Friday, June 21, 2013
If you know my family, then you know we are the parents of four children. Each unique in their own way. Sometimes it is the kind of uniqueness that makes me want to pull my hair out. Other times it is the kind of uniqueness that qualifies as take my breathe away and melt my heart kind of stuff. One thing is for sure, in my 24 years of parenting so far if I was keeping a running total, I am pretty sure the pull my hair out count would be astronomical in comparison to those melt my heart moments. Yet, as any parent would tell you, the specifics of crazy moments fade away but details of the good stay in your heart forever.
So today, I want to tell you about just one of my children. Brooke. Because I am realizing more and more that Brooke, possibly more than my other children, symbolizes my evolution as a parent. Why just Brooke? Well, I won't lie, Brooke and I have always had a contentious relationship. She can be, for lack of a better word, complicated. Because of that I think sometimes it is easy to overlook the fact that she is exactly what I have hoped my children would be....I just wasn't seeing it. I wasn't giving her credit where credit was due.
Just a little while ago, Brooke came upstairs after she had been helping her Papa. Turns out she was helping him of all things, trim nose hair and ear hair. Yes, you read that correctly. Most thirteen year old children would run screaming from this sort of thing, but not Brooke. He can't see to do those kinds of personal tasks anymore, so she doesn't hesitate to help him.
This type of helpfulness isn't just reserved for her grandparents. A few days ago we were in Walmart. I was busy thinking about my grocery list and passed a lady in one of the motorized carts. I remember wishing she would get out of the way. I went around her. About that time I hear a familiar voice say, "Can I help you find something?" I turn around and watch as Brooke helps the lady look for crackers. I had to swallow hard to not cry. Most kids would have walked on just like I did. Not Brooke. This happens all of the time and isn't reserved for elderly people. Children, elderly, and all in between. Doesn't matter to Brooke. She has the most compassion for people I have ever seen in one so young.
I said that Brooke was a symbol of my evolution as a parent. Trust me, I know I can't take full credit for her heart. That is who she is...how God made her. Yet as a parent, I have always taught my children that it won't matter how pretty or successful you are in life, what is on the inside is what counts. Don't be afraid to take chances, but understand that means you have to accept your mistakes. Be honest with others, but start by being honest with yourself. If you make a fool out of yourself, laugh and go on...don't let it define you. I am more worried about how they will be as human beings in this world than I am academic or financial success. Truthfully though, there are times I have wondered if I was giving the wrong advice. What if I am wrong and should have pushed them towards more "popular" definitions of success. Maybe I haven't been a good enough parent. Scary thought for me.
I have been spouting my wisdom nuggets for so long, I was pretty sure they were being completely ignored. Turns out, I was the one who wasn't paying close enough attention. They were listening. Brooke especially was listening. For all of her frustrating moments she is precisely what I wanted my children to be. She makes me proud and I just wanted everyone to know it!
****Ashley, Anna, and Ben... you know I love you all more than life. I know what you all are thinking as I go on and on about Brooke. Just so you know, I see these qualities in all of you. You are all what I hope for! The way Ben will give his last dime to a person on the street or the coin collection boxes wherever we go. Anna, your love of all creatures and your trusting soul. Ashley, your gentle spirit and big heart even if you try to be cool and collected all the time!