Possumhaw: Mothering by intention

May 11, 2013 8:48:38 PM

Shannon Bardwell - [email protected]


We sat at the kitchen table conversing over coffee. In time, Heather noticed that Chloe, the youngest, had disappeared. We called; we searched. Could she have wandered outside? 


Within minutes Chloe was discovered under the kitchen table. She was busy opening sugar packets and downing the sugar. Heather gently coaxed her out and sat her in her lap. She said, "Chloe, you know if you have to hide when you do something you probably shouldn't be doing it." 


Chloe leaned in, "I'm sorry, Mommy." Heather kissed her head and sent her on her way. My eyes watered up. 


"You know, Heather, you just taught Chloe a life lesson that wasn't about sugar. An exasperated mom would have yanked her out from under the table and spanked her. Chloe would have learned nothing except don't eat sugar under the table." 


Some mothers are especially gifted in mothering, like Heather who now has six children. Gifted mothers often have a lot of children, and they should; they are good at it.  


I can't think of anything that is more valuable in the world today than a mother lovingly nurturing wholesome, responsible, well-adjusted children. Mothering well is a vocation that changes the world. 


The Prairie life attracts families with lots of children. Around the corner lives the Stoll family. There are seven children; five are boys and two are girls. I most often notice the girls. They ride their horses or jog along the road. They have long, red hair and smiles that stretch from ear to ear. They are courteous and friendly. Beside their house is a garden. Early in the mornings they work the garden. Some evenings the family plays yard games; they laugh.  


Down the road are the Carpenters. They have six children. The kids play outside year-round. They built bike paths edged with found stones. They are learning to garden. The eldest are putting up posts and hog wire to keep the deer at bay. Nearby, Nathaniel, the young one, climbed in the back of his toy dump truck and careened down a slope. He crashed into brambles, earning him another life skill. 


Mother of half-a-dozen and with another one on the way, Lindsey Hardy says it best,  


"Dinner time is one of my most favorite parts of the day as we gather around the table. I love hearing what they thought about their day or some of the funny stories I may have missed. You never know what they find or explore outside. We do high points at dinner every night as well, where each child goes around the table and tells their high point for that day. Even my two-year-old participates, which is always funny." 


Lindsey continues, "Bedtime routine is pretty much the same every night. After pajamas and brushing, we gather up and read the Bible together each night with daddy, pray and send them to bed. Of course, we must do hugs and kisses all around before being tucked in for the night. Sometimes those are extra special times with the babies as well. 


"Morning routine is also the same pretty much each morning. My kids tend to stagger waking up, so I get some time with each one of them. That is also one of my favorite times with my two little ones. They need their little tank filled first thing in the morning, so of course I don't mind that one bit. We get lots of snuggle time then. This is usually after the first four have waked up and had breakfast, so they have been taken care of, and I can just snuggle away!" 


The fruit of the womb is a reward ... Psalm 127:3b

Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.