It took having six kids to realize a few things…

I don’t pretend to have this parenting thing figured out by any stretch of the imagination, but I’d like to think that as my kids grow, so do I. If not, we all suffer, right? Sometimes growth is fun, and sometimes it’s painful, I will admit. Along the way, I’ve been made aware of my mistakes in my youth, my misguided attempts to “do it right,” and the glimpses of hope that somehow, despite my many imperfections, our kids will turn out OK.

I think having six kids over ten years has done quite a bit for my naturally uptight nature. For one thing (and I still struggle with this!), I’ve come to realize that I won’t have a house that makes the cover of Martha Stewart’s magazines. Or even be allowed to be a house where Martha Stewart’s magazine can even be displayed. But that’s really, really OK. I may be tempted to complain that my kitchen floor is only clean for about thirty minutes every so often, but the reason it’s that way is because I get to see my kids every day, all day. I get to. Even when they drive me crazy, and I drive them crazy (and I would be crazy to think that I didn’t!), I love having my kids around.

That’s not to say it’s not an awesome responsibility that sometimes threatens to crush me with its weight, but I’m relying on the One who called us to homeschool our herd. It definitely is a one day at a time mentality. Sometimes even hour by hour!

As the kids get older, though (and me too; what a bummer….), I’d like to think age is giving me some wisdom and perspective. I’d like to think that I can enjoy the day-to-day a little more. Maybe it’s more like how Jim Gaffigan, the hilarious and astute comedian, described it: “The fact of the matter is, when you’re the youngest of a big family, by the time you’re a teenager, your parents are insane.”

By my calculations, we must be halfway to insane!

So…what made me think such deep thoughts, you may ask? It all started with me catching Brendan playing with water in the kitchen sink. Here’s the picture I took after he walked away:


Such a simple thing. Instead of placing his plate in the sink after he finished his lunch, he balanced it between the two sinks and then proceeded to drip water into it in an attempt to see how much he could add before it tipped over. My first instinct when I saw him “playing in the water” was to jump on him and spout out some altruism about how expensive water is and how it can make such a mess. But in an instant, I caught myself, and realized that he was sort of conducting his own scientific experiment. Even if the plate toppled, the water was surely going to spill into the sink, the designated area for water in the kitchen. Duh. He was intense and at eye level with the plate, and for once, I just let him do it. He continued to drip drops into the plate until his curiosity led him to something else, and the moment was gone. It wasn’t rocket science; just a simple test that I could have so easily squashed had I not listened to that quick and quiet catch.

There is still so much to learn as a parent. I can’t make my kids be what I want them to be–or thought I wanted them to be, but I want to learn to help them be the best person they already are. God made them to be a unique and individual being, and I want to be respectful of that creation. Even if that creation sometimes makes me crazy, there are only six people in the entire world (so far) that get to call me Mom, and that’s pretty darn amazing.

So, if that means letting them get dirty–or wet–or wear mismatched clothes and socks, isn’t that OK? As the days begin to fly by faster and faster, I realize they they are also numbered. Before too long they’ll be too old to be here anymore…every day. As tough as some days may be, I don’t even want to think about the change that lies ahead. For today, we will spend our time balancing plates over a sink of dirty dishes, because the dishes will wait…the kids are growing…and I’m trying not to blink.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Laura
    Jun 24, 2013 @ 09:25:10

    love this, Deb! Thanks for the reminder!


  2. Christina Scribner
    Jun 25, 2013 @ 11:30:09

    Deb, it was so nice to meet you at the CC conference a couple of weeks ago. This post is such a great reminder to treasure each moment and day as precious gifts instead of getting caught up in getting life done.


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