I love Pinterest. I love pinning all the quotes, and art, and crafts, and recipes, and decor....all things I may never, ever DO anything with! But no matter, I just find it relaxing to crawl into bed with my iPad and pin away.
Except for last night.
Last night, my Pinterest feed was full of fun activities for kids. I don’t know why it was, except that I like to pin kids’ craft ideas occasionally, and maybe I follow some homeschoolers and crafters or something. Anyway, lots of the pins were about clever ways to teach values and character virtues. How to teach scripture memorization. Fun activities with a spiritual purpose. Crafts that teach kindness. Flash cards that teach empathy. Printables for every season. Cupcakes to die for. Room decor that looked amazing. On and on. Oh, the things were so cute, and so beautifully photographed!
Suddenly, I felt bad.
I felt regretful.
I felt guilty.
I felt sad.
I realized I’d been a horrible mom.
I realized that I didn’t do any fun OR clever things with my kids when they were little! We didn’t make donkey stamps with our hands to symbolize the Easter Donkey. We didn’t make finger puppets for Jesus and His disciples. We didn’t make Virtuous Character flash cards. We didn’t make our own snow-globes. Let’s not even talk about the adorable birthday parties we didn’t have. And room decor? We painted the walls, bought a comforter at Target, and called it done.
What was I thinking??
Oh, we read bedtime stories. We had devotions (sadly, somewhat inconsistently). We had a craft table with paper, markers and glue. We made forts. I made them play outside. We had lots and lots of fun. But to think I sent these kids off into the world without proper Bible memorization! To think that I shortchanged them by not making clever crafts and decorating their rooms! To think I packed their lunches in brown bags and ziplocks, when I could have made darling shapes out of the whole wheat bread and the organic vegetables.
I don’t know how my kids survived.
All I know is that I did the best I could with what I had.
We lived on a tight budget, and many of those years we didn’t have a whole lot. I was short on patience and energy. I had one book on parenting, and a bunch of Adventures in Odyssey cassette tapes for the kids when they got restless. We tie-dyed T-shirts once. We made popcorn and milkshakes and watched Disney movies on a blanket regularly. Big whoop. Seems so lame now.
But I loved those kids, and they knew it. They still know it.
For me, the sun rises and sets on them, and they are the best gifts I could have imagined. They are all grown up now, and somehow, we managed to make it without many Pinterest-worthy experiences. I didn’t do amazing crafts with them, but I believed in them, and their abilities to take on the world. I didn’t make organic dinners (unless rotisserie chicken counts?), but I tried to have most of the food groups represented, at least on a weekly basis. We didn’t travel much, but hey, we sure watched a lot of PBS. I tried to instill them with wonder about God, and the universe He created. I hoped that they’d see my faith as real - something to embrace for themselves. Our home would never have graced the cover of a magazine, but it was where everybody belonged.
As the kids grew, I memorized their faces and kissed their cheeks when they were sleeping. (Of course, also when they were awake. They loved it.) But there’s something about those eyelashes and messy bedheads and rosy cheeks by the glow of a nightlight. It begs for kissing. I dreamed that they would grow up and always know what it is to be loved.
To be loved. Forever. And ever, and ever.
I didn’t always do the best job, and now I see where I went wrong, with the crafts and all.
I’m glad my kids survived their Pinterest-free childhoods long enough for me to realize I’ll get a second chance with my grandkids.
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