Monday, November 24, 2014

The Role of a Lifetime

I’ve lived my whole life being called “Mom Meredith.” It probably started when I was three and my brother was born. From the moment I held that little baby I decided I was in charge of taking care of everyone. I used to play a game with him in the bathtub where I was the mom and he was my “baby boy hippo.”

I never said I was normal. 

Through the years the “mom” nature never left. In college my friends in the dorm started calling me mom, much to my own mother’s dismay. I reassured her that it was an endearing term and people meant it out of love, whether that was actually true or not. I just cared for people a lot. And I liked rules. So I thought other people should too. 

It was this innate tendency that I couldn’t rid myself of, even if I had wanted to. I was always the nurturer, the bossy one, the rule enforcer, the listener, and the let’s-eat-chocolate-to-make-it-all-better kind of friend. 

It was at 25 where I realized that all my practice (whether invited or not) had been for a reason. No, I was not yet a mom to babies, but I looked up one day to find myself firmly fixed in the role of “mom” (or "auntie") . . .to 15 teenagers. Talk about unexpected. 

Finally it seemed that all those skills I had honed over the years were coming into use, and I fit the role like a glove. 

As challenging as it is to “parent” teenagers I love getting to find the balance between disciplinarian and comforter. Bossy is my nature, so having the authority to tell students what to do is awesome. But what I love even more are all the moments in between the discipline. I love getting to listen to problems and feelings, giving advice or simply empathizing. It is awesome getting to be embarrassing in front of their friends and I cherish the moments when they choose to hang out by my side. I love getting to be a part of their lives, not just as a friend but as a mentor, a confidant, and an authority figure. It is the best job in the world to "parent" these crazy teens. 

Being “mom” is something ingrained in me, and praise God that He has given me a place to use it, even though it is far from what I dreamed. I find that at the end of each day I am so in love with my job, and it doesn't matter what the mornings bring or what personal life goals I haven’t reached. It doesn’t matter what else I could be doing or what other people think would be better for me. 

There is never a day where I wish I was doing something else. 

Getting to be with these kids is the greatest honor and the weird little family we create is more than I could have dreamed for. I wouldn’t trade this family for anything. I wouldn't leave this role unless a Divine force came down and told me to move along. This is what I have been prepared for, and I love these kids like crazy.

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