How’d you do it?

By Laurie Green

Family has a funny way of causing you to feel every emotion available, be it good or bad, and occasionally all in one day. But isn’t that what makes family special?

Growing up, I had five siblings and I can assure you we all had our moments where it was hard to find the “fun” in all the dysfunction. But I must say, chaos helped build my character and makes for fun stories to share as I’ve gotten older. Honestly, I feel privileged to have been raised by a mom who could do absolutely ANYTHING! 

From sewing a whole prom dress overnight, to knocking down walls and rebuilding a whole new room in a weekend, our mom was (and is) a jack of all trades. I’m 51 and there still isn’t much she can’t do. If you know her, you know it’s true. Sadly, it wasn’t until I had children of my own that I realized just how spectacular she really is. I have often found myself telling her, “Mom, I don’t know how you did it.”

I wish I could say that I had even a tenth of the skills and talents as my mom when I had kids, but alas, there can only be one Martha. Often when people hear how I was blessed with two sets of twins, 18 months apart, they wait for me to share some kind of deep, meaningful wisdom and knowledge for how I navigated raising them. The fact is it was a lot of prayer and a ton of mistakes. 

I mean you can read all the books and watch all the TikToks, but the truth is no one and nothing can honestly prepare you for raising children. Just when you think you survived the baby stage, you enter the toddler years, then fast forward to adolescents, teenagers, and next thing you know, you find yourself a parent of adult children with their own families. Every stage of that progression offers up challenges, grace, forgiveness and love.

For me personally, I spent a lot of years looking back with memories of mom guilt and wishing for moments of a do-over. However, the most beautiful thing happened once my children started having children. For all my hindsight regrets, I finally got to hear those words that make you realize you did a good job. It’s the same thing I told my mom when I became a parent. “Mom, I don’t know how you did it.”

It’s funny how that one little phrase can bring you peace. I think it just confirms that, yeah, raising a family is hard. But it is also beautiful, fun and one of the most powerful and wonderful gifts God allows us to experience.

I recently heard a story on the internet about how a mother flamingo will lose her pink color while caring for her children, and then she eventually gets her pink back. What a beautiful illustration of being a parent, and while I can’t be 100 percent sure, I think her color returns when her grown-up baby flamingos (now raising a family of their own) realize how equally hard, yet beautiful, raising children can be and whisper in her tiny, mama flamingo ear, “Mom, I don’t know how you did it.”

Laurie Green
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