Have you ever noticed that parenting passes through stages at break neck speed? We don’t realize how fast one passes until the next one starts, and we think that when this particular hard stage is over, the rest of the challenges will be minor in comparison. We also neglect to appreciate the awesome things happening along with the challenges. Perhaps I should give you some examples. When we brought our sweet baby girl home from the hospital, I thought I would never again sleep a full night, which had been redefined to mean 5 hours. However, we found a good book about setting up a schedule, and the Ezzos quickly replaced my anesthesiologist as my new favorite people. That was no easy feat considering the hero status that man achieved in five minutes of sharing his highly specialized skills. In three months’ time, Girl Child was sleeping 12 hours at night, I was feeling like the most clever mom in the world, and the rest of this parenting thing seemed like it would be easy in comparison. I cringe at my own arrogance, and I’m sure the Lord had a little chuckle knowing what was ahead.
So Wonder Mom is bee bopping along knowing the hardest part of parenting is behind me, when all of a sudden the little darling is ready to potty train! Because I tend to have things planned, I intended to do this after the birth of our second child, but it became obvious about 6 months into that pregnancy that she was “ready” for it. Yes, well, I waddled through the physical exertion that comes with making urgent trips to the potty at the most inconvenient times in the nastiest of public restrooms and contemplated how much easier life was when I just had to get up once in the night to feed her. Ah, the grass is always greener and all of that! Before I knew it, I had a well trained pottier who knew that touching the potty freaks mom out and that each potty trip required a thorough hand-washing. Whew! Now I could look forward to smooth sailing from here on out!
Then we decided to homeschool Girl Child. That meant that at some point she was going to have to learn how to read. I tried doing it in 100 easy lessons. I tried exploding the phonics code. I tried flashcards. Let’s just say that only she and I truly know what a miracle it is that she can read today. I credit her intelligence and my tenacity more than any particular Wonder Mom talents. By the way, I salute those of you who teach 20 or so first graders how to do this every year! Now that she could read though, I felt pretty confident that I could handle the rest of this education business. I won’t drag this post out with similar stories about long division and essay writing, but it’s just the same story, second verse… and third… and fourth. Educating my own children challenges me in ways I never dreamed possible. Someday I’ll share why I do it anyway.
Recently we entered a new stage of parenting. Girl Child is learning how to drive. This one may be the death of me! I choose not to consider how literal that statement could become. We will assume that as in the other stages, we will both survive this one. She will get a special reward in heaven for being the guinea pig in all of these parenting stages, and I will commit to encouraging young moms as often as the Lord gives me the opportunity that each stage will pass. Don’t neglect the joys to be found in the trenches of sippy cups and diaper bags and car seats. Enjoy it and look forward to the stage coming along next. Since I have seen that each milestone we reach has another challenge following quickly behind, sometimes I like to anticipate what that will be. Will I have a hard time letting them go to college? Likely. Will I struggle to keep my opinions to myself regarding career choices or spouse choices or parenting styles? Possibly. I do know one thing. I am privileged to walk through life with these people and to watch the plans God has for them develop. I can’t wish another stage away, because they are passing too quickly!