Taking Time to Grow
Mary Mapes Dodge
‘Mamma! mamma!’ two eaglets cried,
‘To let us fly you’ve never tried.
We want to go outside and play;
We’ll promise not to go away.’
The mother wisely shook her head:
‘No, no, my dears. Not yet,’ she said.
‘But, mother dear,’ they called again,
‘We want to see those things called men,
And all the world so grand and gay,
Papa described the other day.
And – don’t you know? – he told you then
About a little tiny wren,
That flew about so brave and bold,
When it was scarcely four weeks old?’
But still the mother shook her head;
‘No, no, my dears, not yet,’ she said.
‘Before you see the world below,
Far bigger you will have to grow.
There’s time enough to look for men;
And as for wrens – a wren’s a wren.
What if your freedom does come late?
An eaglet can afford to wait.’
You gotta know when to park your tush on the sofa while the hours hurdle on leaving your grandiose plans for being all productive and such in the dust, that you might bring a little comfort to the hacking, feverish sprite of a daughter sacked out soundly in your arms. And conversely, you gotta pray (because it's not quite as intuitive) to know when to unlock those protective arms, answering "sure" when asked by your oldest two if they might stroll around town together (as in, without their dad and me) to check out the festival going on.
You gotta give thanks for the quiet down times, for the opportunities to become a soothing balm to your wounded babies, as well as for the triumphant grins of new found freedom on the faces of your independence-hungry darlings as they return home from that said festival, now giggling together over sights and sounds I, as their admittedly anxious mama, was not privy to.
I gotta trust with all my heart that, if I seek first after righteousness, the wisdom I so desperately need for unselfishly deciding, and courageously declaring: "yes," "go," "stay," "no," "I don't care what everyone else's parents in this whole neighborhood let their kids do, or have…" shall be given unto me.
This whole mothering gig is really serious stuff. It's by no means easy to buck the system - to continue a cycle in which compassion, resilience, creativity, sacrificial love is prized over wealth, popularity, even comfort -a cycle mercifully gifted me by own parents in the hopes such eternal virtues would trickle down to their grandchildren, great-grandchildren. Wouldn't it be something to raise human beings set on breeding, for generations to come, more, more and more light, mercy and beauty?
I gotta be patient with my children's progress (as Christ is ever patient with mine), and remain connected emotionally to them – which sometimes requires silliness on my part, sometimes silence, sometimes laaaate night heart to hearts. I gotta squelch my expectations ( and put blinders on to others' expectations) and spend a little more time in front of my icon corner learning to let go: "Into Your hands, O Lord, I commend our spirits and our bodies. Bless us, save us, and grant us eternal life."
What saves and makes for good children is the life of the parents in the home. The parents need to devote themselves to the love of God. They need to become saints in their relations to their children through their mildness, patience, and love. They need to make a new start every day, with a fresh outlook, renewed enthusiasm and love for their children.
- Elder Porphyrios