Linda and her husband, Richard, have raised nine exceptional and strong-willed children (five sons, four daughters, no twins, all genetically theirs…just to get all the questions out of the way). Linda is an accomplished author and co-founder of Joy Schools. You can learn more about Linda at ValuesParenting.

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The Black Hole

This Utah Mama was with two of our grown children and their young families in Southern Utah this week. Eight of our sixteen grandchildren (all under 10) live next door to each other amidst the splendor of the red cliffs in St. George. Picture this: Breakfast with our oldest daughter and her five little ones. The two year old identical twin boys Oliver and Silas, who had just graduated from their high chairs were eating an enormous breakfast at the bar. With their little elbows barely able to reach the top of the bar they were inhaling their food with great satisfaction and were begging for more. Four year old Eliza had already dawned her purple velvet princess outfit and was eating an enormous bowl of oatmeal. (These kids’ metabolisms just kill me!) Five year old Isaac was giving everyone hugs and asking for help on reading his book before he left for school and precocious seven year old Ashton was on the computer in a near-by room. When I went to get him to join us for breakfast and asked him what he was doing, staring at the screen as though he was hypnotized and without looking up, he said, “I’m learning about Antarctica.” Sure enough, he had Googled a map of the world and was looking at the amazing size of Antarctica…obviously in another world!

I coaxed him to come to breakfast and when he did our daughter Saren asked Ashton, who had been studying the Universe in his spare time, to tell us what he had learned the day before about black holes. He matter-of-factly explained that “black holes are enormous places in space that suck in everything around them. Whatever goes in never comes back out, nothing can escape…not even light!” Then he added as an afterthought, “No one knows what happens to what goes in there,” and quickly said in his most incredulous voice, “and who would want to anyway?!”

After a hardy laugh from all the adults, I was struck by the fact that “from the mouth of a babe” had come a perfect description of a black hole that sounded exactly like the journey of Motherhood on some days! We are sucked in by crisis after crisis, dealing with the needs of each child, while trying to be a loving, caring wife, daughter, community and PTA worker in addition to being a chauffer, cook and coach.

Sometimes I smile when I see our children struggling through getting the kids to school on time, pouring time and effort into their children’s music lessons and soccer and basketball leagues and helping them progress through weird stages in their childhood. I remember wondering in those “in the fire” days of parenting if all I was pouring into them would ever come out!

Unlike that black hole, things DO come out, although sometimes in ways that you can’t anticipate. Nothing can compare with watching the delight on a child’s face when he or she goes to a concert and really appreciates the music, even though his own violin progress was dismal…because he or she knows what it takes to produce such a wonder! Nothing is better than seeing your child be kind to another child who is sad or lonely because you taught him somewhere, sometime, how important it is to watch for those who look like they need a some help.

The next time your challenges seem too hard to bear and you wonder “who in the world would want to be a mother anyway”, remember that the most important thing you will ever do will be in the walls of your own home…one gritty day at a time. That black hole can be held at bay by remembering what you are about…and loving it!

– Linda

valuesparenting.com

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  1. D.P.Dion 02/20/2011 at 5:27 pm

    A great alternative to the “Black Hole” of carting kids to lessons, is on-line tutors. ViolinTutorPro.com offers on-line lessons and can even do live lessons via SKYPE video connection. Saves travel time, and lessons can be accessed while travelling.

    Another example of the benefits of e-life.