As my children entered young adulthood, a theme emerged. I found myself discounting my experience as a young mother. The “should haves” abounded. I should have been more relaxed. I should have enjoyed each moment with our precious cherubs. I should have been more flexible. I should have embraced a different (fill in the blank) parenting philosophy.
Then my children had children. Suddenly memories and emotions flooded back. Babies are HARD! And there is a ton of stress and confusion. While I didn’t enjoy watching these new parents struggle, I found that significant personal healing accompanied their foray into the wilds of child rearing. I had two babies in 11 months! The idyllic domestic scene that I imagined I “should have” created was not realistic – or even really desirable. Doesn’t something truly grow grand under a little pressure?
My parenting story is littered with mistakes, sins, and omissions. I have wounded my children, and they have wounded me. But do you know who encouraged me to give my young mother self a little grace? My own daughter – my eldest. The starter child, if you will. And as she heaped love, mercy, and forgiveness upon me I realized that I had to broaden my perspective. For if I cannot look gracefully upon my own early mothering, might she wonder if I can look with grace upon her fledgling attempts? And what example does my self-castigation set for my children? What was sinful has been confessed and is as far from me as the east is from the west, and what was immature is slowly and sometimes painfully being pruned by the Master Gardener Himself.
So I am declaring grandparenting an age of grace – for myself, my children and their spouses, and my grandchildren (that’s the easy part).
How have your children, young or old, been a grace to you? What expectations of yourself are you working through? Please let us know in the comments below. If you like what your reading, please click “like” and share.