Parenthood · 2 December 2017

It seems like parenthood ought to get easier as time goes by, but as I have experienced it so far, it just seems to get more difficult.

I always thought that our worries would be over when the kids leave the nest. Now that the first one is gone and the middle one is on his way out, I cannot imagine how I was so naïve. The older they get, the more stress they seem to cause us. Or maybe that is just me.

Part of the problem with older children is that they are not children anymore. They do not get to hear us, their parents, nag everyday about what they ought to do. They can ignore us when they are adults. Much more than when they were kids living with us. And all we can do is hope and pray that the voices in their heads are still ours. If they ever were in the first place.

The other part of the problem is that I tend to second guess myself. I wonder if I spent enough time with my kids. I wonder if we had enough quality experiences for them to remember fondly. I wonder if I gave my best at work and brought the leftovers home to give my family. I wonder if I was too afraid of the water to take them fishing. And I wonder about whether there is anything I can do to fix those things I did wrong. Or enhance the things I did right.

I wonder…

And I worry. I worry that they are doing the right things. I worry that they are eating well and getting enough exercise. I worry that they are getting to work everyday or getting to class everyday or doing their homework everyday. I worry that they are reading the right books or hanging out with the right people. And I worry about these things whether they are at home or away.

I do try to give these things to God. To leave them in His more than capable hands. But I still worry that I did not do enough, and that I am still not doing enough for and with my kids.

One of the things I know to be true is that I cannot worry about the past. The past has passed and there is nothing I can do to change it. I can just live in the now and maybe mitigate any damage I did in the past, but I must live in the present. I cannot worry about the future either because I cannot see it. I can just do the best I can. Like Keith Green sang, “Keep doing your best and pray that it’s blessed and let Jesus take care of the rest.” Great words of wisdom, but seemingly more difficult to live out the older the kids (and I) get.

I always thought that the kids growing up would mean they would want to be around more. That they would want to be with us because we were family. Just to sit around and visit. I always thought that parenthood would be easier when they were older. But I guess I was wrong. I think I need to pray more because the older my kids get, the more difficult parenthood becomes.

© 2017 Michael T. Miyoshi

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