I heard the words I longed for to come out of her mouth.
No, it wasn’t “I love you daddy.” It wasn’t even “you were right.”
It was, “I hope my kids aren’t this hard.” And it came after my daughter found a couple of her journals from junior and senior high. She’s at an age she can look back and see what we saw during those years. It was year where you strapped on your chaps and saddled up for the ride of your life. (sorry for the cheesy metaphor for any of my cowboy readers). She realized how difficult parenting her was at times. All the emotional ups and downs, the days when she was the most wonderful child you could have followed by the days where I should have been given a medal for not acting on my desires. In the words of an old Bill Cosby line, “I brought you into this world, I can take you out make another one just like you!”
If you aren’t a parent yet, or just starting, let me be brutally honest with you. PARENTING ISN’T FOR WIMPS!!. It’s long hard hours of trying and often failing to do the right thing. It’s busting your butt to be a good parent only to have the child shout at you, “I hate you! Why can’t you be like Billy’s parents?” It’s a life of sacrificing your desires to care for your children’s needs. It’s watching the same movie so many times in a row that you have nightmares about it, but you would do it all over again to have your child snuggle up in your lap and be perfect for a few minutes. It’s surviving the aftermath of their break ups. It’s crying with them over a lost friendship. It’s biting your tongue as they ask you what you think the latest, dumbest fashion they are wearing. It’s doing an all nighter by their bedside as they lay there sick only to be abandoned by everyone when you catch the flu or whatever they had. It’s making meal after meal that they never appreciate the effort put into it. It’s not getting resentful when you’re compared to someone else’s way cooler parent and all you can think of is the fact that the parent should never have been allowed to have children in the first place!
Parenting is hard, it’s tough, it’s exhausting, it’s…the most wonderful gift God has given you outside of salvation. Put in the hard work and shape a child that will make this world a better place when they grow up. Don’t let the coach or TV or computer raise your children. YOU do the work. God blessed you with this child. Bless God by how you raise that child.
And don’t ever forget or kid yourself. PARENTING ISN’T FOR WIMPS!