A Mother's Love

They say that you shouldn't mix business with personal. 
Keep it separate so your business grows. 
Don't get too personal. 
If you're going to be personal keep it to a minimum of about a paragraph and throw in a picture and you're done. 
Blah, blah, blah.
That's bologna in my book. 

And so, whether you're a BFF from decades ago or whether I just met you three weeks ago on a photo shoot, you get the real me and I find my "mommy brain and heart" needing to write about what just went down at the Panera Bread, two tables over. 

 I'm in the process of revamping my website which is fun and lots of work all rolled up into one big ball of wax. Part of that journey is going through my sessions from the last few months, finding my favorite images; images that capture best my photography style/voice/eye. 

So I happened to be working this morning on what I am continuing to find 
moves me at the depth of my core.  
Photos of mothers with their children.  
Capturing that emotion touches me somewhere deep within. 

Images like these

and these 


and these.


{Honestly, I think this might be where my business is headed,
but I'm not committing to that just yet. We'll see.} 


I landed on this next image
and as I did I happened to glance over to see three teenage girls (16 at the oldest) plop down two tables over. 

And from a mother's perspective, they were three typical teenage girls having a fun off-campus school lunch, sitting down with girlfriends to chit chat about boys and movies and what they should wear to school tomorrow. 

I was wrong. 

Oh.so.wrong. 

The first thing out of one of their mouths was the 'f' bomb about the fact that she had forgotten to get a napkin and now had to get back up and walk, oh, 10 steps out of her way to grab one. 

The next girl started talking about so and so and how she was sleeping with what's his name and had called to say ....  {I'll leave that part out of the conversation. You should have HEARD what she said.}   
And then came more talk about s_x and types and with whom and where.

And then started the talk about drugs. Tips on how to get a better high. Tips on how long a high lasts if you do it a certain way. Tips on when to take it so your parents don't know and how to fool the school principal and how to get the powder off your hands so it's not traceable at all. 

A twenty minute conversation tops. But let me tell you, they paced a wallop into that 20 minutes.

 I'm not naive enough to think this talk and those actions aren't prevalent among the majority of teens. I know the stats. I know the reality. I see the shows they watch and the movies they see and internet sites they visit and the non-parental involvement in all of the above. 

I know. 

And frankly, it's both terrifying and heart-breaking. 

 I sat saddened by their reality. I wanted to reach over and take each of them by the hand and say, "Sweetie, there is SO, SOOOO much more out there for you than the next high and guy. You have a lifetime of potential that you're swiftly throwing out the window. Doing drugs is going to wreck havoc on your life. Teenage pregnancy? Ya, that can't be fun for anyone. I promise you that. And don't even get me started on the other stuff you just chatted about." 

But before I could play out that conversation they were scooping up their trays and heading out the door like three girls running down the hall to play barbie dolls and Pet Shop.

As they left, a little three-year-old daughter skipped over to the chair at the table in-between us saying, "Mommy, let's sit here." 

 Stark contrast. 
Something gone wrong.

 I guess what broke my heart was realizing that those three girls were someones' daughters. And I can't think of one parent that ever starts out thinking that they hope their daughter decides to do drugs and be a s_xually active teen. 

One of the girls in particular was hanging on every word the other two shared and the reality is that I just know she was desperately trying to fit in and be who she is not. 

 And so I found myself gasping for air, 
realizing the power of friends and media on a child's life. 

 I wanted to race to Maddie's school and wrap my arms around her and just beg her to make wise choices with friends. I wanted to take her away to a farm in the middle of nowhere and let her run and play with horses and never be tempted by what the world says is fulfilling and necessary. 

 Honestly, if I'm playing psychologist, 
I know exactly what is triggering the tears and sadness. 

Fear. 

Fear that my children will cause themselves unnecessary hurt and pain because of poor choices. 

Fear that bad things will happen to them.

 Fear that peer pressure will suck them in and they won't stand for 
who they are and what they believe. 

Fear that I can't always be there to protect. 

 I don't generally live in fear and in fact I would say I rarely live in fear or worry. 
That's just not how I'm wired. 
{I have issues -- oh believe me I have issues -- but usually not those.} 

But today, I think I'm just a little wee bit afraid that after all our hard work and the love we've poured out on our children that it will just take one or two lousy friends at the wrong time to suck our children into a lifetime of mistakes and heartache.

 A little over-dramatic? Yes. 

 What I'm feeling? Yes. 

So if I'm wrapping this up with anything, it's a challenge to myself to continue making our home and our family SO loving and safe and fun that they WANT to be home and be with us even when the world is telling them the opposite.  It's a challenge to be intentional about how we parent our children.

Ultimately, my kids belong to God and He can protect them WAY better than I can. He can help them make good choices in tough situations. He can actually use them to change their classrooms and schools for the good. He can use them to lead others down positive paths instead of negative paths.

 And as always, by the time I write what I'm thinking and feeling, I come to a better place. 

A more Peace-filled place. 

Psalm 46:1 
"God is my refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 
Therefore I will not fear..."

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