A friend of mine with six children emailed me with a frustrating day of events that started with “I’m grateful”, meandered into “I used to have a life” and ended with “Why me, God?” She desperately wanted answers relevant to her Christian beliefs. Being the good agnostic friend, I rattled off my 7a.m. best:
If I knew any of the answers do you think I’d be sitting here writing to you? No. I’d be wading in a hot tub with whoever my hottie-‘o-the-day is because that’s what you can afford to do when you’re stinking rich from writing a book called “I Know Why and Other Secrets of the Universe.”
We should be grateful to have kids healthy enough to do the things they do and I’m sure in our more spiritual hours we are grateful. That’s a separate issue from the very real daily experience of being hammered into an intellectual vortex by an onslaught of questions, quandaries, and situations that would tax even the most superior mind.
I speak, of course, of God. While we lament on raising our children, we must remember that God gave up his only child. Well, technically God gave up his only child to someone else to raise. He knew what a mind-bender it would be and he wanted nothing to do with it.
It’s said that Joseph and Mary were blessed with the birth of Jesus. Given that biblical journalists didn’t much fancy the word of women, we’ll never know how Mary really felt about all this but, if you were so inclined, you might think the number of children you have is in direct proportion to the amount of heavenly goodness that awaits you. Sounds good until you realize you’d get a bunch of heaven whilst Mary gets very little and that’s not likely.
So now we must ponder the possibility that it’s the quality of the children we raise, in which case we’re all screwed. You could stop buying lipstick, toilet paper, ice-cream, dining room chairs, and tools, but that would only prompt more questions you can’t answer so my advice is to address every situation with “Momma needs a cocktail”.
It’s quantum parenting. What worked yesterday won’t work today and in some cases it will never work again because there are no constants. The variables change every second until the children stop, growing which is after they leave home and have to hire their own repairmen and rent their own steam cleaners.
Every child’s action may have an opposite reaction but it’s more often
exponential than equal. And anyone who has ever pried a dead toad from a jean pocket fresh from the dryer knows that some energy doesn’t convert.
Do children slow us down, halt our dreams and steal away our hopes? Maybe. Or maybe they redefine all of that. Maybe they show us grand and wonderful parts of ourselves we would otherwise never have known. Perhaps they are the most precise teachers and we the hapless student. They love us all the more than anyone ever could and, in the end, we love ourselves all the more.
Or maybe they’re sucking us dry for every ounce of sunshine we’ve managed to glean from this life, sending out into the winds of time the remains of all we’d ever hoped to be.
Let us pray.