My siblings and I thought it was quite humorous when our mom had to run through two or three names before her tongue found the one she was looking for. With sisters named Alyssa and Gloria it wasn't terribly uncommon to hear things like“Re-Gloria” or "Al-Glo-Rebeca." As a kid, of course, I couldn't fathom the numerous things a mother does all day, every day, and often all at once. Now, I understand. As I sat at the table feeding Raphael the other day I struggled to get the right name on my lips and it came out something like "Pop-Per-Raffi".
And thus a new name for my children, in a collective sense, was born: they are now known as "The Popperaffi". It sounds kind of like Paparazzi. It may not seem like my children have anything in common with these infamous rabid journalists, but it's not as out there as you may think. I really do have my own version going on. Three people who I can't seem to shake; they watch me night and day. They're not yet equipped with cameras, but by their very lives they're recording my words, my actions, even my attitudes. And they really do follow my everywhere. It doesn't matter if I'm on the toilet or in the shower, they seem to find me! I'm reminded (and it's a timely reminder) of one of my favorite quotes from Elizabeth Prentiss.
"My children, my darling precious children....what I want them to become I must become myself."
It's a tall order. I have high hopes for the kind of people I want my children to become. I don't care about how much money they make or what kind of social position they find themselves in, but I do want them, above all, to love God with all their hearts, souls, and minds, and to love their neighbor as themselves. I want them to be kind, compassionate, generous, joyful, unselfish, courageous, loving, humble. It's what I want to become too, but I have a long, long way to grow. I know that Erik and I are the biggest earthly influence in their lives, that they see us at our best and at our worst, that many times our actions don't line up with our words or our expectations of them. But we love, and are abundantly loved by, a big God, a God who is bigger than we are, who loves our kids more than we do, whose plans for them exceed ours, and who is able to bring them to pass.
So even though the calling is high, so very high, I won't lose heart. I will continue to live with my little Popperaffi and let them see my life, moment by moment, day by day. I will continue to love them, to play with them, teach them, correct them, dance with them. I will humble myself and ask their forgiveness when I have spoken harshly or become impatient with them. I will continue to pray for all of us to become more like our loving and kind-hearted Christ. And I will trust Him to complete the work that He started in us.
And Mom? I hope you can forgive me for laughing when you called my Al-Glo-Rebeca. I understand now. I really do.