April 25, 2015
It’s strange how looking back we can see fate at work long before we consciously realize it. Some might say destiny at work. I say it’s neither fate nor destiny. So let me start again. It’s strange how looking back we can see where God was at work, long before we realize it. The first time I Ever gave any thought to organ donation was when my youngest daughter was in college. Oh so casual one day she said,” Mom if something happens to me, I want my organs donated.” Trying not to panic at the thought, I just as casual (I think) replied, “Ummm ok.” Internally I felt fear and horror! The thought of something happening to either of our daughters, scared me. The thought of having to make such a decision, if needed, scared me. I’m sure she saw something on my face because she very calmly said, “Mom if something should happen I won’t need them, but someone else might.” That sums up our conversation.
You must understand that both my daughters have traveled extensively. Both have been flying since they were about three years old. They have watched my husband and I navigate airports since three years of age. Both traveled internationally without parents before they were sixteen years old. My youngest made her own flight arrangements when she went through a lengthy application process and was chosen, to go to Antarctica when she was fifteen years old. We made her wait until she was sixteen. My daughters have traveled all their life. Their world view was and is, much different from most their age.I was not at all surprised that my youngest wanted to plan for every eventuality. Both have been independent since an early age and are deep thinkers. The greatest gift you will ever give your children is independence. Independence gives them confidence. Confidence makes them less vulnerable to peer pressure and those who prey on the less confident. I’m talking about internal self independence. We always have taught them and exhibited to them, our total faith and dependence upon God, while controlling ourselves in a world often out of control. In Sunday school one morning we were asked, what one thing do you want your kids to be. It was a really awkward moment for my husband and I. Most gave really spiritual answers. Of course we wanted our children to love the Lord with all their heart. We had them in church all their life. My husband and I thought it was a provocative question, one you should contemplate. One that required more thinking on the part of a parent than a standard pat answer. The implication when asked the question was not of a spiritual nature, because of course we were sitting there in church together. The spiritual dimension seemed pretty obvious! Since everyone looked at us like we were aliens, we deduced we were not operating on the same brain track they were! Seems to be the story of my life:) I have come to believe operating a little out of sync from the rest of the world, is not necessarily a bad thing.
Independence starts in the toddler stage. If they want to dress themselves and wear their shoes on the wrong feet, let them! I was so proud of my oldest when I saw one of the boys with their shoes on the wrong feet, I had to smile! I had no doubt she had told countless people that day, yes I know they are on the wrong feet but he seems to like them that way:) She and my son-in-law are two of the best parents, I know. Have a school project, let them manage their time and see what happens. Let them do the project, not you. It always amazes me the parents that stay up all night and do a child’s project. What are you teaching them? Yes, you can go to the art fair, the science fair, whatever and tell which child’s parents did their work and which child did their own work! Sure you guide them and help with time management, but you don’t do it! If they fail, it’s a life lesson they have learned early. It always amazes me parents running kid’s lunch, forgotten piano book (in our case), and countless other forgotten items up to the school. We had one rule that I stuck to. If you forget something one time, mom will bring it to you. If you forget twice, mom will not and you have learned a very valuable lesson. They won’t starve! Oh mercy, Sorry, it seems I went down a rabbit trail. I’m prone to that:)
My daughter’s talk about death was not what bothered me. We frequently had conversations with them that covered pretty much anything you can think of from spiritual topics, including death and love, marriage, sex, politics and the state of world affairs. (Somebody will be talking to your kids about these things. Shouldn’t it be you?) You name it and we have probably talked about it. What scared me that day was my daughter’s intensity and just the thought of losing either of my children to something so horrible, life support might be needed. For those of you reading this who have lost a child, my heart grieves for you and I am so sorry! After our conversation I took to heart and mind some of my own advice. Ponder things! I did. I reminded myself that I am not in control, God is. I can do all things through Him. My husband and I discussed the topic of organ donation and in time we came to believe that we would also be organ donors, should anything happen. Sometimes I respond emotionally at first and logic catches up somewhere down the road! This was one of those moments. I’m a big believer in planning in advance. Actually I’m just a lover of all planning! Don’t even let me start talking about how much I love lists and how valuable they are:) My husband is an only child. We have learned the hard way, what it feels like to have to make decisions that are hard and should have been decided by the previous generation. Make sure someone knows what you want, “should something happen.”
Seven or eight years have passed since that conversation. At that time, I had no idea how our decision would unfold. I had no idea how much comfort I would find in my daughter’s opinions, which had been formed out of confidence in themselves. I have always been grateful God does not allow us to see the future! Instead, He prepares us! Kathy
PS. Don’t get me started on those Pinterest birthday parties! Really! Self induced stress!