Sometimes I feel like the life I am living is so small…
That what I am doing is not enough…
That I could be doing so much more…
That I would like to be doing so much more….
So much more than what?
What is it that I am doing now?
I am a stay-at-home mom, and I am raising my children.
I am also a wife, and a daughter, and a sister, and an aunt;
I am a niece and a cousin, a daughter-in-law and a sister-in-law;
I am a friend,
A good friend, I like to think.
But mostly, I am a mom.
I am raising our children:
Sarah, and Ryan, and John.
Someone once replied to me,
upon learning that that was what I was doing
(as opposed to some sort of more prestigious career, I suppose):
“Oh…is that all?”
Is that all? Being a stay-at-home mom?
When I recall that response,
at times I am outraged,
and not only assure myself that it is not a job for the timid,
but allow myself to wonder if it’s a job that he could have even done
for a week let alone day in and day out for years!
At other times, however,
in quieter, doubt-filled moments,
I hear myself echoing that same thought:
“Is that all?”
Is it enough to be raising my children?
Am I raising them from something?
Am I raising them to something?
Am I raising them toward something?
I hope so.
I hope I am doing all of those things….
I hope I am raising my children from narrow-mindedness, self-centeredness, and despair,
Helping them to lift their eyes from the ground in front of them
To the world around them,
Helping them lift their sights from a singular focus on themselves and their desires
to a more far-reaching awareness that includes those around them and their needs,
Helping them to lift their vision from whatever might pull on them and keep them down
To the possibilities that hover in the universe, waiting to be claimed and birthed….
I hope I am raising my children to humility and hopefulness,
Helping them see that they are one of billions,
all of whom are deserving of kindness and respect,
Helping them understand that they are one of billions,
With unique gifts to give, unique opportunities to receive,
And unique roles to play, whether big or small,
in the universal story and eternal effort
of expanding goodness and hope….
I hope I am raising my children toward compassion and connectedness,
Helping them learn that caring for others is inherent in caring for themselves
if in caring for themselves they desire to be truly whole and well,
Helping them grasp that striving to meet only their own needs leads not to satisfaction
but rather to emptiness and poverty of the soul,
And that it is in caring as much about the well-being of others
That they will find fullness and richness of Life….
I hope I am raising them toward responsibility and toward an ethic of integrity,
Showing them that it’s their job, and no one else’s,
to make their lives good and worthwhile,
Showing them that the value of their yes meaning yes
and their no meaning no….
I hope, above all, that I am raising my children toward God,
Toward an awareness of,
a belief in,
a life-giving relationship with the God
Who is present in all that is Good…
Who is present in Creativity and Beauty…
Who is Hope and Truth…
Who is the Beginning and the End
And who lives in every moment of Life in-between….
I hope I am raising my children toward God,
Who created them,
Each one fearfully and wonderfully made…
Who loves them with a fierce, undying, and incomprehensible love,
Who from before their birth has been calling to them–
Calling them to a life of purpose and meaning,
Calling them to a life of wholeness and healing,
Calling them to a life of acceptance and belonging,
Of forgiveness and hope,
Calling them back to God’s self,
With words and whispers, sights and sounds
uniquely designed for each of them,
Messages springing from the very heart of the God
Who is Love…
And who waits for them to respond….
I am raising my children…
Who were never really “mine” to begin with,
But who were given to me, to us, “on loan,”
Each as a precious-beyond-words and most magnificent Gift of Love,
Directly from the Source of all Love….
I am raising my children,
With patience (some days more than others!), and with guidance,
With prayer and with luck,
With held breath and wild abandon,
With mistakes and with–I hope–forgiveness,
WIth much and many forms of support,
With successes and failures,
pains and joys,
and laughter and tears….
and with a profound sense of gratitude.
I am a stay-at-home mom, and I am raising my children…
…and yes, that is enough.