Thursday, January 14, 2016

Glass Shattered Under Foot

Do you think Cinderella ever thought about her glass slippers breaking? Oh, having a perfect night up until midnight when all would shatter to pieces. I mean one day you're walking in your Cinderella slippers and all of a sudden you're no longer walking with ease, but they have shattered and now it is cutting glass under your feet. 

We all envision a family that has Sunday dinners together, right? I had shared with my son that it would be awesome if we could all enjoy a Sunday dinner together once at month. His reply was, "Mom, we aren't the Reagan family on Blue Bloods". 

Yep, I always thought our home would be filled with our kids and grandchildren on the weekends. Maybe cooking and baking together. Spending afternoons just sharing all that's going on in our lives and well, sharing dreams together. Laughing and remembering the times when all seemed perfect right about before midnight. 

Somewhere along the way our children grow up. They leave the nest and have families of their own. But that quiet home is never really what you imagined. You just assume your home will always be filled with kids stopping by just to visit for an afternoon. My husband and I enjoy our time spent together now more than ever. But having our family together would just make everything right.

Family makes us feel secure. We can call upon one another for support and encouragement. We should cheer one another on and desire to know more about each other. 

It's hard at times, isn't it? I mean having adult children. Sometimes our dreams of having a close family isn't quite what we expected. I dream of having conversations about Jesus and talking about faith. The happenings around the world and what their thoughts are on things. There's so much we can teach our children, but so very much we too can learn from them. But today everyone is busy. I remember those days of helping to raise five children at home and homeschooling three of them. But where does our time go? Sometimes I think it's wasted on things that we later in life realize doesn't matter much at all. At some point I think we look back with regret and wish we had shared more time together, don't you?

As a parent you don't want to invade on your children's lives. You don't want to feel as if you have to know all that's happening and know every detail. But it would be such a blessing to have our children want to share their lives with us. If they have a bad day, let us know to pray for a specific area. If they have had a blessing, share so that we too can be joyous with them. 

It's not easy to give advice to our children. I've learned to wait for the invitation to share my opinion. Raising children is hard enough, but asking your parents advice can at times ease what we are going through. I think today young people would rather ask their friends instead of going to mom and dad. 

What's expected of being a grandparent? I always knew the kind of grandparent I would be. The kind I didn't have. We would spend time sharing stories, baking, exploring, giggle, and leave behind a legacy that they would cherish and pass down to their own children one day. I want to be that Nanny that they can come to with anything. 

I didn't have grandparents. Oh, they were there, but they weren't a part of my life. Do we really miss what we never had? I do because I know what could have been. 

Being a grandparent doesn't mean you're {just} a babysitter. But to babysit is a wonderful gift, right? A grandparents greatest joy is spending time with their grands. Oh, to be there when you can is wonderful, but to be taken advantage of is something that wounds the heart. I don't want to just be a babysitter. I want my grandchildren to know that Nanny and Papa love having them near. 

It would be a great reward to the heart if families could talk about things instead of just hiding our true feelings and pretending all is fine.  We shouldn't have to pretend anything. Families should be able to talk, even argue, but walk away knowing that bond of love is stronger than any disagreement. So much time is spent on being angry about things that mean nothing at all in the grand scheme of things. I don't want that kind of relationship with my children. Goodness, every parent gets aggravated with their children just as every adult child gets angry at their parents over something or another, but is it really worth it? What happened to loving each other unconditionally? Taking time to give one another a call just to check up on each other? 

Sometimes it doesn't matter what a parent does, it just isn't ever the right thing that the child wants. Well, to that I say, don't expect from another what you yourself aren't willing to give. Somehow we say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, and most of all we say no to something they ask of us. Ouch! Does a parent get to say no? Yes, we do! We shouldn't have to explain ourselves. Sometimes we have plans, sometimes we are just exhausted from the week, sometimes we just want to do something we have been waiting to do for twenty-six years. 

My husband and I have been married for almost twenty-six years now. I praise Jesus daily for my husband and the relationship we have together. It is so wonderful having someone by your side no matter what. They are there to go the journey with you and they know you better than anyone else in the world. Most of all they accept you with warts and all. They see the beauty and they know your faults, but choose to love you. And that's it, isn't it? It all comes down to choice. 

Losing my dad when I was nineteen taught me a valuable lesson about time. At nineteen I was doing my own thing and just when I was at that age to really want to know my dad he was gone from this earth. Oh, how I wish we had shared more and how I wish I truly knew his heart. We shared a mighty bond together, but going deeper would have been a treasure to keep. 

As my mom gets older and as her health and memory deteriorate I realize more and more how much she needs me and how much I need her. I can't imagine the day when I can't pick up the phone and call her. Now, she can irritate the fire out of me. As she ages she has no filter on her mouth and has the attitude that she can say and do whatever she wishes. Maybe she's earned that privilege. I don't know, but what I do know is that I can accept my mom the way she is because she loves me. 

