Friday, June 22, 2012

Learning to Swim

There are some things in life that are so simple and so obvious, yet we never realize them.  We take for granted the things that are amazing in our lives because we just don’t see how much of a blessing they are.  As I talked to my dad on Father’s day, he asked how the kids were and if anything new was going on.  I told him that they would be beginning swimming lessons that week.  He was excited for them and pleased that they would be learning something that is a huge accomplishment for kids.  Somehow we got on the subject of how my brother and I learned to swim.  I told him that I took lessons but not until I was a little bit older, maybe seven or eight, and I was pretty sure my brother took lessons at our old house with one of his friends.  My dad hesitated, trying to remember, and then asked my mom if that was correct.  She affirmed it.  I knew my dad couldn’t remember much about our swimming lessons because he was always at work when we went to them.  They were usually during the day and my mom was the one to take us and see us develop our skills.  It wasn’t a big deal, and my brother and I didn’t feel bad that dad wasn’t there.  We knew that’s just how it was.  I didn’t think much more about it until a few days later when I realized something so evident, so eye-opening, that I was beside myself that I hadn’t seen it sooner. 

Being a stay-at-home mom is a difficult job.  I don’t think I need to list all of the tasks stay-at-home mothers have to complete, not to mention keeping their sanity when the kids are out of control.  I admit I am guilty of finding a way to complain about everything that is required of me as a stay-home mom and I get extremely frustrated and exhausted with the demands that are placed on me.  But there is something I have been failing to focus on, something that would send all those complaints right back into my mouth and zip it shut.  What I now see is that being a stay-home mom is one of the best gifts we can be given as moms because we don’t miss out on our children’s lives.  We are there for it all, every new accomplishment, every activity, every hug when they are sad or when they are proud of themselves and every smile on their faces when we pick them up from school.  We get to see their lives first-hand.  We are the ones they default to when they are truly upset.  More often than not, the dads don’t get those things.  They have to settle for a play-by-play story of these things.  They work all day to make money for the family at the expense that they miss out on seeing new things in their children’s lives.  They know that their kids can swim, but they don’t know how they learned to swim.

For military dads, the inability to experience their children’s lives is even greater.  Deployments take them away from their kids for many months at a time.  They have no choice but to learn about their kids accomplishments through phone calls and e-mails.  They won’t let you know it, but their hearts are breaking inside because they want to be there with their kids.  While us military wives and moms complain to them about how hard things are and how we hate doing it all by ourselves (I am regretfully guilty of this!), they are envying us because we get to see all that the kids do.  We get to hug them and kiss them.  We get to be the ones they come to.  We get the glory.

Sometimes the things we think are the hardest in life are really our greatest blessings.  I challenge you, when you are faced with obstacles, to take a step back and try to find the goodness in your circumstances.  Think about how you would feel if you had to work full time and could only see your kids in the evenings and on weekends, or if you had to be away from them for months.  When you are about ready to lock your kids in a closet for a few days, remember that you get to be there, you get to see their firsts, you are the ones they lean on.  Tell your husband thank you often and have mercy on him, because he so badly wants to switch places with you!

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I'm Shar, a new follower from the blog hop!

    Come visit me over at

    xoxo -Shar