"....... for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust" Psalm 103:14

My sons are watching

Photo used with permission of the subjects
This is how I know.

A while ago, in the midst of the first chaotic and challenging years as a single mum of two late-teen/young-adult men, my youngest son and I were having a conversation about his life and his choices. At one point I gently teased "Ah, so you HAVE been listening to your mother's advice!!" He said "Of course. Don't you know you're one of the most influential people in my life?"

Now that was a moment that has definitely stayed with me.

It matters what I do
And it made me realise that even though he's an adult now, making his own way in the world, he's still watching me. It's serious. It matters what I do and how I do it, because he's watching. They both are, both my beautiful sons. They're watching the way I do life and love. They have been all along. And yes, I've made some mistakes, I have some regrets, and they were watching then too........... But I'm thankful that my sons are now getting to watch me in a new marriage where God is at the centre. They're watching the way I am as a mother, a wife, a stepmother.

A role model for my sons
They're watching us too, my husband and me. My youngest son has commented, in passing, in our "side by side" moments. Unsolicited things that he didn't have to say, like "I really enjoyed being at your wedding" and "He's a good guy. I like him". My eldest son, less likely to verbalise but watching and learning nonetheless, has chosen on several occasions to come to us for advice, for a sounding board, to sort through issues in his life, seeking help with making decisions. He values what he sees we can offer him from our accumulated wisdom, our life choices, and our love for him.

I'm thankful my sons get to see and be a part of the life my husband and I are making. I'm thankful they're watching when my husband demonstrates to these young men (both mine and his) what it is to love God, to love your wife, to love your children, to love your stepchildren. And I'm thankful they get to see me learning to be a wife in a Christian marriage, and a stepmother to three inherited children, even though they know it's enormously challenging at times.

How do I know they're still watching?
Humans of New York is a Facebook page that used to come up in my newsfeed from time to time when friends "liked" or "commented" on a post. Occasionally I'd read the post and a few of the comments - some I found interesting and thought-provoking, some not so much, and some I thought were quite inane.

But a few years ago I woke to find a Facebook notification on my phone. Late the night before, my youngest son, 22 at the time, had mentioned me in a comment he'd made on a Humans of New York post. The post had a photo of a smiling woman walking along the street, and it read:

"I just got married and have three new stepchildren." 
"So, what's been your greatest accomplishment as a stepmother so far?"
"They don't hate me."

My son had tagged me and commented "You'll appreciate this".

In his own way he let me know that he sees. He sees the relationships that are growing in our stepfamily, the effort that I make even when it's really hard, the special place he has in it all. And he knows and appreciates that my stepchildren don't hate me (I appreciate that too).

"Like"
It warmed my heart that my son notices and values that about me. I love that he's glad for me, and that he takes the time to let me know, as only a "child" of his generation can do - digitally!! And so, in like fashion, I scrolled through the comments to find his, and clicked "Like".

Because he's still watching.

6 comments

  1. You just have a beautiful way of telling your story Sue. It's a poignant reminder, that our children watch us from the time they are newborns until... Well, until we die! It's good that you have realised that and are careful to set the sort of example for your sons that is helpful and godly. Bless you xox

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    1. Thank you sweet friend! I wish I could say that I've always set the best example for my boys, but alas that wouldn't be true!! I think it helps to have the awareness that they're watching though, and I have most certainly asked for their forgiveness when my responses have been less-than-godly!! Parenting is such a privilege (and a challenge), don't you think?

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  2. I think our children like to see us happy and making good choices (much as we do for them) and it's funny when they become sensible adults and start showing their care for us (even if it is digitally). Our son often writes thoughtful comments in the cards he sends for birthdays etc that make me realize that all our parenting wasn't taken for granted. Lovely post Sue x

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    1. They're lovely moments, aren't they Leanne, when you hear "yourself" in what your kids say!! We've had some funny moments in discussions when I've realised that my boys actually admire and appreciate they way they were parented, including the way they were disciplined!!! They certainly didn't appreciate it at the time, lol. Thanks for your kind comment xx

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  3. Thank you for a beautiful post and the truth it conveys. Often we don't realise that children are listening and learning, we may not get acknowledged as the 'teacher' but we see it worked out in their lives and that is enough.
    We will feature this post in the next Blogger's Pit Stop.
    Kathleen

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    1. Thank you Kathleen. You're right that it is such an encouragement to realise that the input we give is appreciated and taken on board! Thanks for your kind comment xx

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