And I Thought Parenting Was Hard…
It seems like a few nights ago that our four children were six and under. My, those were exhausting days—especially for my wife. Two girls, two boys, homeschooling, church and sports all made for a busy life.
But those were also days of such fun. The kids would come running and screaming when I came home. “Daddy’s home!” meant play time. We would roughhouse for a good hour and follow that with bedtime prayers and story time.
It was good, honest work.
Little did I know how things would change. Each graduation was the closing of a chapter followed by the opening of a new one. The younger children could look to the pathways forged by the older ones, but each path always had variations on the theme.
And before we knew it, high school graduations gave way to college graduations. College graduations gave way to first jobs, sometimes second jobs, serious relationships, serious talks with Dad, and even engagement rings. We celebrated two weddings, but there was still more parenting to come.
And the work seemed a little harder. We controlled less. We advised from a distance. We felt our children’s pain as they grew and transitioned. Sometimes we could see how a door they were about to walk through might smack them from behind, but all we could do was warn.
There’s some really messy stuff out there. College chemistry is hard, but career decisions are harder. Choosing a mate is one thing, but living with them everyday is a lot harder. How do you handle tragedy, and pain—the loss of a loved one, the terminal diagnosis, the reality of your own mortality.
A long time ago, Pearl Buck wrote a book called The Good Earth. It’s a book about family. We sow and cultivate family, but it doesn’t always turn out the way we think. I guess that’s the richness and wonder of the harvest.
There are days I wish the road were a bit easier, that I could see more clearly, that I could see what’s up ahead, but therein is the joy of the journey as I nurture my seeds along.