The Wall of Enough
My dear, precious children –
As you get older and your place in the world grows bigger – and right along with that so do your responsibilities and your opportunities – I am taking this moment to tell you a few things I want you to carry with you for the decade-plus you will still live at home.
I love you unconditionally. You simply cannot do anything that makes me love you more or less than I love you. My love for you is not based on whims or how you look or how good your grades are or how well you perform at a task or a sport or some other interest you have. My love for you is because of who I am – your mother and God’s child – and who you are – my little one and God’s child.
Understand that to your core; it will free you beautifully all your life long.
Understand also that my loving you unconditionally does not mean that I will tolerate blatant disrespect, self-pity (we’re on the wrong side of the blessings scale for there to be room for any self-pity), self-absorption, or other odious behavior. Now and then is one thing, but if I were to allow those on a regular basis, then you might think they’re OK. They’re not. They make everything about this life harder and more unpleasant, and I love you enough to prevent those habits from robbing you of your future success in friendships, in marriage, in life.
I love you enough to be a wall that gets in the way of anyone who seeks to do you actual harm. I also love you enough not to be a wall for you to hide behind when you want to run from problems. Sooner or later a wall that lets you hide from everyone and everything – and especially from yourself – becomes a lonely kind of prison.
I love you enough to be a wall that helps you see the boundaries of behavior that we allow in our family because they are the boundaries that should be standard in the broader world – kindness in thought, word, and deed; thoughtfulness and genuine concern for others’ lives and welfare; pulling your weight and not expecting others always to do for you what you can do for yourself; showing respect to others, which is, strangely enough, one of the greatest ways to show respect to yourself.
I love you enough to be a wall that stands firm and tall as a means of showing you to do the same, no matter what you face, because never facing a challenge is not what makes you great; it’s facing challenges head-on and staring them down instead of hiding from them. No one ever got stronger by cowering. (And yes, sometimes the stronger path is the one on which you walk away; but even still, that requires standing, not cowering. Know that I will stand with you.)
I love you enough to train you, model for you, instruct you, and yes, ultimately require you to be a kind person, one who thinks of others and not just of self, because the world is getting uglier and you, my precious children, have great capacity to put beauty back into it.
I love you enough to force you to look past the moment of not knowing how to do math or navigate reading or memorize all fifty states and their capitals because I know that education can give you what few other things can: not just choices but good choices. And more than that? Learning to struggle through a topic in school and coming out the other side with newfound knowledge gives you problem-solving skills and self-discipline, both of which are rarer commodities than they need be these days.
I love you enough to make you and your siblings find agreeable ways to disagree because in this world where nice-to-your-face people spew vitriol behind the relative anonymity of the Internet, we must take advantage of the practice-ground for civility that siblings inevitably afford. And what’s more? Friends come and go, but family is forever.
I love you enough to feed you well and limit the junk you consume.
I love you enough to make sure that you learn how to do chores well and with a good spirit because chores are a part of life and there’s no reason to allow yourself to be a chore just because you are doing one.
I love you for who you are and for Whose you are because if the Creator of the universe breathed you into being – and He did – then He obviously had great plans for your life. I love you enough to help you figure out what those plans are and how to help you keep from getting in your own way along that journey of discovery.
I love you enough to think bigger than whatever moment you or we might be in because I can (as an adult) and to train you along the way to do the same thing (because one day you’ll be an adult, too, and you’ll need that skill).
I love you enough just as you are and far, far too much to let you settle for staying that way. Just like God does me.
I will mess up; you know that. You know that I already have. But I will do the best I can and I will never, never quit because I love you and I will always be your mama. As long as God allows me to stay on this earth and do that job in person, I will stand firm and strong in His truth and His mercy and His grace, which is right where I am working to rear you to be.