The journey of raising a family is ever winding and has enough mountaintops and valleys to make your head spin. But far and above the trials and stress, is the joy. And the joy is exhilarating. Being mom to my three kids is by far the greatest thing I’ve ever done.
I’ve been a mom for almost eighteen years now. Well, I guess I can technically say eighteen years since I was pregnant with Parker eighteen years ago. I would never have imagined, in my wildest dreams, the wonder of watching a baby grow into a child, then into a teenager, and finally becoming an adult.
Even more wonderful? Watching three different little humans become exactly who they were created to be.
If I dwell on the fact that my babies are becoming adults for too long, I’ll be in a puddle of tears so I’ll keep this short and sweet.
Soak. It. In.
I know everyone will say this to you when you’ve got littles around your ankles, sleepless nights, enough poopy diapers to fill a landfill, and spit up on your freshly cleaned clothes. And you’ll think you are. You’ll try, through the frustration and impatience, to smell their clean hair or to capture a moment in your memory. But I promise you, it slips away.
I wish I could give you the secret recipe to remembering every little moment but I just can’t. I don’t have it. But what I do have are scattered memories of giggling babes, freshly bathed skin, and the weight of a sleeping toddler who’s given up the fight on your chest.
I remember thinking to myself at certain moments, I wonder if this will be the last time I wash their hair as they sit in the tub. Or, I wonder if this is the last time they’ll fall asleep in my arms. But, you really never know which time will be the last. One day you wake up and realize, you’re not doing those things anymore. And part of you is relieved that you have a little freedom and part of you wants to freeze time and never let them grow up.
The rest of their childhood is exactly like this. And suddenly you wake up and your oldest is graduated, working, and paving his own way through life. Your middle is a gorgeous young woman whose heart is open wide and most likely going to be broken a time or two. Your baby is not a baby any more but thank God he likes to snuggle because you you otherwise might be crying yourself to sleep every night. When you reach this point, part of you wants to make them all stay home forever and ever so you can soak up every second but the other part of you is yelling, “FREEEEEDOM!!!”
Navigating family looks like a lot of grace. Grace for yourself. Grace for your spouse. And lots of grace for your babes. Remember what it was like when you were their age. Fresh little wings learning to fly. Navigating friendships, new jobs, boyfriends, and girlfriends… those were the best days. For a moment.
When you feel like you just have no clue, which is every second, just keep pointing them to Jesus and trust that he’ll keep them on the right path. And when they stray, keep doing the same thing.
You will never be the perfect parent but you most certainly are the parent God chose for your kids. So trust Him in that and and enjoy the ride.