Every once in awhile I am hit with one of those moments. One of those moments when I see the concrete results of what Joe and I are trying to do with our kids.
And every once in awhile, when those moments hit, my emotions run amok. Happy my child is resilient. Sad I can't do more. Pleased our parenting seems to be paying off. Frustrated that life is sometimes so hard.
All of these and more. But pride. Yes, pride, good or bad, pride is a big emotion right now.
Raising our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord is, of course, our primary responsibility. And this particular moment hasn't to do with that part of our parenting.
Besides that eternal undertaking, in the regular day to day things, we try to raise strong and independent, resourceful kids. Kids who can stand on their own two feet come what may. Kids who will know how to survive even if something devastates our American way of life.
Simply having a big family and living on one income goes a long way in helping with that. We can't live according to mainstream society's standards. We can't provide our kids everything they want. We can't have everything we want. But we can show with our creativity and life choices how to live "outside the box." How to have a rich life in spite of doing it differently than many of our neighbors and friends.
It also means that as our kids get older, and they begin to fend for themselves, sometimes we have to let them work their way through hard times. Flounder. Come up with their own unique best way to solve the problem. Each of the four oldest has gone through such times. And each one has handled such things differently. Feelings of stress, deprivation, jealousy, even bitterness, sometimes accompany such challenges. This is adult life, right? It's a hard world.
But as every parent can attest, sometimes I just really wish I could fix everything for my kids. Many times, because of our life choices and the blessing of a large family, we simply CAN'T step in and help out. Except by simply, "being there," for them. In the long run, I hope that makes our children stronger as adults.
It is still hard, though, to watch them going through difficult times.
This little facebook interchange between Elsie and I led to one of those moments I mentioned at the beginning of the post. The kind of moment that just hits me.
Earlier in my conversation with Elsie, I'd asked her if she needed help hauling stuff home after her school year was done. She said she couldn't make any concrete plans until she got a car. I had not heard anything about car trouble. And so I asked.
Wow! It hits me right in the back of the throat. I am astounded. Astounded, humbled. This young lady hadn't even let me know she was having troubles. She is a 17 year old, living pretty much on her own, working 15-30 hours a week, while taking college classes. She is also in track.
And apparently, she's been doing this all without the use of a car. And without parental support.
(Joe said he thinks she had been talking to her Grandpa about it. Grandpa's smarter than we are in such matters anyway.)
Elsie, I'm pretty sure that not every moment in the last week or so has felt as nonchalant as your reply sounded. But I have got to say, you're quite a gal!
Love you tons.