When the kids were little, someone told my husband and me, “Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems.” At the time, I was trying to wean my son off breast milk at 19 months, and he was refusing. He loved our time together, and he didn’t want food. I was ready to be done, and he had teeth!
Eventually, he weaned himself, and it hurt, but it was a cord that needed to be broken so that he could continue to grow into the individual God meant him to be. The special time we shared was over, and, I missed it, but, as he told me, “I big boy now.”
As our children grew, there were many times when it was hard to be a parent, and that hurt. We had to ground them, on occasion. We had to take away privileges. We had to make sure they were safe behind the wheel. We had to make sure that purity was something we discussed, as embarrassing as it was for all of us! Our control was based on love, and, as much as we were accused of not loving them, we did. We did, and we still do.
I think parenting was easier back in the days when the kids were little. Technology was just coming into it’s days of overtaking the world. That made parenting easier, and even though we made mistakes, and God knows them all, we did the best we could. Love hurt when they turned their backs to us, at times, but we knew we had to be firm. We knew we had to call them on what they did when it was important for them to practice a virtue and not a vice.
Love hurt when they went to college and moved away. Sometimes, love just hurts, and there’s nothing you can do. However, even with that pain, we have pride in their adulthood. No, they are not perfect, but they are good people.
They grew up knowing that God was in our home and in our hearts. We’ve taught them right from wrong. They grew up knowing they were loved by God and by us. Quietly, we spoke of our regrets in parenting them. Maybe we were too strict? Maybe we weren’t strict enough?
Wisdom comes we age. One thing we’ve learned is that forgiveness is a part of love that needs to be practiced, even with ourselves. Love is everything. Family is everything. Love is good, but love means setting limits and boundaries. Love means respecting, even though disagreeing with, their emerging ideas. Love means forgiving. Love means being part of the community called family.
Love is being grateful for the souls God gave us to raise for Him.
Love doesn’t mean being perfect. Love means giving of yourself, even when it hurts. That’s all part of being a family. That’s all a part of love.