Friday, May 27, 2011

31 Days Closer to Your Kids: Show Up

Shelly Final

This week I’ve attended an orchestra concert, a junior high small group event, and a chorus concert. On Sunday I will Bike the Drive with two of my girls.

On Monday I will collapse. (Thank goodness for Memorial Day.)

I write this, not to show what a Super-Mom I am. (Oh goodness, if you think I’m Super Mom, you really need to come spend a few minutes with my girls—they’ll set you straight!) I write this to simply share with you something that is important to me and, I think, to my kids.

Show up.

I have to remind myself of this simple truth over and over again, especially when I’m tired and tempted to stay home: my kids are my kids for a very short part of my life. I only have one chance to do this, so I’d better do it well.

Do I always do it well? Absolutely not. Have I been to every single one of my children’s events? No, I have not. I have missed more concerts and plays and sporting events than I’d care to think about because I just can’t be there all the time.

But as much as I can, whenever I can, I show up.

When Kate was entering seventh grade, the grade when kids get to be a part of our junior high youth group at church, I decided that I should commit to being a small group leader. I led a small group of junior high girls for four years while Kate and Caroline were in the group. I took a couple of years off, but came back to it again this year when Julia started going.

Every year I ask the girls if they really want me to be their small group leader. If they had said no, I would not have led, but as long as my girls want me to be a part of this ministry with them, I figured I’d better do it. (Besides, nobody really wants their mom to be too involved when they’re in high school, so I figured junior high was my chance.)

It hasn’t always been easy. Retreats are just not that much fun for me—sleeping on make-shift cots in a stinky sleeping bag for two nights while girls whisper until all hours of the night is not my idea of a good time. And lock-ins? I have to put my foot down at lock-ins. Ugh.

But being there for my girls all these years has been so good for me, and I’d like to think it’s been good for them too. It has cemented our relationship during a time of life when they might think everyone has abandoned them. When insecurities loom very, very large, they know that I’m there for them. And there is nothing like being able to share the love of Christ with junior high girls, modeling service to my own kids.

Listen, I’m getting pretty close to middle-age (*cough, cough*) should I live to be as old as my grandma did (she would have been 100 last week--do the math). Sometimes Wednesday nights wear me out with all the talking, talking, talking and laughing, laughing, laughing and questions, questions, questions. But junior high girls are pretty precious. They are inquisitive and challenging and they are growing into young women who need God. They just need someone to point the way.

So as long as my daughters let me, I’m going to show up.

* * * * * * * * * *

31 Days Closer to Health, Wellness, and Bathing Suit Season
31 Days Closer to a Cuter You
31 Days Closer to Hearing God's Voice
31 Days Closer to the Life You Always Wanted
31 Days Closer to a New Home



  1. Thanks for this, Shelly. Such a great reminder! I've always thought that half of my value as a mother is in my presence. My children like to joke that half my value is in my presents ; ).

  2. Awesome... it is like a long distance race... pace yourself and keep on going until the finish line.

  3. I hate to be the one to do the math for you, but if you are "getting close to middle age" I guess you are planning to live to be at least 96! Just keeping it real. Happy Memorial Day!!

  4. Well, Jen (for you readers out there, this is my college-roommate-turned-physician-who-will-call-me-out-on-my-math-skills-any-time), you will notice that I said "getting close to" not "AT" middle age. And, yes, I am pretty darned close to that 5-0 mark. Semantics, my friend. Semantics.

  5. Oh, and one more thing, Jen. I am TOTALLY planning to live to at least 96. Can you help me with that? ;)

  6. I honed in on the one part that I just have never been able to do, even as a teen ~ Lock Ins!
    My daughter tried one as a middle schooler and she doesn't get it either. We are just not "lock in people."

  7. You are a brave woman, much braver than me . . . entering every week the world of the junior high youth group. Hats off to you.

    The principle here is so sound . . . just show up. Sometimes that requires me to do some emotional work myself . . . to be able to show up for my kids (or my husband for that matter.)

    Thanks for another great practical post.


  8. Today is my daughter's last day of 6th grade. I am weepy and introspective, thinking ahead to Jr High days and youth group.

    This post is very timely for me.

  9. Mine are still young so they still want me at all the school functions, parties, etc. Great reminder that on the times that I'd like to skip out, that it's important to go. With a 3 year old at home still, I have learned to balance it out b/w my big kids and say no to something here and there, but in the end, it IS so important to be present.

    I've also found being willing to have my children's friends HERE automatically guarantees I can be with them:)

  10. Love it! and I agree totally. Except I do think you are super mom.