|Abby and cousin Nathaniel|
|Perhaps the last snow of the season.|
Today I watched my children, on their own, ask adults to serve others at a church dinner. Abby was then given a tray of ice cream to handout to the people at the tables. I nudged Anne and pointed at Abby. I was very proud of my little 6 year old, but then I began to be concerned that she would not be able to hold the tray upright for very long. Just then Will came and they seemed to speak to one another without saying a word. Will started to hand the bowls of ice cream to each individual while Abby smiled and held tight to the tray. I started to relax when the tray began to empty out quickly. Soon the ice cream was served to everyone, and Will and Abby went back to their places at the table and began to enjoy the fruits of their labor. All this took place in a matter of minutes, but it taught me how natural it is for children to want to embrace responsibility in their desire to grow up. As a parent, I took a deep breath and gave Abby and Will the chance to succeed or fail with this small step in their growing process. I wanted with all my might to jump in and take over so that they would not have to go through the embarrassment of failure with many looking on. I knew though that they must do this on their own, because it was important for them to take this step away from daddy and mommy in their ever growing process of becoming independent. I realize though at the same time, when these steps take place, it is hard to see into the distant future, when one day they will walk out of our home and start a life for themselves. The process is so gradual and natural that when the day comes for them to leave, we will wonder where the time had gone.
|Family vacations are made for this.|
Yesterday, I looked at a little guy being held by his father at Target, and I think of when Will was that age, and next seeing a small girl pushing a shopping cart with all her might, that was Abby a short time ago. There is a little sadness in my heart when I realize that my children are growing up so quickly. Will now talks about black holes and quasars, and not to long ago, it was Thomas the Tank Engine. Abby now speaks about planning a party with friends coming over to stay, and just yesterday it seems that she was getting her diaper changed.
|"What do you see?"|
As much as we as parents want our children to remain small, there is also the desire to see them grow into responsible adults, and eventually have families of their own. We are caught, it seems, in a paradox of feelings, one to hold on to our children and not want them to grow up, and the other being excited about their newfound maturity. But with these feelings comes the realization that we must let them grow, and eventually set them free. The pain is no less real for a parent to come to this realization though. God has given them to us for a time as their mentors, caretakers and loving parents. With God’s help and guidance we work to become the best parents that we can be for our children. Over time we come to realize that what we teach them now will be carried to the next generation as well. It will then be our heritage, to see the fruits of our labors being carried on to the next generation.