Well, It Happened….

My oldest son, Ben is 9, going on 14.  He’s growing up really fast, too fast actually.  The little things that we’ve always done are changing a bit as he grows older.  Good, normal changes, but changes nonetheless.

A few weeks ago, we were walking into church together and I went to grab his hand out of habit.  He politely held my hand briefly and then let go suddenly.  I asked him if he was embarrassed to hold my hand and he answered with a sheepish “kind of.”  I told him I understood, but inside, I knew that this was just the beginning of Ben’s different stages of independence.

For me, it’s a mixed bag of gratefulness and sadness.  I’m grateful that he’s confident enough to be his own person, not needing as much comfort or affection as when he was younger.  I’m sad because this is the end of a chapter.  My little-big boy requires a new kind of affection…..big kid affection consisting of fist bumps and “atta boys” vs. hand holding and other lovey dovey stuff.  Again, I’m glad that he’s growing up, but I was quickly reminded of how fast his childhood is flying by!

As parents, there is always the temptation to look ahead all the time, anticipating our kiddo’s future  or “next steps” while losing grip of the present.  We’ve all been there and while it’s normal, it can be distracting from all the good stuff going on right now.  Let’s not miss the good stuff friends.

In September, Ben will be 10 years old with 2 years left of elementary school.  Wow.  It’s hard to stomach that reality, it really is.  As a dad, the macho thing to do would be to beat my chest and say “that’s just life…only 8+ years until he’s 18 and out of the house!”  That’s not me though.  Instead, I find myself being sappy, sentimental and proud of the young man he’s becoming….feeling torn between wanting to freeze time and the desire to see him grow up to succeed in this world.

Being a parent hurts so good, it really does.

God Bless,

Paul

 

 

 

 

 

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The Mixed Bag of Being a Parent

Toilet paperBeing a dad, or mom, or whatever is a crazy journey.  It’s a mixed bag really, full of good times and not-so-good times.

In the end, every second is worth it.  One thing that’s for certain is that sometimes, I’m left scratching my head, searching for answers, wanting to know all of the creative solutions but coming up short.

Dang, it’s frustrating, but pretty normal I believe.  I think as parents, we’ve all been there and we’ve all experienced the imperfect blessings of parenthood.

I’ll tell you what though, if you want to be challenged, become a parent.

If you want to be humbled, become a parent.

If you want to grow, become a parent.

If you want to learn patience, become a parent.

If you want to experience a “I have no idea what the heck I’m doing” kind of feeling, become a parent.

If you want to get used to bodily fluids, consisting of yellow and brown colors and those in between, become a parent.

If you want to witness your own faults, reflecting off of your children like a shiny mirror, become a parent.

If you want to learn cool songs and dance a lot, become a parent.

If you want to get really good at unclogging things, become a parent.

If you want to be a hero, become a parent.

If you want to create awesome memories, leaving a legacy for years to come, become a parent.

If you want to fail, become a parent.

If you want to experience the struggle of letting your kids fail, become a parent.

If you want to experience true, deep, unexplainable love, become a parent.

What a messy, beautiful and real opportunity we have to shape the lives of little ones.

I could go on for pages, but I’ll end here.  Love is the main ingredient that holds it all together.  It doesn’t matter how many times we mess up or how many times we get it wrong.  What matters most is the consistency of our presence in our children’s lives.

The same goes for our kiddos.  Sure we need to discipline, give wedgies when needed and be tough at times.  That’s just being a good parent.

Really though, our kids truly need to know that when they fall, and they will, we’ll be there to help them up every time.  After all, we’re not too perfect either, right?

When I was younger, my dad used to tell me something like “whether you’re good or bad, happy or sad, I will always love you.”  That’s the message right there…..to live that unconditional love out daily, in word and deed……..this should be directed not only to our kids, but to our messy, old, imperfect selves as well.

God Bless,

Paul