Today I want to share a little bit about my family and something that has become obvious to me. I was a much better parent before I had kids. Let me explain.
Child # 1 – The first few days after he was born were brutal because once we were out of the hospital, I had no idea what I was doing. In fact, we scoured books for any hints to help us. For example, we were told before hand in one of those birthing classes that giving a pacifier was confusing to the baby, so we decided not to use them. Yeah, right! We gave him a pacifier the first day. This, among other things, helped us manage to get some sort of rhythm to life and make it through the first few months.
Before we knew it, he was starting to do more. I remember the first of many mistakes came when he was sitting in his little chair and we didn’t strap him in. We were caught up in watching the fire department spray water on a field to make an ice rink, while he sat in the chair. Exciting! This chair wasn’t far from the ground, but he rolled right out of it onto the floor. Note to self: strap kid in. Then there was another time when we were at a hotel and managed to lock him in the room after the key was turned in. That was the same trip where we ate at a restaurant and this couple across from us gave us evil looks for having a kid in there. Maybe they were upset that I had won the perfect parent award, but I don’t know since they didn’t have any kids with them. With being the first child, he was the first for everything and probably is paying the price right now at 7 years old. There was also the time that he was had just started walking and he lost his balance down the hill and hit his head on an open car door. I won’t even mention that my wife stepped on him once. (whoops)
Child # 2- We moved to Cape Cod from Minnesota while my wife was pregnant with child number two. Well, he came into the world and shattered anything we had gained. (ok, maybe not everything) We had just moved to Cape Cod and were still trying to figure that out and now we had another child to try to work into this new world. No problem. The adjustments were made and we could still play man coverage with only two kids.
With him we started to figure a few things out. We needed to strap him in and pacifiers were fine. However, he did other things. I remember one time we looked and he was in the road running full speed toward a much busier road. It was all I could to yell and try to get him to stop. Thankfully, he fell down and we got to him.
Child 3- Then along came child number three. The first weekend home while playing with my then 3-year-old son, he suddenly grabbed his arm. I had never heard of nurse maids elbow before, but soon would learn in the emergency room. What makes this even more fun is that two days before my wife gave birth, I passed out getting blood drawn. I was out cold for several minutes and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Try calling your wife while she is at a baby shower to tell her that you are at the hospital, but you are fine. I figured either way it works out because if she goes into labor, we are at the hospital. Yes, the perfect parent award was slipping away.
Child # 4- Recently we added our fourth child, a girl. She is beautiful and the boys adore her, for now. We haven’t had a chance to mess much up with her yet.
I find it ironic how easy parenting looks until your kids are born. Don’t get me wrong here, I love my kids and would not trade them away. (most of the time) I do realize that kids have a way of humbling adults. They have a way of changing our perspective and causing us to step back and think about how we are handling something or how we are talking about something.
So, as much as I hate to ruin the image you have of me, no I am not perfect. I get upset about things at times that I shouldn’t. I sometimes ignore my kids when I shouldn’t. I have used rewards and discipline inconsistently at times. Does that mean I have failed? I don’t think so. It just puts me at a place where I can look at my children and say, “I love you, but there is someone who loves you far greater than I can.” “There is someone who doesn’t let you down, who doesn’t disconnect from you when he is tired, or throw the ball too hard that you miss it and it hits you in the eye. His name is Jesus Christ and He is perfect; He loves you perfectly.”
I pray my kids would see Jesus in me and want to follow Him. I hope they see that we try our best, by the grace of God, to raise them in a God honoring environment. Beyond that, I guess I will not be looking for my perfect parent award this year.