When I was raising babies and toddlers I believed life was very difficult. I felt the breast milk soaked shirts on my often unshowered body was some form of inhumane torture. I didn't know how any woman could survive that level of sleep deprivation or exactly how many hours one child could cry before I needed to call the doctor. There was a time while caring for my young children, I thought I surely must be headed toward some sort of breakdown. I believed this was the hardest work any human could do and there were days I didn't believe I'd survive. And while most of those days are now fairly foggy and reminiscent of another life in a land far, far away - at that time, I would have sworn parenting could only get easier.
God, I don't feel like you provided me fair warning about the later stages of parenting. You know, those years when they start rolling their eyes just a little bit. I witnessed it done to other parents and as you well know, did it to my own, but never did I expect it to happen to me. I was going to be the "cool" mom, remember? My kids were going to think I was fabulous. And really smart. Why is it they only think that until they are about age ten?
I don't remember you telling me that my arms would one day not provide sufficient comfort to ease my daughter's broken heart or that I wouldn't always have an ample explanation for all of her questions.
I really don't mean to complain, but could you have provided me some advance notice on how fruitless my effort to dispense wisdom would be? And Lord, why-oh-why don't our kids comprehend we have already stood where they stand? Don't they know we have the life experience and insight that could save them from a myriad of difficulties if they'd only listen?
This week has stretched my parenting skills into uncharted territory. I've spent some sleepless hours fraught with worry while I've deliberated, Am I good enough at this parenting gig? I have to ask- how did you ever think I was qualified for such an important job? Lastly, how I am going to make it through many, many more years of this?
I have found myself longing for the days of diapers and cuddly toddlers. At least I knew I could kiss away a boo-boo and all I had to do to stop the tears was pull my baby into my lap and whisper: Mommy loves you.
Despite this big ball of melancholy and nostalgia, I am thankful, God, for your truth and the way your words fill in all of my unknowns and deficiencies. I have quoted you quite a bit this week and can't imagine what I would have done without you. I might often flail and flounder in this life you have blessed me with, but I never feel alone. You are a pretty amazing Father. Hopefully some of that will rub off on me.