I remember when I was mid-20 something thinking about how my kids were going to be. I had these amazing ideas of what the perfect child looked like and how I was going to manage having them. Little did I know, something else would become so much more beautiful.
One of the most amazing things about parenthood is growing with your child. Learning how to handle each and every age and stage. Boys and girls are not created the same. They are very different in their actions in each age and stage. We are blessed to experience both.
I remember thinking, back then, that my kids would never throw a temper tantrum because I would never allow it. They would be taught expectations and this would be a non-issue. Little did I know, they try anyways! No matter how much I taught expectations and cause and effect, now and then the little buggers would still act up and throw fits in public. There were a few times that I left my shopping cart in the store and walked out with my child flailing in my arms and we headed straight home. The greatest thing I learned was follow through. If you give a cause and effect ultimatum to the child, you MUST be willing and able to follow through because they will test and try you. Don’t give an ultimatum that you don’t really want to follow through on. You will lose special days, you will be frustrated and you will be disappointed but THEY will learn important lessons.
Another memory I had was getting annoyed with teenagers in public. I remember thinking that my teenagers were never going to act like THAT! Little did I know that THAT was exactly how my teenagers would act. They are loud, obnoxious, adventurous and full of energy. Now, having a teenager and a pre-teen, it is a thing of beauty to me. They are exhibiting their unique personalities and learning how to be independent. When I hear my boys being loud and obnoxious, I enjoy it because I HEAR them. I know they are happy and okay. Teenagers start to disconnect from their parents so just simply hearing them and knowing they are okay is so special. Even better is when their friends come over and they make choices. Some choices are questionable and others amaze you. I’ve seen my oldest son do some stupid things but also some amazing things that show me he is growing up to be an amazing young man. The questionable goes hand in hand with the great. The choices they are allowed to make on their own are growth. They need gentle guidance and sometimes a stern talk about why their choice was not the best but it is important that they learn to make those choices.
I have learned to take life with my kiddos one day at a time. What I imagined life looking like isn’t what it actually looks like and that is beautiful. It is growth, it is change, it is little ones growing into their own amazing people. My prayer for them is that they love God, learn truth, walk with their heads held high and strive to be the best individual they can be. They are unique, they are loud, they are special, they are messy, they are amazing, they are challenging, and they are loved.
I welcome the noise, I welcome the friends coming over, I welcome the messes, I welcome the frustrations, I welcome the late night talks, I welcome the blessings that are sometimes in disguise. All too soon they will move out, move on and move up in the world. I want to make sure they always know they are welcome in my home, in my heart, and in my arms.