Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; The fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalms 127:3). As a mother, my greatest desire has always been to raise my daughters up in the Lord by planting the seed of God’s Word in their hearts, and exemplifying a lifestyle that reflects that teaching. Let’s just say “battlefield” when it comes to the world our kids are faced with today. It’s a constant fight for me against the world regarding those precious jewels God has entrusted me. My oldest daughter will graduate from high school in 4 months and 1 day. Can we just say I’m having separation anxiety already. I want to homeschool for college, seriously. Extreme right… It’s not because she’s a bad kid but the culture of this world has changed so much, it’s troubling what our kids will face in it. One day, I was sitting in the kitchen speaking to Lauryn, my oldest, and she was discussing an issue about her friends having sex and her thoughts on it with me. I had to keep my cool of course, although my palms were sweating, mouth dry, and heart was beating. However, Lauryn’s response showed me the reaping of God’s seed sown in her life. I thought, she’s ready to stand in her faith against the world and it’s teachings. I won’t be afraid. I’m reminded that God promised me that if I train these girls up in the way of the Lord, even when they are old, they won’t depart from it, and His Word cannot return empty (Proverbs 22:6; Isaiah 55:11). So I encourage anyone who is in my shoes to trust God. Lauryn was just accepted to University of Cincinnati to be in their Fashion Design program. In this proud moment, I think of the teaching my husband and I poured into her. We trained her up in Him (God). This would be a proud moment for Bryant. He was always his girls’ cheerleader, only wanting the very best for them. As she and her sisters move into the different chapters of their lives, these are the times I get really sad. When he took ill, Elise, my youngest, was 3, Zy was in the 1st grade and Lauryn was in the 8th. I do wonder what life would look like if he was still alive. What would he say? How would he handle certain situations in the dating area? In those moments I get lost in my thoughts and find myself having difficulties making a decision, or to find the confidence in my parenting skills. I thank God that He promised never to leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5), so in those moments they are still covered by their Father.
I thank God for their resilience. They took a “tragedy” and instead of running away from the family and becoming rebellious, they run into the arms of the family and supported one another creating a bond that cannot be broken…. If you’re in a situation where your spouse just passed and you’re left to parent your child alone, here some helpful things I found to help with the girls:
Art Therapy: I found this through hospice. It was a way for the girls to express their emotions in a creative non-threatening way. (Just want to note, the therapy isn’t for everyone and you may find that it works for one child and not the other as that was the case for us).
Grief Counseling: I got my kids into counseling very quickly. Not sure if it was because I have a degree in counseling and I know the importance of talking, but it was very important to me. One thing I found that, again, it isn’t for every child. Zy, my middle, found this very difficult to engage in.
Make yourself available: I believe my girls are doing well today because there wasn’t a time when they couldn’t wake me up, sit and cry with me, talk with me, anytime they needed my love, they had it. Now emotionally did I check out within, I did, but I’m very good at masking my emotions so again they always knew they were FIRST priority for me.
Get away: If you can, get away with them and make new memories. All of your lives have changed and you’re trying to find your new norm and traditions. I encourage you to do it together.
We are still trying to figure out the holidays ( Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas). We haven’t yet figured it out but one thing we do is make sure we are together baking, watching movies, playing games, doing something together as we embark on our new norm.
Laugh: Whenever you can, just laugh. In all our pain, God still provided us with much laughter. We found new things to laugh at and it has been a joy! Moments when I feel cranky somebody usually does something funny, leaving us laughing on the floor.
It’s funny how God leaves pieces of your loved one who has gone on to be with Him in faces of our family, traditions, sayings, personalities, characteristics, etc. I see Bryant often in each of my kids. Zy, my middle child, was born the same day as Bryant. Physically she can pass as my twin, but she’s definitely Bryant Parker’s daughter. She acts like him, writes like him, very analytical like him, likes to be on time like him… ugh!…, has the same birthday as him. Lauryn and her younger sister Elise, look just like Bryant. So I’m fortunate in both ways. I get to see his face in our kids and still live with him and be chastised about my tardiness by my sweet Zy. Just know you will get through this time with your kids. They are so resilient and so are you. Utilize your resources and people. God has them there for you. Until we talk again, may God bless and keep you. Praying for you.
My three jewels: Lauryn (middle), Zy (left), Elise (right)