Taken from a dear friend, I share with you the following gracious words of wisdom:
Lately, I’ve been meditating much on the value of parenting, the value of the investment I put (or don’t put) into my children each day. It’s true that one’s thoughts, feeling and values tend to change over time. Certainly, what I think and feel and value about being a Mom has definitely changed since our precious first-born entered the world over six years ago! I can remember being so anxious for each of my children to be born, thinking those 9 months of waiting were just pure torture. I wanted to hold my baby, hug, kiss, whisper in his/her ear…. And as I have watched my friends who have walked through adoption (and many still who are on the journey), I hear and see their pain – they just want their child home.
The thing is, though, we humans have this tendency to allow our blessings to become burdens. We forget how much we begged God for these little ones, how much we longed for just one moment with them. We forget to enjoy their personalities or those spontaneous moments of fun, and instead end up focusing more on what seems to be wrong with them (“Why can’t he/she just obey?!?!”). We don’t mean for this to happen, it just does. Life keeps on happening, and we get caught up in the tyranny of the urgent, the things that just have to happen in order for us to keep on existing. And sometimes, we just want one more hour of sleep, a little more time to read that book , time to call that friend, read/send those emails, do laundry/dishes/clean the bathroom/etc. without having to stop and fix that problem, stop that argument, wipe that bottom…
I don’t want to ever, ever view my children as burdens. I’m hoping and praying that I don’t rush through these moments, wishing our daytimes away. Rather, I’m hoping and praying that we seize each and every moment, making as many memories as we can along the way. I also long deeply to instill in my children values and character that will impact others for good and will have lasting, eternal effects…..
In a world that hard wires peoples’ happiness index to a bank account and a lot of free time, children are [thought of as] a drain of resources. They are costly at the beginning, and then get more expensive as it goes on. They don’t contribute much to the Gross Family Product, unless the family is interested in producing more than goods and services…like character or the future.In those hours of margin, I’ll have a sliver of time for leisure. I’ll take mine tapping keys, reading. Others might sew, knit, paint. But it’s not as though I simply plow through the day’s work in order to get to what I really want to do. But rather, the leisure projects of a mother’s fringe hours, or of anyone engaged in a Christian model of genuine work, these hobbies aren’t the desired end of our work or escape from it, but are simply a change in pace, a recharging rhythm, refreshing us to return with renewed passion and vigor to our ultimate callings, our purposeful work.
..but the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three on them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4, and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in a hurry to get on to the next things: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.
- Anna Quindlen