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What?! Thank you for runny noses, staying up all night, cereal dumped on the floor, clothes strewn everywhere, muddy feet, muddy floors, dogs and cats and garter snakes?
Yes, even with sleepless nights, worried nights, “No’s”, stomping feet and even, “I hate you’s,” there is nothing like my kids.
Through thick and thin, I love them. They are God’s special blessings to me. And especially now that I am older, I appreciate them even more and the wonderful memories of raising them to be strong adults.
I loved the finger paintings and stick figure drawings I displayed on the refrigerator door, prompting a smile each time the door was opened and closed.
The wiggly garter snake thrust at me with great excitement exclaiming, “Look what I found, Mom. Can I keep him?” as I struggled not to show my unreasonable fear of snakes and somehow not stifle the excitement of discovery by keeping the intruder outside.
One of my most treasured pieces of jewelry is a necklace fashioned by my daughter in 5th grade. I still wear it.
And one of my fondest memories is when she planned a surprise birthday party for me when she was in high school and with the help of Dad arranged everything – even cooking the meal.
She continues to create wonderful scenarios of life through photography and her painting while efficiently and competently running her home and professional life. Thank you, daughter – you are a treasure.
As a kid, my oldest son loved to create new, complicated board games. With Dungeons and Dragons as inspiration, he wrote and self-published game magazines. He still has a love for creating new games.
Life wasn’t always easy for him. His own struggles have given him a sensitivity and understanding of others which were reflected in the classroom when he was a teacher. He motivated and inspired his students to be the best they could be.
My youngest is no longer with us. But the joy he brought to everyone in the family cannot be put into words and continues to bring a smile to our faces as we remember his humor and mischievousness, his tenacity and outlook on life.
In spite of a physical handicap, there was little he couldn’t do. He started drawing as soon as he could hold a pencil and his incredible art covers the walls of my home. Your creative ability amazed everyone, son. What a blessing you were to all of us.
Often we are quick to remember only the not-so-pleasant memories of time-outs, rules and consequences, misunderstandings, and those infamous teen years. Long colicky nights as babies, sibling rivalry, sneaking out, and less-than-desirable friends.
Yet it was precisely in those times where I learned patience, understanding and appreciation. And then I remember spaghetti-covered faces, childhood theater productions for the neighborhood and rotten eggs in mailboxes at Halloween. And I chuckle.
As a parent, I struggled with the enormity of raising such wonderful but diverse children.
There were many unknowns that I had no preparation for. But with every step along the way, I gave all my love, my hope, my sincerity and prayers as I shared my love of God and the principles and values needed to live a mature and responsible adult life.
I hope my children will forgive my mistakes, struggles and bungling. I hope I have given them the tools needed to meet their life challenges and that the best of it can be passed on through the generations of children and grandchildren.
Kids – they may be a challenge – but oh, what a blessing.