When you hold that tiny, soft sweet baby for the first time, you can’t possibly realize how much of your heart and life will be wrapped up in that 7 or 8 lb. bundle. At that moment, you don’t picture a 30-year-old woman or man, nor can you envision the worries, prayers, experiences and love that the future will bring.
They quickly grow and age and with each year the concerns and victories also grow in proportion. When they are children, you cry for them on that first day of school, as well as the injustices and heartaches they go through. It might be unkindness to them, a broken arm, or someone not recognizing their genius or that they obviously deserve the lead role in the play.
As they become older kids and teenagers, you feel their independence blossoming as they voice their opinions and disagreements with you. You start to notice and realize their time at home is ticking away and it really is a temporary arrangement as they slowly break the emotional grasp that you have on them, one finger at a time.
I remember how we tried to teach our children to work and appreciate what they had. Before they were old enough to get jobs, they had chores and we raised animals. Sometimes it was more of a hassle and battle to bottle feed calves, take care of ostriches (yes, ostriches!) goats and chickens and mow lawns. Some people would say, “Wouldn’t it be easier and cheaper just to buy the eggs or beef, rather than raise it?” We’d respond that it would, but we weren’t raising animals, we were raising children.
With 3 kids, 3 ½ years apart, the teen years were exciting and we stayed up late many a night, waiting to hear their car drive up and their voice come into our bedroom and say, “I’m home!”, at one minute before curfew. When they began dating, our worries increased and we tried to convince them on the merits of arranged marriage. We are grateful that they were pretty good kids.
When they had heartbreaks, our hearts were broken too. That’s not to say we weren’t glad some of their heartbreaks were gone, but we knew they were in anguish and we felt it. Some of their experiences caused us tears as well and we would plead to Heavenly Father, who in reality knows and loves them even more than we do. We knew that, but, it’s still difficult. It’s just that you can’t fix everything like when they were little, nor should you. We knew they had to learn to fix some things for themselves.
Along the way, you learn just as much from your children, as they do from you and marvel to think how you would be lacking without them. They become adults, and the relationship continues to evolve. You realize you have more in common than you think, and they reluctantly realize that too. You become friends and time together is still precious. The worries do not cease.
Then. If you are fortunate, they give you something you never imagined would be so wonderful- grandbabies. Little people who idolize you, make you feel young and needed again and make you laugh. It’s heavenly.
Whether your children are doctors, teachers, or in prison, whether they live across the country or in your basement, whether you are best friends with them or can’t ever see eye to eye, they will always be your babies, your posterity and your miracles. Our children and grandchildren mean everything to us. We may have given life to our children, but they have
controlled, taken over, ruled, added meaning to our lives!