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Just dropping by ... The mother of Mary

Yevet Tenney for Progressive Dairyman Published on 11 September 2017

I have had four granddaughters born in the last year. When you have 11 children, it isn’t strange to see the babies come in multiples. It is amazing to see each one. They are all sweet and unique. Each has her own personality and certainly her own temperament, and I am sure each has her own mission while in this life.

As I watch my daughters struggle with the new little ones and juggle the training of siblings, I can see the marks and patterns of my parenting skills played out in their parenting style. Sometimes I smile with delight, and sometimes I want to shout, “That doesn’t work. I tried it. If you do it this way, it will work much better.”



But I must be content to let them develop their own parenting strategies. It is not a grandmother’s place to direct traffic and police the rules. That only causes resentment and frustration. I only give advice when asked, and I pray for each mother regularly. God knows how to inspire and shape learning experiences much better than I do.

Certainly, there are things I would do differently if I were a young mother raising God’s little spirits. First, I would pray every day for the eyes to see them as Jesus sees them and try to discover their mission in life by helping them to develop and discover their talents.

When they pull the pans out of the cupboards, splash in the toilet or smear bottles of paint on the walls, I would strive to see them as budding artists on the path of discovery. Perhaps they are trying to discover how colors mix to create a glorious painting. They do not see the cost of repainting the wall or cleaning the carpet. They only see that if you mix colors, they change. If you put them on the door, they make patterns as you smear them around.

Even though it feels like it at times, they are not little monsters trying to make life miserable for Mom. They are on an endless journey of discovery. The more they are allowed to discover, the smarter they become.

If I had known what I know now about each of my children, the training would have taken on a different slant. My oldest son, Richard, became a loan officer. He has had influence on hundreds of people because he has served in many areas of God’s kingdom, but his greatest strength has been with young men, teaching them life skills.


If I had known my daughter Holly would become a teacher who has touched the lives of hundreds of children and their parents, I would not have been so hasty to lecture and make her feel I had all the answers.

Had I known Doug would be a computer programmer, I probably would have given him more time with his Nintendo and would have played with him occasionally, letting him know I was interested in his chosen field. Marsha has become an herbalist and is interested in the healing arts.

It would have been nice to help her grow an herb garden instead of focusing so much on the weeds. Toni wanted to be a sports star; I encouraged the culinary arts and homemaking skills. It would have been better to spend some time letting her know I cared about her sports. She now runs triathlons and pushes her babies in a carriage as she runs. She wears her hair in dreadlocks but reaches out in love. People know and love her wherever she goes. She has traveled extensively with her military husband.

I didn’t cuddle Chad enough; he felt lost without his mother, who passed away shortly after his birth, and I was too busy trying to help him grow up to be a model child – after all, he would be the only baby I would ever raise. The next batch of five kids were adopted.

I can see now how much difference it would have made to cuddle and play with them – and not judge them for their misbehavior, but love them unconditionally. I can see now their misbehavior was a plea for attention and love.

If I had it all to do over, I would be much more understanding. I would take things less personally. Children do not premeditate their actions. They just act, and if you happen to be in the way, you get it. They don’t normally put a bull’s eye on your forehead. If toddlers throw temper tantrums, it is their way of communicating frustration in a wordless world.


It is hard for toddlers to express themselves. Remember, they are learning the language of Earth. In Heaven, they might not have spoken English. Maybe the Adamic language was felt more than spoken. Who knows? We do know when babies come to Earth, their biggest power is a cry that irritates adults into doing something for them.

Certainly, if I had it to do over again, I would have spent more time trying to understand than to correct.

I am glad I have time with my grandchildren so I can practice better child-rearing skills. I know I am far from perfect and made myriad mistakes, but my grown children know I love them. They know the door is always open, even if some have abandoned teachings I tried so fervently to instill in them.

Parenting is often a blind-leading-the-blind proposition. We must lead our children through a thorny path of self-discovery while we are trying to discover our own destiny. I often wonder what connection mothers of the prophets had with Heaven. Christ had a mortal mother and Mary had a mother who taught her to trust and believe in angels. A few years ago, I wrote this poem about Mary’s mother.

Mary’s Mother

Mary’s mother didn’t know her daughter would bear the Son of God.
She did not know when she trained
her child to walk that Mary’s little feet would grow
to make the footprints in the desert sand
where the Christ child would follow
as He grew into a man.

Mary’s mother didn’t know the little hands she held at birth
would someday cradle the baby Lamb of God.
Nor did she understand the words
she spoke in love would be echoed through eternity from the lips of her
daughter who bore the Savior of the world.

As Mary grew, her mother helped her learn the ways of love.
She helped her to be the virtuous woman to whom the angels spoke.
She taught Mary’s little knees to bow, taught her how to pray
and listen to the Lord.

At her mother’s hand Mary learned patience and trust
that one day she would say, “Behold the handmaiden of the Lord.
Be it unto me according to thy word.”

Mary’s mother must have been an angel pure and sweet,
and her conviction strong and clear, 
for if Mary’s mother’s tongue was sharp and her faith an ember cold,
Mary might have turned away in disbelief when the angel came that day.

Blessed be Mary who bore the Son of God,
but equally blessed the nameless mother who trained the mother
who taught the Savior of the world.
Mary, like her mother, fed, bathed and cared for the tiny infant Jesus.
She picked Him up each time he fell, kissed His bruised knees
and wiped His tears away.

She heard His first cooing words and coached His first heartfelt prayer.
She taught Him of His Father and His place before His birth.
She helped Him learn the Scriptures and to keep the Sabbath day.

Mary taught Jesus to study and learn the will of God.
She watched Him grow into a man and worried when He was gone.
She felt His joy, and suffered His pain when they mocked and spat at Him.

Mary wept when they nailed Him to the cross and watched Him suffer
for all mankind and die upon the cross to bless the sons of men.

Mary’s joy was beyond compare as she saw Him rise
the resurrected Lord and ascend into Heaven.
His mission was complete.

Mary, like her mother, must smile in humble adoration to know
that a mother’s work is the greatest call that graces Heaven and Earth. end mark