The birth of a child is one of the most incredible experiences that we will have in life. When they are young, we expect to provide everything for them but life often takes a different turn. Our responsibilities and expenses pile up on us and eventually, it can be harder and harder to keep up with the Joneses.
This is something that Cassandra Lane knows all too well. She is the mother of five children and the financial difficulties that life throws our way has certainly come in her direction. The finances at their home are sometimes tight and sacrifices sometimes need to be made.
Regardless of how difficult things may have gotten financially, Cassandra realizes that loving the children is the most important thing. It is a gift that she can give, regardless of the money situation.
Recently, Cassandra saw her confidence in her own parenting abilities take a nosedive when she realized what was going on in the homes of other children her son’s age.
The problem started when she was at a photo session with her son Zeke. They were having pictures taken for his high school senior year. The realization that she came to was shared on a popular Facebook page recently. It was a conversation that she had with Zeke several days later.
“Earlier this week we went to get Zeke’s senior yearbook pictures. On the way, I noticed his hands. Working hands. Hands that look familiarly like my dad’s work-stained hands and like Brandon’s in the early years of our marriage.
I told him not to worry about it because they were doing headshots. I was wrong.”
“As we sat in line, I notice kids in letterman jackets with their class rings. And I notice Zeke’s stained hands. I began to tear up. Have I given him everything a parent should give to their child as he has grown up? He works out in the heat, 30-40 hours a week during the summer. He didn’t want a class ring or a letterman jacket. He didn’t get a new car. The mommy comparison game tells me I didn’t show him how much I love him with things. I left there feeling bad about myself and how we have raised our son
I’ve been reflecting the last few days and crying a lot, honestly. I apologized to Zeke and he laughed at me. He said, ‘Why are you sorry? Because you’ve taught me to work hard for things I want? Because I know the value of a dollar? Because I’m not going to think that I deserve to have everything I want?’
And my sister reminded me that the best things in life aren’t things, but relationships, and any shortfalls in my parenting are covered by God’s grace. So, mama’s, if you’re struggling with the parenting comparison game, just know that God gave you the babies you have because he wanted you, YOU, to be their mama. Not someone else
I am beyond proud of Zeke, who has taken his brother shopping for a canoe today, using his money that he earned in a vehicle that he fixed with his own hands and gas he paid for by himself. I’m not ready for Zeke to grow up, but I think he’s well on his way.”
As it turns out, Zeke was not upset by what he was lacking, he was simply happy to have a family that taught him what was most important in life. There certainly is nothing wrong with hard work.
We may not be able to provide everything that our children want in a material way. What we can give them is the love and emotional support that they need. That is the most important lesson we could all learn.