The assignment: Write a love letter to your children as parents. Write them a letter a grace for their future days of parenting. Send them your best love for the moment they become parents or the moment in which they currently live as parents. Share your love, your joy, your heart, and certainly grace.
I wrote this letter in response to the assignment from Kara at Mundane Faithfulness… click the image or the link to read more letters from other bloggers and to learn more about Kara and her heartbreakingly amazing story.
Dear Liam and Jack: Now you know. You are each parents and now you know (nearly) how much I love you. Or at least you know a measure of the love I have for you, because I believe the quantity of a parent’s love for their children is infinite and grows each minute that child is known by that parent’s heart. It is true, a parent doesn’t always like their child (frankly, sometimes your kids can be jerks and it’s normal not to like a jerk – it’s a sign of common sense) but a true parent always loves their children – no matter what. So now you know.
True, you are both fathers and I am a mother and therefore different in a way – certainly our perspective of parenthood may be different due to the inherent differences of the sexes and the changes in the times that we are parenting – but parenthood is, at is essence, universal. God entrusted you to my care, just as He entrusted your offspring to your care – it is one of the most important things you will ever do. You are perfectly suited to parent your children – make no mistake about it.
And it is all the wonderful things you can imagine BUT (yes, as is often the case with the BIG LIFE things, there is a BUT…) it is also the most challenging and frustrating, it is exhausting, often not rewarding and it battles for your attention when you know other things need your focus – it can wreck havoc on your relationship with your spouse and negatively impact your career. Do not be fooled… it is not a walk in the park, it is not for the faint of heart and it can take you down. The worst thing you could ever do is assume it will not take work and that it will be easy, if you do that, you will fail yourself and you will fail your kids.
I realize that this sounds defeatist and all a little scary but it is not… (well, it is scary because it is a big task). I would be remiss if I didn’t warn you of the pitfalls and instead just sang the wonders of the beauty of parenthood – I would fail you as a parent. But trust that as hard as it can be, God will carry you through when you ask for His help – He will guide you to answers, bring people alongside you to shoulder the burden and give you grace in the very moments when you need it most. You will love and you will love and you will love. And when it is hard, all that love will shore you up and you will carry on through… you will laugh in the middle of the night when your baby just won’t stop crying (you may also scream and/or cry – that’s okay), your world will not end when your toddler pulls all the stuffing out of the couch cushions or douses the the living room with chocolate sauce or punches his brother square in the face in the middle of the grocery store (Jack, those were all you), you will get creative with your consequences when faced with a stubborn, hard-headed child and teen, and someday you will come to cherish every minute spent waiting, transporting and worrying (more in retrospect than in the moment, because in the moment it kind of sucks). Because all of that – and so, so much more – adds up to parenthood.
It is a gift to be a parent, a gift that doesn’t always feel like a blessing. You can go through life without being a parent and I think that your life would be fine because that was the plan God laid out for you – but once you are a parent, that’s it – you are always a parent. No matter how old your child is or what happens to them – you are always a parent. Parenthood is forever. It starts in an instant but it is no tiny thing.
Know this: I may love God and your father more than both of you – as it should be – but you are the only two beings I ever loved from the very instant I knew of you. And you will feel the same way about your own kids… it so makes all the rest of it not really matter, because you would do it all again, in a heartbeat to know your children and love them. But knowing you’d do it all over again doesn’t mean you’ll always enjoy it, just as something being hard doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. You guys are so worth it and your kids are so worth it.
May you go on the journey full of grace and peace and the knowledge that God prepared you for this. And don’t forget the secret weapon that is known as Grandparents Camp – the magical place you can ship your kids off to in order to get a much-needed break from your little cherubs. Your dad and I will welcome them with open arms – we love them nearly as much as we love you both!