One of the hardest parts of parenting for someone (ahem) who tends towards laziness, is the constant need to discipline, teach, interact, and keep an eye on children. They need our attention and almost any daily situation is an opportunity of learning and growth for them. It can be exhausting. Especially the discipline side of it, that's never fun, and I find that I have totally eased up on the littles than I did for the biggies. Sometimes, letting go is okay but usually I just don't want to actually get off my keister and deal with the drama.
Yesterday, Andrew and Eamon (ages 12 and 10) played a CYO basketball game. This year is so nice because they can both play on the same team. After years of practicing together, they can finally put it to the test in games. And boy oh boy are they fun to watch. They are fast, they are aggressive, they know how to really play the game. They can read each other so well and as Maggie said, they "pass, pass, score". Phil and I actually argue over who gets to watch their games, because it's just that enjoyable. We are so proud of the hardworking athletes they have become. Andrew, as the oldest on the team, is particularly great in his leadership role, helping the younger kids know where to go, continually passing them the ball to try and let them score, and cheering them on.
After the game, the coach's wife stopped me to tell me what a fine young man Andrew is. She said "We can all see what he's doing out there on the court, and I actually had to turn away to wipe my eyes because it's so beautiful to see." I started crying, of course, and thanked her. He is a fine young man, indeed and it made me even prouder to hear how beautifully his soul is developing along with his athleticism. I can't take any credit whatsoever for the great things my kids do, and I can't punish myself too much for the mistakes they make. They are each their own. However, it made me realize how the small, daily minutiae all adds up and becomes a greater sum.
When we teach our toddlers to take turns with the toy,
They become people who know how to share the spotlight.
When we don't let them have dessert until they finish their dinner,
We teach them that delayed gratification is the sweetest.
When we give them a daily routine,
They learn time management.
When we feed them wholesome food, get them to bed on time, and keep them active,
They learn how to keep their bodies healthy and happy.
When we send them to timeout for a bad decision,
They learn that their actions have consequences.
When we lose our temper and our patience is gone,
They learn how to accept an apology and dole out mercy.
When we show them how to be kind,
They become a true friend.
When we teach them to treat others as they want to be treated,
They become people of honor, respect, and trust.
When we make them apologize for hurting someone's feelings,
They become compassionate adults and future saints.
And when we do our best to raise them, despite our flaws,
They become better people than us.
Sometimes wiping faces and dirty bums, filling sippy cups and slicing apples, doling out kisses and punishments on the daily can make a tired parent. But these little moments matter. You matter. One day those little kids grow up and surprise you that in spite of yourself, they turn out pretty awesome. Where there's love, there's grace, and anything is possible with perseverance.