While we are busy molding our children into the best versions of themselves, they are unknowingly, doing the same for us. The following are beautiful, soulful ways that I believe our children help us grow. Some of these changes are slow and work on us over years. Others are immediate and happen the minute we meet them.
1 .You will question your worthiness. You are entrusted with these amazing people and will worry constantly that you aren’t good enough. You will realize that if you question your own worthiness, your kids will question theirs. And they are definitely worthy. SO, you must be too. You will need to remind yourself of this often.
2. You will come to know the necessity of grace. It will move from an abstract idea that is sung about in churches and preached from pulpits to a daily practice extended to strangers, your children and most importantly, yourself. You will be so grateful for this. Without grace you wouldn’t make it through the days intact. You’d be swallowed by guilt and shame, worry and regret. Instead, you throw grace around like pennies into a wishing well.
3. Nothing will gross you out anymore. Nothing. You will surprise yourself by cleaning up poop from walls, floors, clothing, car seats, bath tubs, etc. You might even occasionally laugh about it. You will wipe blood from the noses and knees of your hurt babies with the nearest article of clothing be it your shirt, your pants, socks, whatever. Your only thought will be about comforting them. As for bugs and lizards, well, get used to them.
4. You will re-evaluate everything that you thought you knew about people. Nothing brings you closer to how fantastically different, beautiful and misunderstood we all are than our children. You will be more accepting, loving and compassionate toward others. You will pray constantly that other people will realize this too and show the same graces toward your children.
5. You will find the need to get lost in something other than parenting. Whether it’s writing, gardening, building furniture, creating music or sitting in silence, you will crave something for yourself. Find that thing that lights you up and energized you. Make time for it or you will whither away.
6. You will realize that the little things are THE THINGS. Our lives are marked to outsiders by major milestones; birth, learning to walk, turning 16, 18, 21, getting married, having children and so on. For parents, the beauty is in the small moments; the dance parties and wrestling matches, the loud and chaotic dinners, the countless movie nights with all the popcorn, the way your daughter sings “baa baa black sheep,” the soft sound of your son’s breath, the tired look on your beautiful, strong husband’s face. You will look for these moments all day long. They will sustain you.
7. You will find energy and stamina that you never knew you had. Before kids, you might have had a full time job, hobbies, house projects, date nights, day trips and long vacations but really, you did NOTHING. You didn’t know tired. You didn’t know long days. You didn’t know how strong you were until you became a parent. Even when your well is dry, you drop the bucket back in and pull out just enough compassion, patience and energy to make it to bedtime. The number of times that you have felt too tired to go on and managed to do so anyway, is astonishing.
8. You will be grateful for everything. Healthy kids, especially if you have had any scary moments; unhealthy kids because they’re yours; your friends, who were great before but are truly your lifeline now; enough money to feed your family and keep the electricity on and pay for the house that hides all the yelling and the mess from the neighbors; the end of the day and the morning; all of the cute words and the very rare silence. You will love breastfeeding while longing to have your body back. You will be grateful they can dress themselves/use the potty themselves/bathe themselves while wishing that they still needed your help. You will rejoice that they are growing while wishing that those chubby cheeks and that lisp would stay forever. Parenting is a crazy paradox.
9. You suspected it before but now you know that LOVE IS EVERYTHING. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love.
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