I used to be so sure….
of the definition of parenting. BEFORE I was a parent. I think the definition was something along the lines of “I’m the parent, so you do what I say”. I remember being quite strict with my little sister (who was 16 years younger than me). Reminding my mother often that she really shouldn’t let her get away with “that.” I was a bossy older sister to my brothers, a good babysitter during my teen years and even in college ..highly critical of parents who had disobedient/wayward children. I even carried this somewhat self-righteous attitude into the first several years of parenting. I would watch parents who had teenagers and would be horrified at what some of these kids did and what their parents “let” them do.
Every parent that has been a parent for any length of time knows the feeling of being humbled by your children. If you haven’t experienced it yet, just wait. It’s coming. It’s that moment when you realize that these human beings that came from your body have their own mind, and their own will..totally separate from yours and there’s not a thing you can do about it. Some of us parents are dumber than others and it takes years for us to realize this. For us it was when the teen years started. Not sure if that lands us on the dumb side or not :-). Anyway, parenting took on a whole new dimension when that first child turned 15. It became harder than it had ever been. It required huge amounts of wisdom, which we were sure we didn’t have, hours of prayer, and hours of discussion between us as a couple trying to figure out these children we thought we knew…and in the midst of all this was huge amounts of insecurity and doubt about what we were doing. I remember sort of teasing Chris on several occasions that he’d better never die, because there was no way I was doing this parenting thing on my own. I”m not the only wife that says that right?
And now Chris is not here. He did die.
Probably a bigger fear for me then being a widow is being a single parent. Is it even possible for one person to successfully finish raising FIVE kids? I haven’t a clue. I can assure you that it doesn’t feel like it. Only the Lord knows. I figure since He planned my life out to the last detail He’s got this part figured out to. It’s not perfect around here by far. We’ve got our share of problems. Who doesn’t right? That’s the chipping away of the pride thing. When you finally realize you don’t have it all together and your home and children are not perfect.
My relationship has changed with my kids over the last almost year..especially with my older ones. There’s a friendship component there, that wasn’t there before, not at this new level anyway. It’s actually kinda hard sometimes to maintain that balance of parent/friend. But I’m enjoying the change. There’s also NEVER a time when something is not going on with one of them. This, to me, is very exhausting. I honestly feel like I could open a counseling center. This is where I miss Chris the most. He was amazing at this part. He always seemed to know exactly what to say…me, not so much. I find that most of my prayers for my children are that the Lord would work despite me.
I’ve been a parent for almost 20 years now. The feeling of inadequacy increases every year. As the Lord has slowly dispelled the pride and even taken my husband, to force me to depend on Him, I am humbled once again to remember that He cares more for my children then I do. After all, they ultimately belong to Him. The high priority He gives children in Scripture is unavoidable. I don’t know what the future holds for my kids but I know they have a heavenly Father who cares for them deeply, and my job? to make sure they know that.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
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