I’ve got a news flash for you. You may not have heard this before. Ready? Raising kids is hard.
Really, it’s hard! It’s amazing and wonderful and fills your life with laughter and joy and soft, sweet hugs and kisses but it also fills your life with challenges, tantrums, phases, and discipline. It is like a purification process that shaves off all of your rough edges…over and over and over again until you are smoother and purer. Kids change you. For the better.
At the moment, this is my parenting challenge: My kids are different from each other. I get asked if they are twins no fewer than 2-3 times a week (yes, they are twins a year and a half apart. Well, one’s just a little taller than the other..) and I admit, they definitely look like brothers. But the similarities just about end there!
Zakkai loves meat and inhales it, asking for more; Samuel reluctantly swallows his 3 bites of chicken and inspects it for any strange colors or spots (I have no idea where he gets that from…). Samuel is cautious about trying new things and needs lots of reassurance; Zakkai is shy for all of 2 minutes and then makes friends with the strange creepy man on the park bench. Samuel wants your undivided attention or is happy playing trains at the train table for long periods of time; Zakkai is content coloring on the walls, trying to eat toothpaste and trying on everyone’s shoes. Things like that!
Perfect example: Today my friend and I endeavored to walk to a not-so-close park with our 4 children, 3 of them riding bicycles. Her sweet little angel steadily rode in a straight line, never swerving to the right or the left. If that is any indication of her path in life, she is set! Samuel rode his big boy bike, helmet and all, until about 5 feet from each intersection and then would call for me and grab on to me to help him across the bumps (he hasn’t been quiet as confident since a bike accident not long after he got the bike), whereas Zakkai, who can’t quite pedal yet, plugged along riding his bike like Fred Flinstone, not looking up or to the sides, merely plowing into strangers in his path and even veering off in the direction of the busy street. He had no fewer than 3 tricycle accidents today. But he cried for about 2 minutes each time and then paddled away like Fred again.
Simple activities might take longer because I have to minister to the needs of two very different little boys who need very different reassurances and guidance. Sometimes it feels very overwhelming to balance out the two and make sure each child is getting enough love and attention. And I want to have another??! Sometimes I think I must be crazy!
But even with it’s challenges and the occasional overwhelming feelings, the best I can do is love the children of my heart with everything in me and ask God for the strength, wisdom and patience to love and raise them each day. His mercies are new every morning! And I’m so thankful for that;)