And How It Challenged Me As A Mom
It was Elijah’s last day of first grade. He came home, excited for summer and with creative plans for using up all his leftover school supplies (no way, kid – those glue sticks are unopened! You can take them to second grade!).
He also had a letter for us from his teacher.
While it was mostly a summary of the year and appreciation to parents for working with her to help their child excel, one of the paragraphs near the end absolutely gripped my heart.
“On my board at school I have a sentence written. It’s simple, only a few words, and reads, “She loved me.” I’ve kept this on my board for years as a reminder to myself of my top priority – that they would know how much I loved them.”
Maybe it was because I was already emotional thanks to life with a young infant and all the sleepless nights and hormonal fun that brings.
Maybe it was realizing that my first baby was growing so quickly and already preparing to head into the second grade.
Or maybe, and most likely, I was blinking back tears because not only did Elijah know that his teacher loved him, I KNEW that she did as well.
(We mamas know when someone loves our children. And it blesses us.)
Even if I gave you a play-by-play of the year, I don’t think I could list all the times and ways this teacher went above and beyond just teaching my child reading, writing, and arithmetic; all the times she helped him through a tough morning (he had some anxious moments as we got closer to Isaiah’s due date and those days when Mommy was at the hospital); all the special smiley faces she put on his schoolwork when he referenced God, Jesus, a Bible verse, or church, encouraging him in his bold faith; and all the extra hugs and prayers she sent our entire family as we all adjusted to our new normal after Isaiah was born.
And I know that Elijah wasn’t an exception. She poured her heart out for all her students (or as she calls them, “her little buddies”).
Often. And joyfully.
As I looked at that note from his teacher, I was challenged.
Because my top priority as a mother is pretty much the same, and then some – that beyond everything else that my children know about me, they’ll know without a doubt that I love them.
That they are the most important people in my life (along with God and Daddy ;)).
That I will pour my heart out for them always. And joyfully.
But some days that message may not be as clear, when I’m frustrated, or exhausted, or overwhelmed. Those moments when my patience is wearing thin from answering yet another question, or refereeing yet another argument, or having to repeat myself and threaten punishment when they just aren’t listening. Those can be hard days for a mommy.
So, I let those three little words from his teacher’s board – “she loved me”- be not only a challenge to make sure that they KNOW my love, but also to inspire a prayer to the One Who is Love.
A prayer that God would help my words, actions, responses, and body language to continually remind my boys of how much I love them.
A prayer that my energy, time, and focus would be spent where it has the most eternal impact (on my family & others) and not be so easily diverted to distractions (social media, television, random projects).
A prayer that, even when they are being disciplined, my children would always know that it is out of love (and that it would never be out of irritation or for my convenience).
A prayer that they realize that they are treasured by Mommy for exactly who they are – unique, precious gifts from God.
And that in those moments when it’s hard to find the joy or hard to continue to pour myself out, a prayer that I would rely on God alone as my source of strength and let His love flow through me even more.
A prayer that my love would, most importantly, point them to His love and be the reason that they can easily understand what it means when the Bible says that nothing can separate us from His love.
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8: 38 & 39