20 things I have learned from my children

My thought process this week has been a roller-coaster of emotions….anger, hurt, happiness, thankfulness, sadness…a jumbled up pile of tears and Laughter. This weekend marks 15 years since I left the comfort of the small rural town in Upstate NY that I grew up in and headed off to Parris Island for USMC Boot Camp. If you had told me in June of 1995 that I would be married to a wonderful loving man, with three beautiful children, and living in Alabama, I probably would have laughed at you.  My life 15 years ago was a MESS!

My journey to where I am today has been an interesting one…full of twists and turns….life lessons, Laughter and tears. Some of the most amazing lessons I have learned did not come until I had kids.

Here are a few of those lessons my children have taught me…..

  1. My Father was right…Insanity IS hereditary…..you get it from your kids
  2. What matters most in life is not that your furniture matches…your house is spotless or that pair of designer shoes…It is the TIME you spend with those you love that is most important
  3. To a child…a Minute seems like an impossibly LONG time.
  4. My kids are content to entertain themselves until I am on the phone…up to my elbows in dishwater…or have just settled down comfortably on the couch to watch a Movie…then all of the sudden it’s “MOOOOMMMYYYY!!”
  5. I have three extra children living in my house, their names are “I don’t know” ,”I didn’t do it” and “Nobody”
  6. Children become EXPERT negotiators at bedtime….anything to keep from going to bed…after all, they might miss something.
  7. The most beautiful sound in the world is the sound of children laughing
  8. Tears can be turned on and off with ease at the drop of a hat by a child not getting their way.
  9. Children don’t come with instruction manuals…and EACH child is different…so no matter whether you have one child or three….you still feel at times like you are fumbling around in the dark.
  10. If the world outside your house thinks your children are wonderful while you see them falling apart and fighting, back talking argumentative at home…you are doing something Right! After all home is supposed to be a safe haven where children learn to problem solve, learn responsibility, Manners, and about unconditional love.
  11. No matter what you do….somebody is always going to be critical….what matters most at the end of the day is that you do what YOU feel is BEST for YOUR children. you can’t listen to all the voices around you…you will go crazy.
  12. When you ask God for patience….He helps you gain it…but its not just given easily…it comes in the form of a special needs child.
  13. Getting a diagnosis of Autism for one of your children is NOT the end of the world…it is the beginning of a wonderful journey.
  14. the saying “someday you will have a child JUT like you” is NOT simply something parents say to threaten their children…it REALLY does happen!!!
  15. The ultimate cure for “Mom, I am Bored” is a list of household chores that can be done! It is amazing how quickly they find something to do.
  16. along the same lines as #15…..when told to go do their chores….”I’m Tired” or “I don’t feel good” sends a child to bed for a nap, gets them out of said chore…only to have them back up out of bed in 5 minute (or less) feeling wide awake and fine.
  17. Siblings are going to get on each others nerves and fight…but the bond they develop in the process is a wonderful thing that lasts a lifetime.
  18. When children enter the picture, your parents kick into grandparent mode FAST…and all of the sudden, you are outnumbered….your children and your parents working together , often making you feel like the “Bad guy”
  19. when you make a promise to a child…you BETTER keep it…because they wont let you forget it, and the heartache of a broken promise can devastate a child.
  20. Children NEED limits and Boundaries…..yes, They WILL test them, but without firm set limits, how will a child ever learn right from wrong? and Limits have to come with FIRM consequences. If you say no TV for a week….STICK to it, no matter how much they whine, argue or complain.

I am sure there are many more…My children are always teaching me new things. To see the world through the eyes of a child is a wonderful beautiful thing. Hearing my Autistic son say “Mommy” for the first time when he was 4 years old is  one of the moments I will cherish forever. They grow up in the blink of an eye…time goes by WAY to fast….I hope I am never too busy to tuck them in at night…never too worried about how my house is to stop cleaning and sit down on the floor with them and play a game….or curl up in a chair with them and read a book. Every hug, every smile, every “I love you Mommy” is a precious gift…far more valuable than jewelry or fancy cars. When people ask me why it doesn’t bother me that I don’t get expensive gifts on anniversaries, or Christmas from my husband, I tell them I don’t need anything. His Love is enough…and besides, He already gave me three of the most beautiful jewels that no amount of money in the world could EVER buy….Our children.

Lessons from mom

Have had a long, sleepless night, struggling with some emotions and searching for a way to forgive and move past the hurt, when I was reminded of something my mother wrote a year ago…a visualization of how when we don’t find a way to move past the little irritating things, they can become a much bigger problem….


{Plant Description: Common burdock is a biennial that grows as a rosette of leaves the first year and then produces a 5-foot-tall, erect, bushy flowering stem. Rosette leaves are distinctive due to their large size, heart-shaped base, wooly undersurface, and hollow leaf stalks (petioles). Stem leaves are similar to but smaller than rosette leaves. Located at the ends of branches or at leaf axils on the flower stem are flower heads comprised of a bur with hooked bristles beneath a closely packed cluster of tubular, purplish flowers. The weed is best known for the hooked bristles on its burs that stick to fur and clothing. The only means by which common burdock reproduces are its seeds.}

Lessons from the burdock jacket”

“A couple weeks ago, I was about to mow the lawn, but it was late in the afternoon and it was getting cold. I located my earmuffs and gloves and was looking for a sweatshirt or light jacket. Just then I remembered the bag of clothes that we had brought in from the car when we came home from our trip to Saratoga for Mother’s Day. There on top was a red and black fleece jacket…perfect. As I mowed the lawn I concentrated on mowing the edges and around the flower beds. That way someone else could mow the main sections without worrying about accidentally mowing off any flowers or raspberries etc. I was tired when I finished (I knew I was finished because the lawn mower ran out of gas and it was time to get supper on the table.) but I was happy to have accomplished the task. However, when I came in I became sad. The soft red and black fleece was invaded by the pricks of many burdock burrs. Even though I could pull off the burrs, many little prickly bits remained stuck into the fabric. I put it into the pile of dirty clothes to deal with later.

So, today was the day. No school, nice weather for drying clothes and an accumulation of dark colored clothes to wash. What to do about the fleece…I had already avoided dealing with it for well over a week and today I felt the need to rescue it. Of course I could just throw it away. That would be much easier. Those burdock made it look ugly and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to wear it even for work tasks because the pricks would be so uncomfortable. But I liked the jacket and I wanted to wear it again. It seemed such a waste to just throw it away. So as I sat on the bed to begin the task of pulling the pricks out one or two at a time, I thought about how this could be a lesson about marriage (or any friendship for that matter). How often do we go about our everyday, ordinary lives and find that we have inadvertently become covered with burrs of irritation or offense. We did not go looking for them. Maybe we were even doing something important or useful. What to do? They cannot really be just overlooked. They are ugly and they make us uncomfortable. For awhile we can ignore or avoid facing the problem, but sooner or later we must face reality. If the person is valuable to us, then it will require time and patience to remove the little pricks that have embedded themselves into our soul and spirit.

As I worked at removing the invaders from my jacket, I found myself praying for the marriages and friendships of people I know and love. May you have the time today to rescue your relationship through forgiveness and attention to detail in removing anything that has caused irritation. It will be worth it.

So my jacket is in the wash and will soon be hung out in the sun to dry. May the Son of God’s Love shine on you and your relationships today!”

~Written May 22, 2009 by my Mother, Beverly Settle

Thank you Mom, for all the lessons taught over the years, and those you continue to teach me. I hope that I can find a way to move past my hurts….to not close myself off to the loved ones who have inflicted years of  emotional scars, and to keep from becoming bitter and angry.