Embracing getting older takes practice. That’s for sure. Even though I love birthdays I remember a couple of birthdays where I shed a tear or two (or a thousand).
One in particular doesn’t bode well for my daughter, Blaire. She arrived into this world on her due date (thank you very much) but that meant it fell on two days before my 28th birthday. She cried a little more than my first born, Jacob, and so going home two days later was not good for me. I laid there in the hospital bed on the morning of my birthday and asked myself ‘how am I going to look after two little kids all day long?’ Well, you have to have a few years under your belt to appreciate that question. I believe all the mistakes I made back then are forgotten when you stand in front of two very capable and mature individuals. A 21 year old college grad not surprisingly ready to be married and move away from home. An 18 year old, confident, mature and caring individual who has decided that college might not be for her so a gap year at bible school will ground her beliefs. Both very different persons brought up in the same home and by the same parents. Pride fills my heart but not because of the work Scott or I have done. Honestly, I think you have to have lived about 46 years to know the person you are and how the heck did your kids grow up in a jaded world so well adjusted and equipped. I’m proud of the friends they chose. I’m proud of the choices they made in school both academically and socially. I’m proud of their confidence in their identity. Although at times that wavered through the ages of 13-16, they both came through with their strong believe in who Jesus is. Not for a moment do I think that all this just happened to a couple of ‘good’ kids. There was a lot of prayer by their parents, grandparents and even great grandparents. A legacy we have the privilege to call our family. Years of prayer in Scotland by the Forbes clan and the Clode Welsh decent and fervent prayers in the deep south of the Hollingsworth clan. I believe this got my kids through rough patches and will continue to see them through into their future. Fully placing your faith in a God unseen is powerful and for that upbringing and teaching I’m grateful. This 46 year old shouldn’t freak out over the first time my 6 year old displays defiant behavior. Her trials of testing me and how far she can go is quite comical because she is dealing with a seasoned parent who has been through it all before. Do you think I was born yesterday Zoe? Then there is the fact that I’m one of the oldest moms among Zoe’s friends. I thought I couldn’t relate to the young moms at the school. Being the youngest in my family causes me to be uncomfortable being the oldest in any situation. But take note young mom. I’ve been there and though I don’t claim I have the best answers for your kids and their situations I can lead you to at least five things that will get you through. Are you ready?
1. It’s ok if your kid is disappointed and cries.
In a world of kids getting everything their heart desires it seems mean if we say no. Trust me. They will get over it and forgive you. It builds character they will even respect you later on.
2. Say I’m sorry. I yelled and took things away out of anger and for no logical reason many times. I know my impatience didn’t scar my kids for life but I wasn’t being a good example. So saying sorry was humbling and real.
3. Don’t lie to your kids. I remember my kids asking me candid questions and some were uncomfortable and sometimes not age appropriate. Jacob asked me why I was picking up ‘medicine’ from the drive through pharmacy when I wasn’t prepared to explain my birth control pill. However, I told him what I figured he could understand at the time. Lying gets complicated to the kid who does remember everything their parent tells them. Explain that’s all the info they need to know right now. This also encourages the inquisitive mind to keep asking questions in the future. You want them to come to you for answers to the big questions so stay honest.
4. Share your past mistakes. Again this makes you a real person to your kids and they will relate to you better when they hear you screwed up too. 5. Walk your kids through family decisions so they can see God answer prayer firsthand. No kid wants to move or change up anything in their life. Show them when you yourself doubt God and wrestle with Him. Again, it’s real and they should see the struggle.
My Father said it best yesterday on his 85th birthday. He told all 23 of us (some were missing) that he couldn’t be more proud of his kids and grandkids who have chosen to go on for the Lord. He has always challenged us in this area and it was my biggest drive in life. He knows his time with us won’t be forever so he’s making up for all the non verbal I love you’s. He tells us now and it makes me cry everytime we say goodbye. Taking each day as a gift from God seems like the best way to approach life. It’s times like these that approaching 46 years doesn’t make me feel old. It makes me feel wise and ready to take on 40 more.
“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
Proverbs 31:30 ESV