There's so much about me that my children don't know. Oh, the stories my husband and I could share with them about our journey together. The ups and downs. The joys and struggles. How walking in faith has grown us closer together. I think my husband and I would just love to spend more time with our kids. 

Some parents get calls every Sunday from their kids. Some parents don't get calls at all. Birthdays should be celebrated with joy. We have yet to share Thanksgiving Day with our children. I understand that our children have many places to do and so much to do. That's all great, but my husband and I would just sometimes enjoy not coming in last. At least feeling like we do. 

My mom never baked cookies with me. I wasn't allowed in the kitchen. We didn't share that kind of relationship, but I knew my mom was always there and always on my side. She would certainly tell me if I had done wrong and I have always accepted her advice willingly. A parent shouldn't have to be afraid to share advice, but so many of us are, aren't we? 

Relationships take work. No matter what kind of relationship it is. They simply take work and you must make an effort. Egg shells and glass shouldn't be a part of our relationship. We should be able to be honest and you know what? Just not get so mad about everything and say nothing. That kills a relationship faster than anything. We have to have communication.

Today in our world the family is under attack. Satan is heading that attack. He wants the family destroyed. It can happen ever so slowly as the heart feels wounded and nothing is said, and then the day comes when all explodes and then what's there do? We need to be praying for our children and grandchildren. Pray for our families to come together and grow stronger. To be that strong unbreakable bond of love. 

I think for parents, after raising our children, we simply want to have the respect we deserve. They want to be appreciated, needed, and wanted. Goodness, our children have no idea all that we have done for them over the years. When my kids were at home, after they were older, they began sleeping with their door shut. So I no longer walked in and laid my hand on their back and prayed over them. I would stand at their door and place my hand upon the door and pray over them. I hope one day they can know the prayers that have been spoken on their behalf and truly know the love that their parents have for them. 

I was forty years old when I wrote my mom a letter. I was forty when it completely hit me all that my mom had done for me. In raising my own children I came to understand just a little bit more about my mom and my respect grew even more for her. In all my years of being her daughter I can share that I have never disrespected my mom. So, in this letter I shared every single thing I could and apologized for all the wrongs in my teenage years and just stuff I could have done better. I thanked her for all she had done for me and for all that she had done that I had no idea about. Love doesn't count every wrong. It doesn't keep score. Love forgives and it accepts. Love gives room for us to make mistakes and even more so love gives us room to be ourselves. 

We think it's hard when our children are small, but goodness when they become adults it seems life takes on different challenges that parents didn't quite expect. 

There are parents that live miles apart from their children and see them maybe once a year. Sometimes it is years between visits. Sometimes parents live thirty minutes from their children and don't see them as much as they would enjoy. I think parents just want to be a part of their children's lives, but they just aren't sure how to do it. I mean I don't want to be that parent that calls constantly and my kids look at their phone and roll their eyes. Ugh...it's my mom again. Finding that balance is difficult. Finding that adult relationship isn't as easy as it should be. 

I don't want to wear glass slippers. I surly don't want to walk on egg shells. That just isn't how parents and children should be. So, what about you? How is your relationship with your children? Is it everything you dreamed or has midnight struck and you're totally lost in the shattered glass beneath your feet? 

I don't expect perfection. Goodness, I am a work in progress just like you. There is no family that is perfect. We love beyond our imperfections. In fact, we embrace them and learn from our differences. I made mistakes daily just as I know my children do. But shouldn't we as parents and children have grace? Children can expect so much from their parents, but be willing to give so little. The same can be said for parents expecting much. If we aren't careful we can expect so much and then feel wounded when all our dreams have yet to come true. 

Don't wait for too much time to pass. Time isn't something to take for granted. We don't want to look back with regret. Pick up the phone, send a text, mail a card. Recognize birthdays and celebrate the life you have shared together. We should treasure our time and make the effort to spend time together.

As a parent you want to lift your children in prayer. You want to encourage them and hopefully inspire them. At my night table I have photos of my children and grandchildren. I pray for them throughout the day, but especially at night when all is quiet and my heart is stirred as a momma who only wants the best for her family and prays for the Lord to place a hedge of protection around them. To watch our children soar is a blessing. 

There's no room for pride and arrogance. Our words should be filled with grace and love. Never allowing the sun to go down when anger has us stirred. Oh, be careful of the words we say in anger and misunderstandings. We can't take those back. But what we can do is choose to forgive. No relationship is perfect, but we can always strive to make them better. 

So, we simply enjoy the time we do get to see our children. A parent is only as happy as their happiest child. And a parent always misses the one they see the least the most. Our children mean the world to us. As they were growing we gave our all. We did the best we could. Being a parent is a treasure. We try our best today. Wanting more, but finding contentment in how things really are. It's okay to dream a Cinderella kind of dream, right? One that doesn't contain any shattered glass beneath the feet. But one that is filled with joy in the heart. 




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