What parents do for kids

I have a love/hate relationship with my parents, mostly my mom, but my dad can be a jerk sometimes, too. (I’m never a jerk.)

“Just wait until you have kids of your own!” is a hastily spoken threat, usually by parents in anger to their poorly performing kids. What the insult implies to me, in delirious love with my baby, that I will only love and adore the child God has given me. It’s easy for me to say, she’s five and loves to please, if I were to do it again, I would. I could not imagine my life without a child of my own.

“I was in labor twenty hours with you!” A week after Small was born, my great big pregnant friend came over. I had a difficult, very long, unmedicated birth. I told her, on a new mother’s high, that I would go through all twenty hours every week if it meant I got this baby.” I totally meant it.

I know kids miss out on all the love their parents have for them because they can’t understand what goes behind it. Even if kids have absent, cruel or abusive parents, what we see is “normal” (just a setting on a dryer) and it’s how all the other families work.

When I was young I was an excellent student and quick on the draw. My first grade teacher told my parents it was ridiculous for me to be in her class anymore; She couldn’t give me the challenges I needed, however, there was a program blah blah blah, that had room blah blah blah, you know the rest.

I asked my mom about it the other day. She told me the story I just told you, but added at the end, “I had to buy a car so you could go.”

Wow. My family was far from wealthy and not that far from food stamps. We always had enough to eat, gas in our car(s) and my father was in the Marines so he always had a job. My brother and I always had new clothes and a house to live in. My mom took in baby sitting so she could stay home and take care of us, but also to make ends meet.

That they would stretch themselves even more so I could go to a special school moved me in a way I’m not able to fathom right now. They wanted the very best for their children, and that meant a challenging education for me which sometimes meant a forty five minute drive, one way. It meant buying musical instruments, lessons and all that went with them for my musically talented brother. It meant a lot of band competitions and nights in smoky bars to watch hid perform.

When I was accepted to my (code name) prestigious West Coast college, my mom, who had only done volunteer work for about twenty years, got a job, and kept a job she did not like, to pay for it.

When my car (that they bought me for my 16th birthday) was wearing out, they gave me my father’s commuter car so I could make the long trips to The City safely. He didn’t need it, he explained, because he had only a fifteen minute commute. He couldn’t have wanted my old sedan, but he chose to drive it so he could give me something better.

I could go on and on at how they have given to us and expected nothing. However, God has a promise: “The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him.” (Proverbs 23:24)

My mom and dad can be judgmental, emotionally with holding and deliberately irritating (that last one mostly goes with my mom.) But, they are some of the most generous people anyone has ever met, so I must be thankful.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
—Psalm 127:3-5

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