Every mom has a few funny stories she drags up once in a while to amuse her friends or remind her kids of how much fun it is to parent. Our kids usually aren’t amused at the retelling, but that doesn’t deter us from doing so over and over and over again. It’s a mother thing.
I’ve shared many incidents involving my youngest daughter, much to her chagrin. I didn’t have time to think much about the silly things my first two did. They were born 20 months apart and kept me busy thinking about other things – like staying awake, changing diapers, washing diapers, potty training, managing a household and hanging on to my sanity by a thread.
When the third came along, I was a seasoned mother. At least I thought I was. She arrived five years after the second one. The first two were in school so I had her all to myself. She was a very good baby. I’m sure it was because I was a much calmer mom by then.
Since she’s usually the recipient of my funniest memories of motherhood, I’ll give her a break today. You won’t be hearing about the dog she spray painted blue or the chewed gum she stole from a little boy in church – right from his mouth. I won’t talk about the fact that she designed a little closet for all her Barbie clothes on the wall of her bedroom. She saw me pounding nails to hang pictures and did the same to display her doll’s wardrobe. I will not mention art project that I ate. I won’t say a word about all the boys she gave her phone number to.
Instead I’ll talk about all of their joint adventures as they were growing up. There were the funerals for dead critters – like grasshoppers, baby birds and a duck called Yacky Doodle. There were a few dogs buried on our property. There were the family vacations. On second thought, you don’t want to hear about those. There were the trips to the local creek to find leeches and suckers for fishing. Our niece went along once and thought they were looking for peaches and suckers.
There were the countless sporting events when we’d cheer them on, even if they were running the wrong way on the basketball court. We applauded as they performed in school plays or musical performances. Since I was also their drama instructor for all their years in high school, there were lots of challenges in that area. More drama than I was prepared for.
I remember the tears shed when the girls walked down the aisle – the pride as each of them had children of their own – the worry when they didn’t come home at the usual time – the hours spent sewing little matching outfits for them to wear at Christmas. That ended when they turned five and it wasn’t cool anymore. Their confirmation days and expression of faith brought more tears. To see them develop that faith and become reliant on God to help them through their difficult times as well as the good.
All the highs and lows of parenting eventually smooth out. Those times are helping to form a person who will be prepared for the future. The foundation we lay for our children will affect them beyond our wildest dreams.
Now I’m hearing stories about their childhood that I was never aware of. Maybe some of them are best left untold.