As a mom, we never know who our kids are going to grow into. We know who we hope they grow into - responsible, caring human beings who contribute well to the world around them.

Most moms I know (myself included) pray they're parenting well enough to teach their kids to make wise choices... to change things for the better so that they leave the world a better place than how they found it.

Since there is not manual for motherhood that gives us step by step instructions for each stage - we do the best we can.  Thankfully, there are a lot of resources out there that give us some insight.

My own mother, for example, has been key in how I parent.  I find myself quoting her phrases without even knowing where they came from.  These gems of wisdom have been stored in the back of my mind for future use without my knowledge until they pop from my mouth, and I lovingly shake my head - thankful for my mother's influence.  Her gentle spirit was paired with knowledge, discipline, and unconditional love.  She is who I look to for what to be when it comes to mothering.

Asking for wisdom and guidance through prayer is another tool that has given me much direction.  There have been times that God has granted me exactly what I need at the right time through gentle suggestion.  Like when my temper threatens to flare up and get the best of me during one of my pre-teen's mood swings. Or, when I've been tempted to do my own thing (needing a mental break from a busy day) and my son asks me to watch him play a video game that I could care less about.  Well, guess what??? He cares about it!

So, when I'm tempted to be selfish, God often taps me on the heart to remind me that time with him is short and to make the most of the moments I have with him.

Bottom line is - as parents, we just hope we're doing it right.  Offering a mixture of tough love and a nurturing heart has been my gift to him.  Without coddling him, I am gentle yet when needed in moments of typical teenaged moments - I teach about respect with a stern but loving nature.  My child knows how much he's loved and in return loves the world with that same spirit.  My husband is also the most gentle yet firm father, who spends time and energy investing in his child.

Today is lil' T's thirteenth birthday.  And as I was looking for posts about his younger years, I found this one.  There are so many things I reflect on, like this story, that show me that he has always been who he was meant to be at his core.  God blessed him with an incredible spirit, intellect, and heart - and I'm just the person that gets to show him about life and direct his passions and dreams.  I get to teach him about consequences (yeah, he cleaned his toilet with a toothbrush last night - that's a story for another time).   I get the honor of watching him take my and his father's direction and apply it to the world around him.  

SO HAPPY BIRTHDAY Lil' Man.  You're gonna grow up and change the world.  I can't wait to see how.