It was yearbook picture day for Cassandra Lane’s son Zeke. At first, the proud mom thought that her child would just be having a headshot taken. But when she realized his senior photo would feature his hands – which were stained from working all summer long – she found herself tearing up.
Much of Lane’s life is dedicated to bettering the lives of children. Professionally, she is a teacher. Personally, meanwhile, she is a wife to Brandon and mother to five children, including a daughter whom she’s adopted. Lane even serves as a foster mom to a growing baby.
But if that wasn’t enough to keep her busy already, Lane also keeps a blog. In fact, the supermom regularly shares stories about her three sons and two daughters via Facebook. And one such tale involved her son Zeke, who was going into his senior year of high school.
In July of 2018, Lane and Zeke had gone to have his senior portrait taken for the school yearbook. And the mom-of-five thought that the photo would be just that: a portrait. Understandably, then, she didn’t worry about the way her son’s hands looked.
You see, Zeke’s hands were a little grubby from work. Lane wrote in a Facebook post, “Earlier this week we went to get Zeke’s senior yearbook pictures. On the way, I noticed his hands. Working hands. Hands that look familiarly like my dad’s work-stained hands and like Brandon’s in the early years of our marriage.”
In spite of his mom’s adoration of his dirt-stained hands, Zeke probably wasn’t so keen on having mucky hands on that given day – they might show up in the photos, after all. But Lane calmed his nerves, explaining, “I told him not to worry about it because they were doing headshots.”
However, when Lane and Zeke arrived, she realized that notion was incorrect. “As we sat in line, I notice kids in letterman jackets with their class rings,” she wrote. Indeed, the other student’s accessories seemed to signify that they’d be posing with their hands at the forefront of their portraits.
And that realization made Lane “tear up.” In fact, it made her scrutinize her choices as a mother. “Have I given him everything a parent should give to their child as he has grown up?” she questioned.
Lane then described how her son had gotten his hands dirty in the first place. “He works out in the heat, 30-40 hours a week during the summer,” she wrote. It also transpired, meanwhile, that Zeke had never requested the accessories that his classmates donned that day.
Unhappily, all of these thoughts gave way to self-doubt for Lane. “The mommy comparison game tells me I didn’t show how much I love him with things,” she wrote. And when they left the photoshoot, the mom-of-five was “feeling bad about [herself].”
What’s more, Lane even admitted to spending the next few days “crying a lot” as she reflected on her feelings. Eventually, she decided to apologize to Zeke for the way he was raised – but the her son’s reaction clearly wasn’t one that Lane was expecting.
“[Zeke] laughed at me,” Lane recalled before remembering that Zeke then said, “Why are you sorry? Because you’ve taught me to work hard for things I want?” The youngster continued, “Because I know the value of a dollar? Because I’m not going to think I deserve to have anything I want?”
And Lane felt even more vindicated in her parenting decisions after speaking to her sister. You see, Lane’s sibling reiterated an important lesson that the mom-of-five knew to be true deep down. “[She] reminded me that the best things in life aren’t things,” Lane wrote.
And with that, Lane knew that she had to share her story with other moms who might be feeling the way that she had. She infused her advice with a bit of her faith, too – as that had also helped make her feel better about senior portrait day.
Lane’s message on Facebook continued, “Mamas, if you’re struggling with the parenting comparison game, just know that God gave you the babies you have because he wanted you, YOU, to be their mama. Not someone else.”
Lane then finished her post by sharing a couple of short anecdotes about her son. And it was clear that Zeke’s self-sufficiency and work ethic made her proud not ashamed. “[Zeke] as taken his brother shopping for a canoe today, using money that he earned himself,” Lane wrote.
The proud parent also added that her son drove to the store “in a vehicle that he fixed with his own hands and gas he paid for by himself.” So it certainly seemed that Lane had, indeed, raised her son very well.
“I’m not ready for Zeke to grow up,” Lane concluded, “but I think he’s well on his way.” And with that, she shared her post – and the message clearly resonated with the Facebook users who read it. In fact, just over two months later, her story had garnered 115,000 reactions and 47,000 shares.
The post also received 13,000 comments, many of which provided Lane with even more support of her parenting skills. Janell Walker wrote, “That guilt-ridden comparison game! Good job Mama, despite your doubts and self-perceived shortcomings, you raised him well.”
In fact, many people said that Zeke was just the type of humble, hard-working child that they too hoped to raise. For instance, Patricia Stover wrote, “Well done, Mom. He sounds like a fine young man. Exactly what I am working toward with my son.” So while parenting can sometimes be hard, Lane’s story goes to show that all that effort is often well and truly worth it.