Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Shared Wisdom of One Apparently Great Parent

    Several times over this past summer I've been complimented on how well behaved my children are and how Brian and I are great parents.   What?!  Wow!  Really?  I'm almost always speechless when this happens.  I usually laugh.  The first three times I assumed the people telling me this had one too many drinks before making that comment.  However, the fourth time made me scratch my head and wonder.... Maybe they're not drunk.  Maybe there's another Rachel Walker in Loveland who looks exactly like me, and she, too, has an Ian and  Wesley that look exactly like mine.  This makes much more sense to me than the thought that my kids are actually good and I've got it together enough to be considered a great parent. 

    I assure you this post is not to brag or gloat or toot my own horn.  (There's enough tooting going on around here without me doing it.)  I genuinely am puzzled over these compliments.  Grateful.  But puzzled.  I'm gonna let you in on a little secret.  I feel like I am a terrible parent most of the time.  And I doubt I am alone on this one.  My children drive me crazy.  I yell at them way more than I should.  I'm often too busy to play with them or read to them when they ask me.  Sometimes I think I push them too hard.  I often hurry them for no reason other than I'm in a hurry.  I don't have a lot of patience with them.  There are a million things I know I could do better when it comes to my two little boys.  So how does this make me a great parent?

    Well, I'm not going to say I'm a great parent.  I think I'm a decent or at the very most a good parent.  I love my heathens boys unconditionally.  There is nothing in this world that could make me not love them.  They could drive me off the crazy cliff and as long as I survived I'd still love them.  They embarrass me every time we go out in public.  But I still love them.  I have cried my eyes out in frustration over their misbehavior, all the while my heart aching because it is bursting at the seams with love for them.  Both of my children need some extra help in certain aspects of their life, and somehow that makes me love them even more!  Why do I love these wild, complicated, whiny, cute little boys?

    I believe it's because we were made specifically for each other.  Literally!  God gave me (and Brian) Ian and Wesley!  On purpose!  I have asked God out loud before, "WHY?  Why these two?  I can name 18 other kids that would have been a better fit for me!"  I'm surprised He didn't part the clouds, pull back the roof, and reach down and slap me.  God doesn't do accidents.  He gave me a specific personality, just the right amount of patience, just the right lack of patience, just enough energy, several other things I probably don't even realize, and most importantly a sense of humor to deal with these precious little boogers that He was eventually going to bless me with.  He knew that when they would start a wrestling match in the shopping cart I could just whisk them off to the bathroom, set 'em straight, and continue my shopping as if nothing happened.  He knew that my emotional five year old who cries at the drop of a hat needed a mother who could say, "Dry it up kid.  It ain't worth crying over."  He knew when Wesley pulled my skirt up while I was bagging my groceries that I could yank it back down and not care who just saw my pink striped panties and laugh about it later.  He knew that when my boys took every book they owned off of their bookshelf for the umpteenth time, after being told not to, that I would have the strength to bag them up and "throw them away" (in the basement) even though my boys were weeping and waling and begging me not to.  He knew because He is the one who gives me everything I need to deal with these two.  And I can't thank Him enough.

    There was a time when I was really struggling with some issues I was having with Ian.  I sought the advice of someone who I felt had been there and done that and could share some wisdom with me.  She told me something that day that really changed the way I view the difficulties I face with my children.  She said, "Rachel, God did not make Ian perfect, but He did make him perfectly.  And He gave him to you and Brian because you are the perfect parents for him."  Wow!  If that statement is true, and I believe it is, that means that not only can I handle these two, but I am divinely equipped to handle them better than anybody else on this planet!  Besides Brian, of course, who is equally equipped.  Talk about encouraging!

   In closing, maybe I can now accept the idea that I am in fact a great parent.  Not for your kids, or my sister's kids, or my friend's kids, or my neighbor's kids.  I am a great parent for Ian and Wesley!  Because whether they like it or not.....whether I like it or not.....God stuck us together for life, and I gratefully accept the challenge! 

Gladly going off the rails on a crazy train,