Sunday, March 9, 2008

Assembly Required – Role Modeling Joy as a Single Mom

"Mom, can you help me fly my airplane?" Carter asked this weekend on his 8th birthday.

Here’s something that hadn’t occurred to me. After the party guests go home, after the house is tidied up and we all take that breather from the pounding noise at the Chuck E Cheese equivalent we just experienced, Carter would want to share his sweet gifts with me.

I have a college education, and believe it or not, an engineering degree. But still I get a bit daunted by this type of request. "Remote control", "kit", "assembly required" - these were buzzwords that translated to Dad’s job! After a while, it became convenient for me to rely on Tom for tackling these projects while I tended to our home.

Today I let the laundry sit. Carter needed help with his airplane, so I sat with him at the table. Carter watched me with eyes that anticipated, "Mom knows what she’s doing". Taking a deep breath to relax my butterflies, I carefully read the instructions with him and we assembled, charged the batteries, and took the plane for its virgin flight.

I had forgotten what a feeling of success these types of toys can bring. With every successful flight, I felt a zing of confidence building in me. If I can handle this, I might be able to handle the hovercraft he got, and then the trebuchet model kit the boys have waiting to be assembled. Perhaps I might even graduate to the Snap Circuits integrated circuit board kit (okay, even with an engineering degree- that might be pushing it!).

It occurred to me that what’s really being assembled is my heart. It’s not a sacrifice to handle Tom’s traditional role of toy assembly parent; it’s an honor. I now know why Tom gladly jumped at this job- it was one of his ways of teaching joy, his greatest legacy, to our boys.

Tom was so good at having fun that like many married couples, we tended to allow that fun role to go to him, while I carried on with some of the necessary household duties. Now the Lord is challenging me to find that right balance of tasks versus fun with the kids.

Lord, help me to continue to assemble the pieces of Tom magical formula for building Your joy into these boys' hearts. Because I got so practiced at the tasks of the household while Tom enthusiastically embraced fun at a minute-by-minute basis, I now find that I need to adjust. As strange as it sounds, I thank you for the situation I’m in. There is joy in the struggle of missing Tom, but knowing that without Your will allowing me to walk without him, I may never have allowed myself to get out of the task mode enough to fully experience the joy of Carter’s eighth birthday.

You’ve prepared me with everything I need to raise these children in Your grace to become men who will glorify You throughout their lives.


Holly said...

Hey Kitty! I liked this post.
Ok, I'd love do coffee with you girl! How does Mon. the 24th look for you?? Call me!

Kitty H said...

Thanks, Holly - we'll call and get together!