As parents, we sometimes talk about the sacrifices we make for our children. Sometimes, we might even complain about having to make those sacrifices. You know, how we can no longer go shopping for clothes, because heading to a mall with littles is asking for trouble? Or how holidays are no longer leisurely trips, and how your luggages are packed and overflowing with kid-related paraphernalia, and half-filled with diapers?
We could look at what we are missing. Spontaneous date nights with the husband. Dining in restaurants and being able to eat with both hands, and not having to scarf everything down in 15 minutes. Being able to spend more freely because we don't have extra mouths to feed. Having real leisure time to indulge in our hobbies. Having a good night's rest, not having to wake to feed a baby, calm a nightmare, or change wet sheets. Not needing to juggle so many things at one go. Being able to take up sponsorships for events and trips, and not having to worry about babysitters, meals, naps and tantrums (like in the case for the recent awards, both me and another mum had to turn down the prize of a sponsored trip overseas, because both of us were nursing and were not allowed to bring an extra individual along).
Oh, through the eyes of the world, we may be missing a lot. But we have gained so much, haven't we, parents? We have gained joy. The joy of seeing childlike faith and wonder in the eyes of our child. The joy of hearing gurgles and feeling baby soft skin. The joy at seeing milestones reached, even when sometimes that journey may take longer than usual. The joy of having family, of shared meals and shared sorrows and shared happiness.
We have gained wisdom. Wisdom to nurture a person who is totally dependent on us. We have earned patience, from dealing with tantrums, from needing to repeat something over and over. We have learnt to be vulnerable, because having a child is like having your heart walk outside your body. We have learnt to lean on God for this mammoth task of shaping a soul, because such a responsibility is huge and too big for our own hands to handle. We now understand better how God's love is for us, because we now know how vast and deep a love a parent has for his own children.
What we have gained though is hardly tangible. How do you measure joy? How can you weigh love? But it is there, and it is totally worth it.
So my dear dear boys: No matter what Mama may sometimes say in anger, no matter what others may say about children being burdens... remember this: you are loved, and you are our gifts. We'd choose you over a free holiday, a new car, or a promotion at work. We thank God for each of you, and you must never forget that.
Lest I am misunderstood, this was written as a reminder for myself, as I catch myself complaining and thinking about life if we didn't have kids. I am not saying that we must have kids to have a better life, but that for those with kids, we must remember that we have been given a gift, and not a burden. Have a blessed week ahead!