This is the season for children. I don’t mean all the hoopla of presents and Santa, although there is that, of course. I am thinking on a deeper level. Christmas is about hope and love in the form of a baby. Although the Chanukah story is less overtly child focused, it is also a story of hope for the future. In both stories, I also feel an undercurrent of worry. For me, the universal themes of parenting—hope, love, and worry—are up front and center this time of year.
I hope and pray that I will be a good parent for my children. Actually, I don’t want to be good, I want to be the best. As unattainable as that is, it is still what I wish for. The problem is that it’s not always clear how to be the best for them. They are each so different, and yet, I remain the same. So I hope and pray for flexibility and for wisdom.
I worry over each of them for much the same reasons and for very different reasons. When they were younger, I thought that I would worry less about them as they got older. I guess I thought that with each passing year, there would be less danger of something going wrong. I smile now at my youthful ignorance. I don’t mean that I worry about them all the time because I don’t. I also don’t mean that worry crowds out the joy or the hope because it doesn’t. But just as hope, joy and love are an integral part of parenting, so is worry.
Mostly, as I sit here in front of my fire typing away while my kids are either sleeping or reading nearby, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of love and appreciation that they are in my life. I know this sounds hokey, but frequently I think, “these people–my husband and kids– are my village.” Sometimes I’m almost overwhelmed with the realization that we have been chosen to walk through life together. They’ll grow up and move out, but we will always be connected through love and history. I know that most families probably feel this way, but I think it is an especially neat thought for those of us who created our families through adoption or after years of infertility treatment.
Most of us had to work extra hard to get our kids, so you’d think we would live in a perpetual state of appreciation every season of the year. Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t. I should, I know, but the laundry and the cooking and the homework often push appreciation pretty far down the list of feelings that parenting brings out. But for now, in this season for children, I feel blessed to have mine, each and every imperfect one of them.
P.S. This season that fills us with joy is particularly hard for people wanting to be parents, but having trouble fulfilling that dream. Either infertility treatment is not working or the adoption wait is getting longer and longer, but for whatever reason, they desperately want to have kids in their lives. For them, this is a season of sadness. We did a Creating a Family show on how to survive the holidays when you are hoping and praying for a child, but don’t have one. The questions we received expressed so well the angst this season can bring for so many. Please try to keep these folks in mind this holiday, and try your best to make this season easier for them. But for the grace of God this could have been any of us.Image credit: dolanh