I have a friend who's a first time mom. I remember that feeling...you thought you knew what it was going to be like but in reality, you really didn't have a clue. My parents had a surprise when I was thirteen, my brother was born....now, you want a sure-fire way to ensure your teen won't have sex before they get married? Bring home a newborn the same year your teen becomes a teen. There was no earthly way, I was having a baby!
But even with that knowledge of how much work they really are and how much crying they really do, I still didn't know what it really would be like to have one of my own. One that I'm responsible for. And boy, are you responsible for them! They depend fully on you to eat, clean them, doctor them, pretty much make every decision for them.
I had two of my nieces overnight this weekend. One is six and the other almost four. We had a ball but by the time it was time for bed, I was pooped! I had already forgotten how much work it was to fix a meal, cut all the meat, pour all the drinks, read all the books, oversee a bath, help with dressing, and on and on and on! My own kids are so self-sufficient that I've become a little relaxed and just have to remind them to bath and such, and they can feed themselves from dishes I set on the table! If they need to cut their meat, they know where we keep the knives!
My kids are self-sufficient in many ways but are still infant-like in many others. While I don't have to do all those physical things that I had to do when they were still babies, they still need their dad and I everyday. When they were little, they required me to bath, dress, feed them but they weren't watching to see how I did those things. Now, as teens, they are watching our every moves. How we treat strangers and friends, what we say in traffic, how we treat that waitress at our favorite restaurant, how we shop, who we become friends with, who we invite to dinner, what we say when no one but family is around......and the list goes on and on.
They don't need me to preach to them about what's right and what's wrong, but they need to see with their own eyes how to love others and do what's right even though it might not be popular or easy. They need to see those struggles that my husband and I have because they will soon have those struggles as young adults. If they never saw an older person struggle, then they won't have a frame of reference on which to overcome the adversities that they will most certainly face in life.
They need me. Not to necessarily fill their physical needs, although I truly think my son would starve if I wasn't around sometimes, but to teach them how to be adults. This is a harder task than just making sure they take a bath and read three books every night. I'm sure I'm like a lot of parents, I sometimes think that I'm ruining them as adults. Am I too hard, was I too soft, should I have said this, maybe I said too much.....what a task! It could be overwhelming if I didn't truly believe that God put them into our home for the purpose of us teaching and instructing them. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not perfect and neither is my husband. I've been known to say that bad word more than every now and then, that gets pointed out each time I say it! That and about a million other things that I do on a daily basis that I would never want videoed and shown on Oprah!
I don't think God thinks my husband and I are any better than anyone else, I think that He thought these two kids needed to be in this home to learn certain things that we could teach them....maybe it was that moms and dads aren't perfect but you should cut them some slack for trying so hard! he! he!
I do know this, although my kids aren't babies anymore, they still need me everyday! I'm honored and humbled by this knowledge and I pray everyday that I can be up to the task!