Monday, November 3, 2014

Surviving My Son's Wedding and Parenting Tips

It was my eldest son’s wedding this last weekend. Needless to say it was hectic gearing up to the special day but after all was said and done, it was worth every minute of sleep I’d lost. It wasn’t just that it was a beautiful and memorable event but I also had some time to reflect and learn—hopefully lessons that would help me become a better parent and the mother God wants me to be.

Most of you reading this do not know me. So, this is confession time: I am actually a very difficult person to live with. I strive for perfection to the 200th degree and I used to be one of those pedantic people who clean each kitchen counter tile with a toothbrush. So, when my kids did not measure up I would not only get mad but I‘d be disappointed with them (and let them know it) and with myself for not keeping up to the high bar I’d raised for them and for myself. For the first fifteen years of my son’s life I lived like this. Never mind that my husband kept telling me to chill it. (He’s Mr. Cool, and I’m Mrs. Hot.) For me, it was give my all, or give nothing at all.
Homeschooling with many kids can still be a fun but educational time.

If you’re anything like me—you’re probably not as bad as I am—I hope you learn some of life lessons the Lord has taught me these past few days.

Before the wedding, I had to gather photographs of Michael to put up on the wall at the wedding hall. We had a chance to go through photographs of the things we’d done as a family these past twenty years. Memories of my son Michael as a young child all come ebbing back like the waves that lap the beach and leave a mark each time they crash into land. Forgive me if I am too nostalgic here, but I’d learnt much this past week. I learned that time with our children truly go by so quickly. No, correction, they sprint by us. I remember the difficult times I’d complained about, about how difficult it was to handle five children under the age of ten, for instance, but now, if I had to do it over again, I’d complain less and enjoy them more.

Yes, they would still break precious Waterford crystal vases, destroy furniture, fight amongst themselves, hurt each other, or themselves, in accidents, not do their homework—worse!—hide their homework and lie about having done them. They would still have moments (lots!) of disobedience and defiance. Oh, and how about setting up a Facebook account and not tell me, and even lied about their age get the Facebook account? (Personally, I really feel many bad things have come out of Fb, but that’s another topic altogether.)

All these things would still remain.

But one thing that would not be the same if I could change back the hands of time and do it all again would be my attitude. I would consider those moments a season of joy and a privilege that my God has so entrusted me with. That the God of the universe thought myself fit to shape the lives of five precious people. I would not to do with them what I think is good for them, but listen to what God has for them and help them become the best people God wants them to be. I would get mad less (since it would not be possible not to be mad at all) and enjoy every second I have with them more, even if I had to wipe away vomit ever single day.

I see now more and more that those difficult times were not hard at all if only I’d remembered that Jesus only means the best for us. He came to this earth as a humble human and died on the cross to give us life and life more abundantly. ((NIV) John 10:10: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full)

Even in hardship it is not a bad thing at all—even if it looked that way. Each troublesome moment was only another chance for us to show the love of Jesus to them. To show them with our actions and our words the love of God through Jesus Christ. To exemplify to my children so great a love that HE is willing to sacrifice himself for us.
Michael and Lauren's wedding

It took me my son’s wedding to learn these things—and more, which I will share next week. So, as my Michael moves on with his new adventure I, too, will move forward with what I’d learned, and hopefully apply them to my relationship with him and his young wife.

All the best my Michael. Learn from your mom’s mistakes, and try not to let this history to repeat itself in your own life, especially when you deal with your children. Love them, hug them, cherish them and in this manner you will show them God’s love for them. And nothing in life can draw them away from the love of Christ once they can feel this love. 

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