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Today is my daughter’s sixth birthday. Usually, when admiring my kids, I tend to reflect on the miracle of pregnancy and birth — how someone so intricate and tall grew from a fertilized egg inside me. The toes, the fingers, the little naked bums navigating the staircase — how did that little personality come from inside me?
Except today, I find myself ruminating on the miracle that my kids may grow to passably decent adults. Parenthood is hard. It requires 90% of you about 100% of the time (unless you are sleeping). I’d say 100%, but I know I don’t give 100% – hence the miracle.
When I find myself wondering about how it is I can be an adult when I still don’t see myself much more than a 13-year-old inside, I look around and see a somewhat clean house, with a full refrigerator, clean dishes, clean laundry … and happy and healthy kids. I don’t know how I got here. A little muddled. I know most parents have a similar experience. Parenthood is kind of a fog where you know the basic idea but how to execute it is a free-for-all. Make sure you feed them, exercise some basic cleanliness to maintain health, and make sure they don’t get away with being horrible human beings and you got it made, right? But execution is not so easy, especially with no break in sight. Even the parents that appear to have it all together with twice as many kids as you probably run from one seemingly minor goal to the next in a cloud of half-aware confusion.
There is an entire industry on child-rearing to guide confused and frustrated and clueless parents through the seemingly dark passages of parenthood. I’ve read a grand total of four chapters in the last
9 12 years. So many mistakes and failures, but these kids are so wonderful and great! It really is a miracle! It really shows that when you put in the effort, you can be rewarded in spite of the failures and mistakes. Parents don’t need to be perfect. There is a miracle in bringing life into the world, but there is also a miracle of grace at work in bringing that new life to maturity so they can experience their own miracles.
(I wrote this on my daughter’s sixth birthday and never published it.)Published in