Parenting, Juggling and Joy

We recently spent a happy weekend with old friends.

It was as we watched breakfast chaos unfold, accompanied by the growing giggles of three little people, that we reminded each other of the privilege of parenting. A necessary reminder after the previous afternoon of non-napping, often melting, toddlers.

What a precious thing to love, nurture and watch our children as they grow into fully fledged walking, talking, thinking people. With no child over the age of three in the house, we’re all still at that ‘slightly amazed that they’re no longer helpless babies’ stage of it all.

From needing a parent to do everything, my three year old is now determined to ‘do it myself’ and his copycat younger brother is attempting to do the same. As you might expect for an eighteen month attempting to put his shoes on or ride a scooter, there are high levels of frustration.

Time is flying.

And yet we’re in this hiatus of endless waiting. The visa decision is more imminent than it was, but we don’t know how many weeks or days until we find out. And it’s hard. The closer it gets, the more highly strung we feel and that emotional rollercoaster returns to fling us from one extreme to another.

But in the midst of the juggle of emotions, expectations and the rapid fire demands of book business life, the privilege of parenting continues. Admittedly, when resilience levels are low and emotional exhaustion is high, privilege isn’t the first word that comes to mind. But on reflection, it is these two brilliant little boys with all their simple joy, enduring energy and need for normality that shifts the ‘waiting’ into doing, and enjoying.

Enjoying Billy’s transparent grin before he embarks on the thing he isn’t allowed to do. Enjoying Rufus’ endless ‘rescue’ scenarios that need Fireman Sam right now. Enjoying Billy’s wide legged faltering walk as he tries to catch up with his fast-growing older brother. Enjoying Rufus beginning to get what a joke is, and trying to make us laugh as he says something and then asks ‘is that funny Daddy?’. Enjoying the way they pick up on what we say, what we do and what we teach them. Enjoying the privilege of relationship with two little people who, at this moment, love to show us and tell us everything. Enjoying the gift from God of children.

If I let ‘waiting’ dominate my thinking, I can begin to feel a little too lightly tethered to our current context. Sometimes I think it would be easier to cut and run, hide away until we have some certainty and can plug into a place where we know we will be for the longer term.

But then it’s not just me. It’s not even just us. It’s these two and the daily reality that we need to be stuck in, digging down deep and so creating a normality. A normality of people we know, and who know us; of regular routines; of pre-school involvement; of a habitual church; of remembered and anticipated outings; of doing the ‘here and now’ as well as we possibly can.

Thankfully, little joys pepper this normality as we plough on. Tethered often through our children. Precious parenting that pushes us beyond the ‘waiting’. Rather than gritting our teeth and getting on with it, we thank God that there is much to enjoy, much to giggle at, much to take delight in. Even more than that, that He’s using all of this ‘here and now’ for our good and His glory.

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