Parenting: Choosing Relationship

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By Jeanne Takenaka

This parenting gig is so much more than what I thought in the days of dealing with infertility. I had idealistic notions of what it would be like to be called, “Mommy.”

Holding a baby close on my chest, caressing a velvety cheek, pushing back and forth in our rocking chair and singing soft Mommy songs to a child.

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By Jeanne Takenaka

It’s so much deeper and wider and stretching, a constant humbling and dying to myself and what I want. Ten-and-a-half years into this journey, I’ve learned so much—both about myself and the children God has seen fit to give us.

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By Jeanne Takenaka

Sometimes I sit in wonder with one or both of them, my arms wrapped around them, them snuggled close to me. Powerful love fills every fiber of who I am in those moments when we are just on the sofa, being. Together.

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More often, our days contain busy-ness, training and instruction. Teaching them, praying character into them. This summer I’ve glimpsed hints of who they are becoming, the men they may one day grow into.

ImageWhen I am busy with Mom and wife and house responsibilities, when I am trying to accomplish too much, it’s easy to forget they need time to just be. With me. To talk, laugh, tickle, play a game, run their boy-wildness out. Sometimes, I forget to just enjoy who they are in the now.

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By Jeanne Takenaka

When I see character areas in need of “mothering,” I can be so quick to train, instruct. Sometimes, what they need is simply to share their hearts, pretty or ugly, and put words to what’s going on inside them. I am learning to set aside those “all-important” tasks and just Be. With them. Listening, holding, and at times, humbling myself as they share things I have done that hurt them.

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By Jeanne Takenaka

In the everyday-ness of being a family, of being the Mom, I sometimes become more concerned with their training than their hearts. I hear their harsh words directed at each other, mean actions done. I overhear rude tones, and I’m irritated.

We’ve taught them better than that.

My three guys beach silhouetteGod gently reminds me they are in training. Perfection is never the standard. Then, He speaks to me, that I too, am in training. Relationship requires moments focused solely on the child, not divided between the to-do’s rolling through my mind, supper cooking on the stove.

Transparent relationship leads to heart change, in the boys. In me.

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By Jeanne Takenaka

Relationship, at times, looks like hugs, cuddles, loves from their father, from me. It looks like tickle fests and laughter, skin-to-skin touches holding hands, arms around the shoulder. Connecting.

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By Jeanne Takenaka

No, this parenting gig is not what I thought it would be when we walked through our valley of infertility. It is so much more, deeper, more intimate than I could understand in those days. God has given my husband and me the privilege of raising two boys, amazing, unique, designed by Him with a purpose they’ve yet to discover. When I stop long enough to see what makes them tick, I am the one blessed.

What about you? What have you discovered about being in relationship with those closest to you?

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20 thoughts on “Parenting: Choosing Relationship

  1. I can’t relate to parenting, because we can’t have children…and my childhood was a bit of an ordeal, best forgotten.

    The close relationships I’ll offer are those with comrades-in-arms, who are now dead.

    There has been so much written about the bonds that develop in war, and most of it is twaddle, because the emotions and connections that drive a willingness to sacrifice one’s life for one’s friends is so deeply buried as to be nearly inaccessible.

    It’s a relationship that can best be described as kinetic, in that the closeness is developed and shown through action, with no conversation, and certainly no introspection. Waiting long hours in a sniper hide, you’d never take the last sip of water…you’d offer it to your partner. It would be an automatic action, inculcated by training, but no less a deeply caring gesture.

    I’ll go thirsty so you don’t have to, because I know you’d do the same for me.

    When those bonds are broken by death, the world goes off its axis, and you’ll walk down the years looking in every crowd for a familiar face…or an upraised middle finger and a broad grin – “Gotcha!”

    I filled sketchbooks with the faces of my dead friends. And I know that when I cross the river to join them, there will be a great shout that will delight Heaven and terrify Hell.

    The boys will be back together. Step back, and watch the fun!

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    • Andrew, you made me smile, and stop and think. You show what close relationship looks like in such a real, and (as a woman I’ll say it:) beautiful way. Caring for another through actions—giving the last drop of water, watching each others’ backs…I can only imagine the sorrow you’ve experienced as you’ve lost brothers to death. I love that you sketched their faces so you can remember, and be ready to celebrate on that day when you all are united.

      You took the concept of purposeful relationship and gave it a deeper nuance. Thank you for sharing your thoughts today.

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    • Thank you for sharing a beautiful perspective that only one with your experiences can share. Sending a very heart felt thank you for your service! I wanna be there to see that great reunion! Blessings on you every day Andrew!

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  2. Pingback: Separated and Together | terry1954

    • Yes, Lisa. Constantly humbling. I make so many mistakes as a mom, but I have boys who are usually quick to offer forgiveness. Humility is a gift, and it’s one I need to keep living out. 🙂 Thanks for the compliment about my guys. I debated about putting so many pics of them in this post, but it seemed appropriate.

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    • Lindsay, thank you for your kind words. I know this because I know you. When you become a mother, you will be a wonderful one. God will show you how to “just Be” with your children.

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  3. Awesome blog! I read your heart, dear one! You are a great Mom! Love the pictures of your 3 handsome men! Have found that relationships have to grow. Sometimes hurt happens, but forgiveness can wipe it away and re-establish connection. Love grows. Sometimes its that delicate wildflower growing among the weeds. . . unlikely tho it seems, God seeds will always grow through the “circumstances” when we trust in Him.

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    • Thank you, Mom. Relationships do have to grow. Hurts seem to happen almost daily at this stage of mothering. 🙂 But, God give us grace to forgive and work through them, doesn’t He?

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  4. I been though the highs of parenting when I cry for joy and the lows, where I can honestly say I KNOW what it feels like to have my heart torn out and taken from me. And if I had a dollar for every time I wanted to punch someone who said “You raised ***** right, she’ll come back” I could pay the bail money!!

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  5. Loved the post, dear one. And that photo of you and the boys is FANTASTIC….altho I liked all the others too! God is sure busy with us as moms, isn’t He?

    LY!

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