Sunday, July 18, 2010

PARENTING

Tom and I mostly stumbled our way through parenthood. From 1975 through 1999, from the time our first child was born until the last child left home to go to college, we were pretty much faking it. I’m not even being modest; we had no idea what we were doing.

We never read a book on how we should raise our children. Come to think of it, there weren’t that many child-rearing books out there when our kids were small. Even if there had been, we wouldn't have been able to afford them anyway.

We often said the wrong things when we should have been offering wise parental counsel. We occasionally fed them junk food instead of healthy food. We were sometimes lenient when we should have been tough—and sometimes got all hard-nosed and pissy about things that didn’t matter. Sometimes we put too much pressure on them to do better—and other times we didn’t give them enough credit for what they had already done.

They wore hand-me-down clothes from their cousins (thank God for those clothes!). I had to work, so they were shuffled off to day care on a regular basis. We dragged them to church every Sunday and insisted they be home in time for dinner at night. They got very little sympathy when they were sick, so they learned not to be sick very often. Sometimes our parental patience was so thin we could hold it up to the light and see through it.

But despite Tom’s and my amateurish efforts at parenthood, we ended up with three good kids. And those three good kids, through their own efforts, became three fine adults.

Our family keeps growing. On Saturday at 5 o’clock mass, the kids all got together and baptized Luke, the newest member of my son and daughter-in-law’s family. Aunt Shannon was honored to be the godmother, new cousin Tommy and his mom and dad were there, and Tom and I cheered them on from 1,700 miles away.

But when Tom and I saw this picture, we couldn’t help but be grateful that despite all of our stumbling and bumbling as parents, we have been rewarded with these eight beautiful people:
Which brings up an important question: How can parenting be so humbling—while at the same time make us feel so proud?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

So nice!! ejb

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful picture. And now you can start counting the days until it is your time to once again join them. Grandma Nettie

Elaine said...

They are beautiful!

Jenny @ mamanash.com said...

Oh you don't know how good it makes me feel to read this! There seems to be so much guilt nowadays. And maybe there was back then too. But was there so much pressure? There seems to be so much pressure on top of the guilt. Anyway, thank for the hope.

2to4aday said...

Jenny: I read your "Mama Nash" blog and I can guarantee you that you have nothing--NOTHING--to feel guilty or pressured about. It seems to me that you give your kids a wonderful balance of freedom, discipline, consistency, and love. What more is there?? Birthday parties with ponies and Justin Bieber for entertainment?!?