Never Give Up!

March 9, 2011, is a day I will never forget. I am one of millions of Facebook users, and my birthday is listed on my profile. I received hundreds of birthday wishes from my friends.

My husband took the day off just to be with me all day. I felt like a school girl on my first date because I can’t remember the last time Ray and I spent an entire day together with no agenda. So we shopped, ate at a fancy restaurant, went to a movie, and then brought a cake home to celebrate with the kids.

That morning, I was greeted by my children, each singing the “happy birthday” song adding harmonies and “cha-cha-cha’s.” One son, busy with his college life, hadn’t called, texted, or emailed. So, I called him.

“Hello, Ross.”

“Hey, Mommy.”

“What’s going on?”

“Nothing much. I am sleeping in. We won the intramural basketball tournament.”

“Oh, how many points did you score?”

“About 20.”

“Great job! What’s today?”

SILENCE!!!!

“Oh, Mommy, is today your birthday?”

“Yes.”

“Oh, Mommy, happy birthday. I have an alarm set on my phone to remind me later. I didn’t forget.” (This is about one o’clock in the afternoon).

“Ok, Ross. Thanks for remembering. I will wait on your call when your alarm goes off. I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

After a little more chatting, I got off the phone and smiled at his daddy sitting right next to me (Ross came by this trait honestly, and I was spending the day with the man who had passed it down to him). My husband, Ray, admitted that he, too, in college would be very neglectful in calling his mother.

After cake and presents from my children, I went to my Facebook account to see what other birthday well-wishes I had received. There, to my surprise, was the following birthday wish:

Happy birthday, Mommy! Love you and truly appreciate everything you have done for me. Especially after going to college and no longer eating food that melts in your mouth. Food that changes and is seasoned to perfection. O! how I love my mother! Not only for your food though, I love you for all those years you did my Laundry and hand-folded it. I love you for all the times you would drive me to Chick-fil-A, and every time would tell me “Have a nice day and be kind to the people.” O! how I miss that! I love that you care if I call you or not when I away from home, it makes me feel loved. I love you for all the “Mommy hugs” you gave me.

I love you for all those years you put up with me with home schooling. I love you for still being so kind and forgiving after all the lies I have told you. I love you for helping me with the kitchen when I procrastinated and it was late at night (because you knew Daddy wasn’t going to help me). I love you for being such an awesome mother that is always herself. Whenever I had a basketball game I LOVED when you would go! I would try not to show it, but I was such a proud son even if I was on the bench. Because you cheered louder and harder than any other person. Gosh! I love my Mother. You have done more than is expected for two mothers! I want to marry someone like you. I may be a little bit biased when saying this, but I mean it with all my heart. “Robyn McKelvy is the best mother in the whole world!!! I love you and have a happy happy 47 ;) Birthday!!

I had to stop halfway through reading this message because I was crying so hard. I now understand Galatians 6:9, which says, ”And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (ESV). I have reaped!

Ross also gave me a great present. All day long, I was celebrating my 49th birthday. He gave me two years back. I’ll take them.

Sharing Our Chips

Recently, there was a picture of me and my sweet granddaughter posted on Facebook. This picture really touched me, and I began to tear up. (I am really getting sentimental in my older age.)

This is not my first grandchild; I have many grandchildren. But this particular picture was not posted by one of my many biological kids. Even though I have several who are old enough to be married, God hasn’t given me grandchildren this way, but yet, I am a grandmother.

This was a picture of my spiritual granddaughter. And though she has godly Christian grandparents and great-grandparents in other cities, I have become a spiritual mom to her parents. Her mother and father have had many meals at our home. They had many talks in our home about life, marriage, difficult things, and godly things. I screamed like a little kid when they called me after their engagement, and I cried with her father over the news of her conception. Sometimes, her parents show up at the door to get a McKelvy fix (this is slang for missing us and coming “home” for a little while).

When I looked at this posted picture, I smiled at the comment attached to the post; her mom had added to this photo, “Juliet with her ‘chocolate grandmother,’ Robyn McKelvy. She wants to be called Chip! [I laughed at myself when I came up with that name.] How cute :) . I love how much she adores our daughter.” God has been so good to me because I have multi-ethnic and multi-lingual spiritual children and grandchildren. They are African, African-American, Hispanic, Caucasian, Asian, Cambodian, and some mixed of many other ethnicities.

