Tag: life is brief and tender

Dogs or Kids, Life is a Challenge!

I have a friend who has a tiny poodle named Isadore. When I last visited her, she complained that he is spoiled rotten. He wants to be held all the time. She said Isadore drips water from his chin when he drinks and so the floor is always a mess. She sighed in exasperation.

I have another friend who had two small, fluffy, white dogs. One is over ten and one is just a year old. The one-year-old constantly badgered the older dog who wanted nothing to do with romping and wrestling. My friend felt that she needed to provide a playmate for the one-year-old. She bought a third small, white, fluffy dog. This one is a puppy just a few weeks old.

I was at her home last week and she said, “Two was OK. But now I need a third hand. I just can’t keep up with them all.” Later she was telling me that the one-year-old was very jealous of the new puppy. She related how weary she gets by the end of the day making sure the puppy is safe while the one-year-old dog gets accustomed to the new family member. And housebreaking the puppy, we aren’t even going to talk about that stress! She complained that now that there are three dogs there is a lot more mess, toys, noise, and chaos.

Doesn’t that sound like your life?

Recently my daughter had a baby. When Clark was just weeks old her daughter, who is seven, came and sat on her lap. “Mom, I’m feeling sad. I liked being the youngest.”

Matilda had slept on a small bed in her parents’ room since she was born. Now she’s in a regular bed, in a room with her sister. Clark is in a crib in the parents’ bedroom. I watched as her parents tried to deal with the situation. They were finding it a bit of a challenge. To help with the transition my son-in-law slept on the floor by her bed for a week!

You see, it doesn’t matter if we have a family of dogs or children. Filling needs which constantly change is a challenge. Getting everything done is a challenge. Managing the needs of everyone we’re responsible for is a challenge. Life is a challenge.

But take it from me, having people or animals you love in your life is worth the work. So, smile. Laugh. Find moments of joy. Despite the challenges, savor it. Life with your family is brief and tender.

Know someone who is struggling?

Please share.

Remember, Life is Brief and Tender

“You will miss struggling in church.” WHAT!

A few Sundays ago, in church, a mother was talking to the congregation. She mentioned that at times, in the past, it had been hard to focus on the speaker. This was because kids and church can be a fussy business. As they learn to manage their bodies and acquire the ability to be reverent it can be a struggle. She had lived that struggle.

As she looked out at the congregation her next words caused me some reflection. “You will miss struggling in church.” Is that true? Do we want to be engaged in a struggle with our kids whether at church, in the grocery store or at bedtime? I don’t think so.

So, what was this mother really expressing? I think it was the nostalgia adults feel when children grow up and leave home. We all know it’s going to happen but while we’re in the trenches all we can see is the struggle. It’s one of those, “You can’t know till you get there” things.

It’s that ‘Family Feeling!’

What is it that causes this nostalgia? What is it that’s missed? I’ve not only thought about this, but I’ve lived it. We miss that ‘family feeling’. When our kids leave home, they’re still our kids. They come home for visits and eventually they bring their kids home with them. We have a family. But that’s not what I’m talking about and it isn’t what that mom in church talked about.

You will miss the energy of children. You will miss the hugs and kisses. You will miss the chaos and the quiet moments. You will miss the snuggles. You will miss your little children. You may not miss the laundry, dirty dishes, or cooking. But you will miss the activities that caused the dirty laundry. You will miss sitting down to eat with your children even if they spill the milk. You will miss having small faces to look at as they complain about what you have cooked.

I know, I know. You’re a busy mom or dad. You’re overwhelmed a lot of the time. Hearing this can rankle. I felt the same when I was in the thick of it. It irritated me when an older parent at church looked me in the eye as I was struggling with a crying four-year-old and said, “The time will come when you will miss this.”
But I have gotten there. I get it.

Why am I sharing this with you? I hope that my words will lodge in your mind and that they will come to you when you’re irritated, angry, frustrated, over the top. I hope they help you be a bit kinder, gentler, more forgiving, more joyous even in the mess. I hope they encourage you to smile more and hug more.

“Before I die I want to . . . ”

In a recent TED talk by Candy Chang, she shared a moving experience. Chang asked the question “Before I die I want to . . . ” She asked the question by turning the side of an abandoned building into a huge chalkboard for people to write their responses on. In one day, the whole side of the building was filled with chalked in answers and it grew from there. Some of the responses were humorous and fun but most were poignant, and many were related to the need we all have to matter and to connect with those around us. At the end of her talk, she expressed, “Two of the most valuable things we have in life are our time and our relationships with other people. In our age of increasing distractions, it’s more important than ever to find ways to maintain perspective and remember life is brief and tender”.

Don’t let the challenges of parenting make you lose sight of the beauty of it. Don’t let busyness take away your desire to hear and see. Don’t let childish learning and error harden your heart.

When you’re older, thinking back on those earlier days when your children lived in your home will cause you very tender feelings. You’re going to want to be able to call to mind moments when you held your child one more time for a little longer; when you were patient; when you allowed them to be themselves and grow; when despite the chaos or mess, you smiled and meant it.

I love this verse of scripture. Matthew 13:16: “But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.” This verse of scripture is about seeing and hearing things that cannot be seen with our temporal eyes or heard with our temporal ears. If we remember that despite the challenges, life with our children is brief and tender, we will be blessed to see and hear in an extraordinary way. We will send the message to those we love most: I see you. I hear you. You matter to me.

Love it! Share it.