Raising up kids is not an easy job. If anyone tells you that it is, you should be suspicious of them.. They are either doing it wrong or they are lying.
I remember when I came home from the hospital with my first born, Sam. I was exhausted, sore from a c-section, but more than anything, overwhelmed with the responsibility of being the sole provider of keeping this baby alive. I was shocked that I was trusted with knowing when to feed, how much to feed, and how often to feed. Was I to be the all knowing master of my daughter’s temperature gauge? Did they really expect me to understand all of the ins and outs of nail clipping, bath giving, and burping? Don’t even get me started with the stress of sleeping positions and cycles.
I was a mess.
Thankfully, things eventually calmed down and we got into a rhythm. But just when I started to feel comfortable and began to think that I have this “baby thing” down, we entered a new phase. There was teething, crawling, eating solids, walking, and the list goes on and on.
Years ago, a mother, who I am sure meant to be reassuring and an encouragement, told me that this was the easy stage. As the children get older, it gets more exhausting and definitely more difficult. I am pretty sure that when I laughed out loud at this ‘absurd’ statement, you would be able to hear my mania and panic exiting the body.
Harder than this?
I had a newborn, 20 month old, and an “I just pooped in the potty!” three year old. How on earth could things get any harder than the crying, sleep deprivation, and constant demands?
But then my kids grew.
There was so much wisdom, now looking back, at this woman’s statement.
She couldn’t foresee my future. She had no magic ball or super powers.
(Well, in a way she did, because I think all moms have super powers.)
But as I find myself giving younger moms the very same, not always encouraging, but honest advice, I see why she told me this.
Life is no linear equation. By definition, a linear equation is one that has two variables that gives a straight line when plotted on a map. So say the two variables are life and death. There is never anything straight about that path between them. There are dips and dives. Peaks and valleys. Good days, terrible ones, and everything in between.
We have to constantly adjust what comes at us.
This is raising kids.
When we master one skill, our kids slap us up the side of the head with something out of left field that makes us realize we had it all wrong, or we had it right but now it is time to clear the field and start over because, well, life.
I constantly thank God for my first born, because with her, we shall make our greatest mistakes as parents. But with that, comes the best part, being able to say God did it.
Of course we all like to take credit when our kids succeed, do the right thing when you are not there to see, and even when they make the team. But the reality is, I should be taking more credit for their short comings, character flaws, and lack of manners.
No, that is not an easy thought to digest, but the bottom line is I am human. They watch me, they copy me, and they look to me for the next step.
(Molly copying me feeding the baby!)
I think God had this whole thing planned out from the get-go, though. You see, though there is appreciation of the talent and work put in when a trained artist paints a beautiful painting, there is more awe and wonder when a child can paint just as beautifully.
When I see that there is nothing grand or great about me as a mom, then I start seeing that the triumphs my children on are miracle level.
What a thought!
We, as parents, grandparents, teachers, if our eyes are wide open, get to experience God’s working hands, molding and making our little ones.
It overwhelms me, many a time, when I pause and think about how much awesome God has instilled into my kids.
They are sweet, kind, generous, obedient, creative, fun, and the list goes on and on.
No matter what our relationship with the child, maybe we can step back and observe the wonder of it all and breath out a “Thank you, God” when our eyes catch a glimpse of what He is doing.