Mothers come in all shapes and sizes, and genders.....
This year I have come to learn this lesson in ways that have been humbling and have required a recasting of roles in a way I could never have imagined...
My daughters are so blessed to have their dad, Dwight, defining for them not only the office of "father", but also a new perspective on the office of "mother".
This is a tribute to him...and to his "motherhood"...and mothering...of us all.
Some may ask, "If he is so great ...why aren't you still married to eachother?' Answering this question is not the purpose of this entry...it is a question that only he and I could answer... to, and for eachother...an answer we hope will bless our daughters.
So....here is my tribute, my letter of appreciation to Dwight....the "father" and, in many ways , "mother" of my daughters:
From the first time I met him, Dwight was the kind of man who saw others as pure and good...including me. One of the definitions of compassion that has meant so much to me is one that I found in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of Bible terms....in the Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic lexicons there are word definitions that help Bible scholars understand the early definitions of words. The definition of the word "compassion" that I found there one day has forever re-defined that term for me and is one that I immediately connected with Jesus being "moved with compassion" and is the compassion that I have always seen in Dwight's eyes. It reads, "an extension of the womb, to cherish as the foetus" What an amazing sense of motherhood...and one that can be, and has been, expressed by both men and women throughout the history of spiritual thought-leadership.
The fetal stage of development is the earliest stage. It is when the child can neither be seen or felt by the mother. There is no swell to the womb, nor is there any movement from the child....and yet, as soon as the mother realizes that she is "expecting"...whether that realization comes as revelation, the result of testing, or a missed menstrual cycle, she completely and absolutely loves that child.
She doesn't say to herself, "Well, that's all fine and good and yes, I will nourish this baby, but I'm going to wait until I can see and feel him/her, before I love this baby." No....from the moment the child is "known" the mother loves it with all her heart and soul, she will defend that baby with her own life and expects only the best for the child's life. She never thinks "This one...well this one is not so great...he I expect will be a bum." NO...every mother's thinks her child will be great...a great dancer, a great plumber, a great president...."
This is how a true Christian sees everyone in their viewfinder....this is how Dwight saw me when we first met....and I was healed. I can never begin to tell him how deeply grateful I am for his compassion. It is what makes him a great dad.
From the first moment he held our daughter in a South African airport he saw she would be great. We, together, knew that she would be great at whatever she set her heart on...and she has been. It is what he has given her without measure and it is the environment of heart that she has thrived in. She is so blessed to have a dad who "mothers' her with such pure devotion. I strive to emulate his example as a parent. If I could have chosen a dad whose viewpoint on life would have led to greatness....it would have been him. God was so wise in appointing Dwight to be her dad.
The day we brought our twin daughters home from the hospital they cried inconsolably. Our older daughter and I stayed up all night rocking, walking and singing to them while Dwight tried to get enough sleep so that he could go into work the next day rested and alert. But when dawn came and they were still not settled he joined us and held out his arms. He took one of the girls in each arm and while our daughter and I slept for an hour or so he was finally able to get them to sleep singing hymns and talking to them of God's love and care.
This has set the tone for the last nine years of his mothering of two little girls who have the energy of a pair of kittens and hearts of gold. His patience with them is fathomless. He will go on a ride at Six Flags over and over again while I, with my queasy tummy, have never even crossed the threshold of that kingdom of thrill and delight. He is tireless in his care for their hearts. I can't imagine a better place for a little girl to grow up than within his viewpoint and under the microscope of his perspective on life and priorities.
When Emma and Clara were little babies he would wear them in two front packs (you don't even want to know how difficult that was to figure out) and go about his day with them bouncing around on his chest....in some ways he still does. Only now it is IN his chest that they "bounce around"....
As his parenting partner I am so blessed to know that no matter how many times I might say the wrong thing or prioritize a clean dress over a trip through the muddy reaches of the swamp in the ravine behind the house, he will be there to remind them of what really counts.
I am eternally grateful that he is helping me learn to mother them more effectively even though we don't share the same address and that no matter where they go or what they choose to do in life they will always have a dad who sees only their greatness and a mom who appreciates his example of motherhood and strives to emulate it in many ways.... everyday.