Sometimes Mothering Mistakes Are Permanent

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On the inside of our master closet is a wall which has become our kids' growth chart. Over the years, I occasionally had our kids stand right up against that wall so I could mark their height along with the date. Unfortunately, I made the markings directly onto the wall instead of taping up a roll of paper and putting marks on it.

We will never be able to move out of this house.

11.2009 365 Growth Chart 1

I wasn't thinking through the ramifications of my actions when I first began marking our kids' height on this wall. It was just amusing to see how fast they grow.

"Wow, Joshy, you're already three feet tall!" I said to our little boy one night after bath. Within a few weeks, it seemed, he was an inch taller.

Younger sister Meg, never one to be outdone, scrambled over to be measured against her brother. She tried to get up on her tippy toes to catch up to him. In no time, she did.

Then there was that growth spurt during 2nd grade. And 5th. And this past summer.

I marked my own height on that wall, far above our children's, thinking that it would be an eternity before they caught up with me. Well, eternity must already be here, because both of them caught up, then surpassed, their mother. It won't be long before they catch up to my husband.

Each time I measure our kids, I tell myself that I better transfer this information somewhere else less permanent, but I always get busy chasing them off to bed or breaking up a fight. In any case, a second-generation copy of the growth chart just wouldn't be the same. The original markings on the wall were made when the kids were actually that small. I'm resigned to take the wall with me to the nursing home some day. Or to my grave.

This wall contains precious information to a mother. We moms have certain treasures that no one else but our kids' pediatricians care about, like their height, weight, and growth rate. Also precious to us are hand and foot imprints on various art projects from preschool, kindergarten, and first grade. They were so tiny and cute back then. Today, their gigantic, clumsy feet are anything but cute. Their imprints would only be a source of interest to future archeologists digging in this area.

In the Bible, the people of Israel frequently built monuments to commemorate their God-led triumphs and victories. These altars were known as Ebenezers. Usually, they piled some rocks they found in the area. It wasn't the value of the material used that made their monument special but what it commemorates that really mattered.

For me, this little wall inside our closet is my Ebenezer. I fed and watered our little children as they grew and grew, and this wall commemorates the small triumphs we experienced with each measurement. It isn't pretty, and it's way too permanent for my taste, but it is a genuine chart marking the progress on my little kids' lives. So, this is why I could never leave this wall behind.

However, if you are a mom of young children today, let me give you an advice before it's too late: Put up some paper on the wall first and make that your growth chart. A rolled up butcher paper is far more portable than a wall.

And you can take that to your grave!

* * * *

What's your Ebenezer -- a journal or a photo album? Tell me how you commemorate your trials and triumphs of motherhood in the comments here.

 

Photo Credit: njtechteacher.

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