Confession: I Like My Kids
It goes without having to be said that I love my two children beyond measure, but it’s a pleasant surprise that I actually like them too.
My oldest, Nate the Great, turned 20 last week. On his birthday, I looked at him and said, “This time 20 years ago… I was begging the doctor to make the pain go away!” Nate didn’t find that as amusing as I did, but I was the one who labored for over 30 hours without an epidural, so I can crack as many jokes as I very well please.
Nate is 20… I promise you the only thing I did from the day he was born until now was blink. Just like that, 20 years have passed. His path is leading to medical school. I asked him how many more years will I be stuck with him. He said five at least. Sounds like a lot, but I know from experience that within a blink his schooling with be complete. And honestly, I kinda like having the kid—well, young man—around. When I asked Nate what he wanted for his birthday, he said a family trip. Sounds like he kinda likes us too.
He’s spent his entire summer working 12-hour nightshifts at our local hospital. I haven’t a clue how he does it, but I can see the experience has helped him grow into the status of adult. And not just an adult, but a decent compassionate one at that. Yeah, I’m a proud momma.
Last week, we gave him that family trip to Oak Island. The gift was supposed to be for him but it was for all of us. We spent days at the beach, the pool, kayaking the marshland and Intracoastal Waterway. We blinked and, of course, our vacation was over. On the drive home, I reflected on how much I really like my kids.
So who’s the other kid, you may ask? Oh, that other one is my Lydia Lu. Lu for short. That kid can light an entire city block with her bright, beautiful smile. Bernie and I thought we were being extra smart with placing five years between them. The saying “There’s no sense in waiting to have children when you can afford them, because you never will” is absolutely true, but we figured the age gap could make not affording them a little more manageable.
Lu just turned 15 this summer. Yes, two summer babies. What was I thinking? Anyway, she just got her permit and so everyone has been asking if I was going to make her get a job. She can’t drive on her own yet, which means I would have to drop her off and pick her up for a job and that sounded more like I would also have a job. So, nah. I let Lu be a free kid one more summer. It didn’t hurt her, I assure you. She helps with cooking and cleaning and has been doing her own laundry for years now. She doesn’t even receive an allowance for doing it, so she earns her keep just fine.
Even though we spend a lot of time together each day during the summer, Lu does something that makes me like her even more. Most nights she climbs in my bed while I’m reading and spends about ten to fifteen more minutes with me. It’s usually when she tells me about something on her mind, and I’m perfectly content to pretend to read the same page over and over again while she chatters away. Why? Because I know a blink is coming and she’ll be 20 years old and a junior in college too. Also, I’m flattered that my daughter likes spending time with me.
Those two marvelously, sometimes frustrating, kids inspire me to be a better woman. I’m honored to be their mother and their confidant. They are blossoming into adults I’m absolutely proud of. Both are compassionate and know the importance of putting God first in everything. They respect every person they come in contact with whether the world thinks that individual deserves it or not. No, they are not perfect, but they are perfectly mine with their flaws and all, and I really do LIKE them!
I’m not writing this to tell you something you already know: Making the most of the time you have. The last year or so has taught us that the hard way. But I am writing this to hopefully encourage you genuinely invest in liking your family, not just loving them.
As I’m typing this, Nate just came in from a nightshift in the COVID ward. It weighs heavy on him, watching the number of patients with the virus climb daily. I’m going to wrap this up and go make him some breakfast before he crashes, because I love him immensely and genuinely like spending as much time with him as I can.
“Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 NLT