21 November 2013

The Truth About Growing Up

Years ago I heard my Pastor say something that resonated with me to my core, and I've never forgotten it.
He said, "We think, as parents, that we are there to help our children grow up. But the Truth is, they are there to help us grow up."

Yesterday, while biking along the waterfront with my hubby for my birthday, I had a revelation of this truth in a whole new way.

I often find being a parent overwhelmingly hard, just because of my own personal struggles. And when you have a child who doesn't quite fit the box, who provides extra challenges with learning and behaviour on a regular basis, it can be very easy to start up a pity-party and whinge to the Heavens, "Why me?"

As I contemplate the challenges we will face getting this beloved-but-rather-tricky child through the minefield of adolescence, at times I've wondered what on earth God was thinking. I have quite often worried that I am not up to the task.

Kind people, well-meaning friends encourage me that "You are just the right person to be his mother..." but I sometimes struggle to see it. After all, I have my own issues. I battle anxiety, I struggle to be consistent and sometimes my temper and my emotions can run away with me as the daily grind overwhelms me. As much as my child might struggle with emotional regulation and impulse control, sometimes I'm not the best example.

I was thinking about all this and pouring out my thoughts to Mr G as we were biking along the waterfront on my birthday morning, when I found myself saying something surprising; words like a revelation from Heaven...

"This child is going to force us to face the things about ourselves that we need to change; he's like the sandpaper we need to round off our rough edges..."

And there it was. I saw it.
No more "Why me, God? Dontcha know I've got enough struggles in myself (with patience, persistence, self control) - why would you give a weak person like me a child with extra struggles...?"

I need this child as much as he needs me.
Because the very things I struggle with are being challenged by my need to parent this child well.
Because I might not be willing to face the challenge of inner change for my own sake - but I will do it for the sake of my child.
Because he needs me; he needs his mother to be an example of triumphing over struggles.
He needs to see my example, so he knows it can be done.
I need to forge this path in front of him, so he can follow in my footsteps.

This child in all his uniqueness is the perfect child for me.
And I, in all my weakness, am the perfect mother for him.

I'm not just here to help my child grow up.
My child is challenging me to grow up too.

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