I had these expectations of how it would be to parent older children. I imagined long talks and diatribes about family values and morals and situations. I’ve been hyperventilating about The Talk since I found out I was pregnant. Perhaps I’d watched too many sitcoms in the 80’s and 90’s where everything ended with some wisdom from Mom and Dad.
However, parenting older children is not going the way I thought it would.
I’ll pick them up from school and ask how their day went and one will complain about a friend who wasn’t being nice. Oh, this is my chance, I’ll think. “Well, you know, Lexi, we have to treat others how we want to be treated.” There’s a beat of silence and Emma shouts from the other back seat, “Oh my gosh, Ryan threw up right before music and it was SO. GROSS.” Lexi wants all the details and my moment of wisdom lasted approximately 22 seconds.
Or sometimes, we’ll be walking along in CVS buying some body wash and there’ll be tampons on the end cap and Emma asks me if they hurt. “No,” I say, “but I did wear only pads for a long time.” And then she sees candy on the next aisle and says, “Mom can I pleeeasse have a snickers bar?” I say no and we’ve moved on from the mother-daughter bonding.
We’ll be driving to church and Lexi will share a scary dream she had the night before and how scared she was. I’ll remind her to pray and repeat 2 Timothy 1:7 any time she’s scared. Angels are protecting her. “I know, Mom,” she says before continuing, “Can we go to the gas station after church and get a slushie?” I didn’t get a full lesson on fear and angels before slushies.
That’s how parenting older kids has gone. In bits.
Sure, we do devotions at night and talk about children’s church from Sunday, but I’ve found most of my teaching has been the crevices. And I didn’t expect that at all.
It’s ok, though, because in my experience, God parents in bits too.
Sometimes as his children we get a little disappointed he doesn’t come down and lay it all out for us. We want all the answers to all our questions now and in 12 pt font and double-spaced, please. But from my experience as his child and as a parent myself, it’s in these bits God reveals his character and his wisdom.
I’ll be driving the kids to school and the sun cresting through the trees catches my eye. God reminds me he created another day, he’s a beautiful artist and he loves me. I turn into the car line and remind the girls to take their lunch boxes and thank God for another day.
I’ll be standing at the dryer thinking about how much it stings a friend hurt me and he simply says, “Forgive because you’re been forgiven.” I find the last matching pair of socks, breathe deeply and decide I will.
I love to stop and study about Jesus, but these small moments when he breathes truth remind me he’s walking with me. He’s not a God only on the page, but in my heart, going along and showing me himself. I’m grateful he chooses moments.
And so I realize although parenting isn’t going quite how I expected, it’s beautiful and just how it ought to be.