Growing up, I was pretty radical about everything, so when I became a Christian at 21, I became really extreme for Christ. Shortly thereafter, I read that, “… children are a heritage from the LORD, …” (Psalm 127:3), and I wasn’t going to miss any of my gifts from the Lord. I have learned first-hand that you cannot out-give God! I try to turn every conversation into a time to talk about God’s goodness — at the grocery store, on an elevator (yes, I am one of the few who talk on elevators)anywhere. I am a fanatic about Jesus!

It is so refreshing to see Christian couples having children and raising them to love Christ. We need those coming behind us who are true worshippers because our world is seeking everything but what they need: Christ. My desire for Juliet and all my grandchildren, biological or spiritual, would be that I would be one of the many people in their lives who whisper in their ears, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ,” (I Corinthians 11:1). And when I am long gone from this world, I pray she will remember her “Chip” because she has become a “chip” off the old block.

Mother to Daughter

When my kids were younger, one of our favorite family movies was the Disney remake of “The Parent Trap.” Lindsay Lohan, at age 11, played two separate roles when a British twin and an American twin meet for the first time at summer camp and exchange lives to meet the parent the other has never met. The plan was to reunite the parents so these sisters could become a family again.

Like the movie, Lohan has had family issues and wrote about one of them in her 2005 song called “Father to Daughter.” The subtitle of this song is “Confessions of a broken heart.” In this song, Lohan writes of all the things she has missed since her father has left her family (for a jail sentence); the chorus is a repetitive cry, “Why’d you have to go?”

Children surely misses their parent when he or she is not in the home. But many parents are home and unavailable. Our children are missing us even though we share the same address. My own inaccessibility even though I am present is mainly because I am home but in my own world. We must invite our children to be a part of what is going on in our lives and get involved in what is going on in theirs; otherwise we miss a lot of precious time and influence with them.

I recently sat down with my 14-year-old daughter, ReNay, to interview her. Here is our attempt not to miss each other. Here are her responses to the things I could have missed had we not had this interlude:

1. What things do I do that annoy you?

ReNay thinks I am high maintenance at restaurants. She hates that I pick at my fingernails and thinks I often find fault with her ideas; I also make something simple very complex.

2. What do I do to make you smile or that is funny?

ReNay thinks my dancing is very funny (she made sure to tell me this is not an insult, just hilarious). My being outgoing makes her smile.

3. What are some of my characteristics that you admire?

ReNay loves it when I find out a special thing someone in the family likes and surprises him or her with it. (She said cooking a meal just because it is someone’s favorite is one thing she really admires.)

4. What qualities of mine would you desire to emulate?

ReNay loves that I share God with everyone.

5. When you are a mom, what things that I do now will you absolutely avoid?

ReNay had no answer for this. I even gave her some ideas based on how hard she rolls her eyes, but she still had no answer. (This really surprises me because once, she called me weird in a very irritated way. I jumped up and down and thanked her because “I am an alien and stranger and I should be weird.” … She rolled her eyes.)

6. If you and I could go away, just the two of us, where would go and why?

ReNay chose to go back to Missouri, to reminisce and visit all our old friends. (I told her this was too easy. We could have been, hypothetically, in Europe.)

7. If I were not your mother, would I be your friend?  What friend qualities would attract me to you?

After much thought (too much for my liking), ReNay said we would be friends if we were the same age. She loves my outgoingness and my sharing Christ.

8. What am I missing about you?  What can I do to help you succeed in high school?

ReNay thinks I don’t really know how big her passions are to her. I can help her succeed by letting her try new things (I have a tendency to make her complete what she’s started).

 

“The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”

Proverbs 29:15 (ESV)

 

Postscript by ReNay:

I realized that when I grow up, if I say my relationship with my mom wasn’t the best, then it is my fault. I realized that she honestly loves me. Well, that is something I knew, but I know for sure now. I realized the only reason we might argue is because we are so much alike. And actually, I think I would take that as a compliment. I guess it’s kind of sad that I am just realizing this — well, I’ve always known that she loves me, but to know that she loves me in a way that I obviously don’t understand.

Also, please pray for Lindsay Lohan.