I walked into the meeting as the others were conversing in that before-we-get-down-to-business chatter. This particular conversation was about a graphic designer’s new dog. And then the conversation moved from dogs to children and how dogs don’t become teenagers – at least in the rebellious sense.
And then there was some other stuff about kids and the trouble they cause. I looked around the table and realized that although there were a couple other parents there, I was the only one with grown kids.
So I said, “I can honestly say I enjoyed my kids at every stage of their lives.”
At which point some of the people laughed as if I had just told a joke. But I wasn’t telling a joke, I was being truthful. I’m not saying that we had the perfect, never-ever-worry-about-the-kids-family. We didn’t and I’d be the first to admit it. But over all, raising them was a hard, not-always-fun, but most-of-the-time an enjoyable job. (I mean, I still worry about them more than they know.)
I enjoyed the baby stage with the newness of life and overwhelming “We’re parents” feelings. We would do anything for those first smiles and those first steps and those first words.
I enjoyed the preschool stage when they were just, plain cute and looked cute and said cute phrases using words you didn’t even know they knew.
I enjoyed the elementary years when they were constantly learning and doing and and questioning. I enjoyed the trips we took with them when they would collect every tourist brochure possible and play travel agents in our hotel rooms at night. Where they would stage elaborate skating shows in our basement or take us for boat tours on Spider Lake.
I enjoyed the middle school years when they became concerned about their school friends knowing the Lord, when they would share elaborate stories of their days (like when a majority of the girls in Jeff’s eighth grade class all brought beer to school in their hair spray bottles – AND all got caught and suspended – making the school be a largely all-boys school for a day).
I enjoyed the high school years, watching the soccer games and volleyball games, sitting at the dinner table discussing the questions of life. Seeing them change from kids to adults.
I enjoyed the college years when Jeff would send us detailed letters about life in the Northwestern dorm or Kelli would bring her friends home from Moody and have them sit around the table and discuss theology with her dad.
I enjoy them as adults – and I enjoy their kids, too.
Were there tough times? Sure.
Were there times we wanted to wring their necks? Sure.
But I can find things that I wrote when we were actually “going through it” and I wasn’t any less enthusiastic about being a mom than I am now. So, it’s not like I’m forgetting the bad part and only remembering the good.
The Lord says: Psalms 127:3 – Behold, children are a gift of the LORD.
Gifts are good things. Gifts give pleasure. Gifts are welcomed.
I mean, dogs are great.
But children are better.