Parenting in isolation is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do during this time. I have always relied on those around me to parent my children. And without the contact or intersection of other people’s lives with my children’s lives I have felt a huge burden that the parenting rests solely on me and my husband’s shoulders.
Over the past few weeks, while we have been in a stay at home status, I have been able to reflect on the many people who have impacted my children’s lives. The way that little pieces of advice or huge chunks of time given to me and/or my children had pivoted my children toward the people they are today.
This began early on. Before I was even a parent of my own there was the impact of Jan Gohring. Jan was one of those people who was teaching me to parent before I even had the opportunity to parent my own. Her impact carried over into the very first months of life with my firstborn. I could go on and talk about my children’s preschool teachers and how they affirmed my own belief that my children were brilliant. But I’m not going to bother you with the details of their lives from birth until now but rather I want to pinpoint some specific people along the way.
Please know that every person in my children’s lives has had an impact and what they are becoming. Here, in this space, I’m choosing to is highlight some specific people, who without them, I would not be able to be the mother I am today.
Amy Ebert, you helped me navigate just as much as I helped you navigate being a teacher and mom at the same time. You also loved my children as fiercely as you love your own. That was so clear to me when you became my son‘s kindergarten teacher. Your zest for life and your loving manner passed directly to my son who is very intelligent, and that’s not just me saying it, I know you agree. You also saw that he was not necessarily the school loving type and set him on a positive path of learning.
It’s about my friend and colleague Lauri Ward, who when she saw me in tears and knew that I knew something was not right in regards to the way that Emmarie was grasping learning to read and took action. She took her skills as a diagnostician and her passionate love for me and my daughter and took Emmarie under her wing. She tutored her through some of the hardest parts of her first and second-grade years learning to read. At the same time encouraged me to keep seeking support for Emmarie.
Then there is Rene Egle who saw Kristopher‘s natural inclination to code and tinker in robotics.
Instead of having him repeat the same summer camp for K-2, summer to summer, she let him after second-grade jump up to the third through fifth-grade camp. Later that provided him an opportunity to be part of a robotics after school curricular activity that was designed for fourth and fifth graders. Thank you, Rene, you instilled in him the love of coding, robotics, and problem-solving which will most likely lead into his life career.
Courtney Clark, in just a short period of time we were together you loved Emmarie fiercely, help me parent in a world where we are still trying to figure out our place as females in this world. You showed her that you could love God, be a woman of God, and lead a congregation.
Pamelynn and Mike Nennmann, you two have loved my children as if they were your own. Sometimes people have even mistaken my children as your own children. Pamelynn thank you for coming alongside me and helping me parent through the learning struggles Em had and show me through your own experiences how you struggled with the same challenges. I couldn’t have done it without you and I probably would have left her with more scars than I care to say.
Michael thank you for loving Kristopher uniquely and in some ways taking him on as your own. The two of you share similarities and an intriguing way of thinking. The way that you and Kris think and love fiercely but quietly, how you just get one another is something I continue to respect and admire.
Kurt Glenn, such a short time we have known you, but what an impact. You quickly recognized we were way over our head as parents with Kristopher’s desire to build his own computer. You stepped in helped him making an impact we yet know the result. Helping him build his own computer, generously gifting him equipment that he needed so he could continue the project, I know he will forever look at you with awe and respect. While most people in IT are not seen as people with capes, you are a hero with a cape in our family.
Laura Grimes, your arrival on the scene has been extremely recent, but your impact… there are no bounds on time with what you have done for Emmarie. In a short time, you have helped her rediscover herself again. I had felt like the Emmarie before moving to Arkansas had been lost in Texas. You have found her for us. Thank you for what you’re doing and what you will be doing to help her forge her path for her future.
There are so many others that are not mentioned here that have impacted my children in numerous ways. I know that Eric and I are forever grateful for those that have come into our children’s lives and honestly helped our job as parents be a little easier.
I want to encourage parents and mothers out there if you think you can do it alone, reconsider. Your children’s lives will be so much richer if others are invited in as partners and enhancers to the work you are already doing. If you are a soon to be parent/mother, I encourage you to be welcome in those around you who you see the value and wisdom they bring to the world around them and to you.
I have always used this filter after becoming a parent when it comes to those I hold closest in my life: “if you can’t love my children fiercely then your friendship is probably not going to be as deep with me as it could be. A friendship with me means being part of our family and loving my children. I also promise, in the same way you love my children fiercely, I will love your children fiercely, fur babies or walking on two legs. I promise you I will give the same care and respect to you and your children as you have given to mine.”
I know this, because I know without others, I could not be the mother I aspire to be.
Happy Mother’s Day, 2020.