
To the struggling one, you are an inspiration to stick with it; encouragement to go on.
To the brokenhearted you are the listening ear, a sounding board, the voice of hope.
You are more than you see in the mirror.
The world is a confusing, difficult place for a child sometimes. You have a marvelous opportunity before you: to create a haven for your children; a place where truth is taught and grace reigns and ideals are upheld; where hearts can be safely bared and dreams nurtured and talents developed; where acceptance is constant and loyalty is always sure and the prodigal is always welcome home.
Don't buy the world's lie. Don't believe them when they tell you that what you're doing doesn't matter--that you're not using your talents, that you need to do something bigger and brighter to really succeed.
Those precious souls in your keeping ... they will last throughout eternity. When you stand before God He will call you to account for your stewardship of them, and you will not regret your great investment.
You are a keeper, a molder, a treasurer of souls.
“To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labours, and holidays; to be Whitely within a certain area, providing toys, boots, cakes and books; to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can imagine how this can exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone and narrow to be everything to someone? No, a woman's function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.”