Thursday, January 12, 2012
When I was raising babies and toddlers I believed life was very difficult. I felt the breast milk soaked shirts on my often unshowered body was close to some form of inhumane torture. I didn't know any woman could survive that level of sleep deprivation while wondering exactly how many hours one child could cry before I needed to call the doctor. There was a time while caring for my young children, I thought I surely must be headed toward some sort of breakdown. I believed this was the hardest work any human could do and there were days I didn't believe I'd survive. And while most of those days are now fairly foggy and reminiscent of another life in a land far, far away - at that time, I would have sworn parenting could only get easier.
God, I don't feel like you provided me fair warning about the later stages of parenting. You know, those years when they start rolling their eyes at me just a little bit. I witnessed it done to other parents and as you well know, did it to my own, but never did I expect it to happen to me. I was going to be the "cool" mom, remember? My kids were going to think I was fabulous. And really smart. Why is it they only think that until they are about age ten?
I don't remember you telling me that my arms would one day not provide sufficient comfort to ease my daughter's broken heart or that I wouldn't always have an ample explanation for all of her questions.
I really don't mean to complain, but could you have provided me some advance notice on how fruitless my effort to dispense wisdom would be? And Lord, why-oh-why don't our kids comprehend we have already stood where they stand? Don't they know we have the life experience and insight that could save them from a myriad of difficulties if they'd only listen?
This week has stretched my parenting skills into uncharted territory. I've spent some sleepless hours fraught with worry while I've deliberated, Am I good enough at this parenting gig? I have to ask- how did you ever think I was qualified for such an important job? Lastly, how I am going to make it through many, many more years of this?
I have found myself longing for the days of diapers and cuddly toddlers. At least I knew I could kiss away a boo-boo and all I had to do to stop the tears was pull my baby into my lap and whisper: Mommy loves you.
Despite this big ball of melancholy and nostalgia, I am thankful, God, for your Scriptures and the way your words fill in all of my unknowns and deficiencies. I have quoted you quite a bit this week and can't imagine what I would have done without you. I might often flail and flounder in this life you have blessed me with, but I never feel alone. You are a pretty amazing Father. Hopefully some of that will rub off on me.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Surprisingly, I had never noticed these five letters could spell both. Ironically, I am also not surprised.
I mused how our cherished, jovial, fat man in the red suit could ever be likened to a sinister like Satan.
Santa is who we tell our children to behave for - because he's watching. His magic snowball reveals what the little ones are doing when the parents aren't looking. He sees us when we're sleeping. He knows when we're awake.
Santa got our time in long lines and an annual bedtime ritual involving cookies. Santa became the recipient of the apologies for my children's transgressions because good ole Saint Nick had the distinct privilege of being the sole present provider. Even kids know that you have to keep the guy who brings the presents happy.
As my husband and and I took a step back to examine how Satan - I mean Santa- hijacked our Christmas, we came to the bleak realization that we put him there. We allowed Santa to totally trump Jesus. You know that guy - the less glamorous one? The one who definitely never wore a suit or jumped down chimneys. The reason for the season.
After a long sigh and some confession, I began to mull over that less glorious idol and its place in my children's lives called the Easter Bunny. I had to wonder what have we presented to our kids?
We've spent so much time explaining to these girls why Jesus should hold first place in their lives yet introduced and celebrated icons at the two most significant and sacred seasons. We've taught them God is almighty and powerful and only he can see all and know all - oh wait - except for Santa - he can too!
Sure we made Jesus a cake and sang him Happy Birthday and a half a dozen other things to commemorate only to revert back to this obsession with a fictitious fellow who brings presents on Christmas morning.
And while we really have nothing against Santa or the Easter Bunny we just can't have our Jesus ever take a back seat to either one of them -not even for a few weeks out of the year. Especially not during those few weeks of the year.
So after a couple of years of deliberation, my husband and I decided it was time to pull back the curtain and re-focus our children. But no matter how I tried, I just couldn't pull the plug. I wondered if I was robbing my girls of a critical element of their childhood. My husband outlined for me all the other ways in which we provide critical elements of their childhood. So while I cowardly rested on my maternal guilt, my husband surprised me one day by bravely informing them that there is, in fact, no such thing as Santa Claus. Or the Easter Bunny. Killed 'em both dead right there.
I think I just heard you gasp.
I promise it turns out okay.
They were shocked, albeit my ten-year-old not so much.
Yes, they were slightly disappointed.
I was relieved but simultaneously horrified, swimming in that same maternal guilt again.
When my husband explained to them why we lied in the first place and why we felt it important to tell the truth now. They understood.
They are not irreparably damaged.
They are faithful girls who now celebrate with the clarity that the season distinctly belongs to the one and only King.
I don't want you to fret at the prospect of my kid telling your kid. I assure you that we have threatened them within an inch of their lives should they decide to let the cat out of the bag. We also explained in a kinder way that not everyone shares our beliefs and that we don't need to force them onto others.
So having said that, please don't cancel our playdates. If your kid wants to talk about imaginary, pagan idols, my kid will just nod their head politely.