Life with littles is challenging. Not gonna lie. We wake up to chaos and most days it pretty much stays that way until bed time. In the last few weeks several people have told me "just wait until they are teenagers!" I have to admit, the thought scares me. Really? Can teenage years be worse than having 3 littles? I shudder at the thought. Worse? Harder? Surely not . . . I dream of sitting around the kitchen table with my teens chatting about their days, lying in bed at night talking about their struggles and triumphs, family game nights and movie nights. Is this a dream world? Surely not, because I have friends and family with teenagers they actually enjoy. Then I began to think. In order to have all that then, you have to have it now. You cannot wake up one day and decide to have a relationship with your twelve year old. If you didn't listen at 3 or 5, they are not going to listen at 13 or 15. Your fourteen year old probably won't be easily convinced a family game night is really fun if its the first time ever. In order to develop this kind of relationship with our teens, we have to have this kind of relationship with our toddlers and preschoolers. It won't be perfect then . . . or now. You just get out of it what you put into it. (And then pray for a whole lot of God's grace, then and now!) :)
Too many nights I am exhausted and rush the bedtime routine just to be done. Too many days I rush through homeschooling or dinner just to move on. How much am I missing? How many walks, park days, smiles and giggles have I already missed out on? Long ago I promised myself I wouldn't wish a stage of childhood away, it is gone too quickly, however, am I actually cherishing my children? My dh often encourages his clients (and me!) to remember that a child needs 13 positives for every negative they receive. How I miss that mark every day. My prayer is to see my children as God sees them, to have a fraction of the patience and grace He has with me. Not often enough have I prayed for God to help me to be the parent to these precious children He has called me to be. I don't want to raise them doing "my best." My best is not good enough. My best fails at its best attempt. May the Holy Spirit enable me with HIS best. His best is perfect.