A few years ago, my daughter Becky was taking music lessons from a very distinguished instructor. Now, to be honest, Becky is REALLY good at the piano. I don't mean your regular old "my kid is talented" kind of good, but REALLY good. Honest.
So when we would go to the lessons, I would sit in the other room, reading a book, while she had her lesson. I guess she was about 8 years old when I overheard the following exchange:
TEACHER: So Becky, what do you want to be when you grow up?
BECKY: A mommy.
TEACHER (with some surprise in her voice): No, I mean, what job do you want to have? What career?
BECKY: A mommy.
The instructor was hoping for "composer", as she later told me. She tried to argue with my 8 year old daughter, to convince her that she needed some other type of career in order to be fulfilled. I just set my book down, smiled, and listened to Becky adamantly stick to her guns - she just wanted to be a mommy. After we left that day, I hugged her and told her that she had made a good choice and that I was proud of her.
And I would love to take the credit for her choice (which she still clings to, even today). However, the reason that Becky knew what she wanted to be was because she saw a great mommy (my wife, Debbie) in action every day. She knew how much her mother meant (and means) to her and her brothers. She aspired to be just as important to her own kids some day.
As I look at that conversation, and my daughter's goal, I interpret it to be validation of what a great mother my wife is. She spends the vast majority of her time caring, teaching, healing, praying, and loving her children (and her often childlike husband).
I am not saying that mothers shouldn't have a "career." Each family has a different situation and circumstances, and I would never presume to judge someone for making a different choice than we have made. I do know that my stay-at-home wife makes our world work. I see it in my kids every day. I see it in my own life, every day.
So while this post is really about what a great mother my wife is, I realized it in a new and more meaningful way by listening to what my young daughter said to someone else, when she didn't realize I was listening. That also caused me to open my ears more often, and listen to what my children say, and try to see if I can learn from them. I realize that they are kids, and the majority of what they say indicates their youth and immaturity. But once in awhile, I hear gold. And I treasure it.
Occasionally, I will post something that my kids have said over the years that has meant a lot to me, and I hope you find it worth reading.