I will preface this blog by saying...I'm not a perfect parent. Gasp and horror, I know.
Rodney and I started our family very early and hadn't a clue what we were doing. I'm not entirely convinced that even the most "prepared" of couples know what they're getting into. Nothing can ready your life for the force of parenthood. Remembering those early days with Taylor is so sweet. I couldn't get enough of her. We were both completely smitten, spending hours just staring at her in wonderment. I couldn't believe they let me bring her home from the hospital. "They're gonna let ME take care of her?" It's seriously what I thought. By the time Kyle came along, I thought I had it licked...surprise! NOT. Being the parent of two babies under the age of 2 was a roller coaster I'm not sure I'd live through a second time. It's why you have kids when you're young and oblivious.
We grew as they grew. We figured stuff out by making mistakes and trying not to repeat them. When they got old enough to have opinions about things was when I was called on to be a whole different person. See, when they are little and before their brains begin to make their mouths make sentences, you can tell them what to wear and where they are going and when they go to bed and when they take a bath and what we're going to watch and listen to etc... Then it all changes. They form opinions other than your own.
How that happens, I don't even know. I mean you'd think that if you didn't give them a choice, they'd really not even form an opinion...but, oddly enough, they do. I don't really even remember making a concise decision to do so but I did, somewhere along the way, decide to let them be who they are. I think a lot of it was just from the sheer exhaustion of trying to combat it and giving in to the flow of things, surrendering my own will to the will of the Father. He assured me over and over that I was there to guide them, not to change them. It was my job to love them with an unreasonable amount of unconditional love, keep them from killing themselves, and He would do the rest. It was and is the most frightening thing I've ever had to do. My human brain and reasoning makes me want to keep them locked up from the world and hide them away from anything that could hurt them. We've stood by as they've faced pains that we couldn't make better and had to watch and pray as they suffered and figured it out for themselves. Putting that kind of trust in God is not easy.
Taylor has been away from home for almost a year now. Kyle is standing on the edge of the nest with his wings spread (and we're restraining ourselves from tilting the tree). And, while they are both incredibly independent, they both still enjoy spending time with me. I'm not their first pick on a Friday night, for sure, and I'd probably wonder about them if I was. But, we genuinely like each other. I really can't ask for more than that.
All of this has been on my mind the last few days. The expectations we have of others and how we can get into such a mess when we try to make people something other than who they are. When we let go of expectations of others, we free ourselves to see who God made them to be. Why would we think for a minute that we would know better? I know a few people who are all but intolerable but it isn't my job to change them. Thinking that I could just makes me frustrated and I really don't like being frustrated. I even find myself getting frustrated with people who are frustrated because they are trying to change somebody else. We are supposed to love people. We are supposed to be seed sowers, not soil inspectors. We are supposed to lift up the downtrodden, not tell them what they're doing wrong or what we think they should be doing.
I, personally, enjoy the flawed people. Those who seem to have it all together make me nervous.
I want my kids to be who they are. I want them to want to come home because it is the one place on earth where they know that they are fully and wholly accepted just they way they are. I don't want them to want to spend Christmas at home because the house is perfectly decorated and the kitchen is filled with amazing baked goods...I just want them to want to come home. Never do I want them to feel it would be a burden to be here because of the set of expectations surrounding them.
They've transitioned into adults and really really good ones too. I'm here now to offer advice when I'm asked and to be a sounding board for all of life's cruelties. I'm on the side of "been there, done that". How did I get here so quickly?? We are still growing and learning. We are still finding our way through this crazy life. It's messy business this whole thing of living and loving and family. How much sweeter to simply be happy to be who you are. And, how much more fun to let others be different than you. It makes life so much more colorful.