Letter to My Adult Firstborn
Mother’s Day is past, and of course I appreciated the annual congratulatory phone calls from you and your siblings. It makes me curious if you’re amazed that I survived. Sometimes I wonder how it happened.
I’ve been thinking about how much we have learned from each other—your dad and I and all you children---through the years. And since you led the way as our first, we absorbed the most from stumbling through Child Rearing 101 with you.
The memories look something like this:
Do you remember when you were little and used to say " blanna” instead of banana? And "plano" for piano? We learned children are unique and lovable just as they are. We also learned each child comes with his own developmental schedule.
Remember when the dentist eventually clipped the skin under your tongue so you could talk plainly? We learned as parents that it hurts to watch your kids experience painful things, especially when you can't do anything to help.
YOU learned life can be uncomfortable at times, but hang in there, because it gets better. In your case, you passed the mark and even learned to use public speaking in your career.
Remember when that cute little girl in your first-grade class told you your granola bar looked like bird seed? You wouldn’t eat them after that. We learned kids sometimes take cues from their friends rather than their parents. That was a hard one for us, because up to that point you thought we were smart.
YOU experienced your first lesson in peer pressure. It hurt us more than it did you.
Do you remember your first day of school? I packed a lunch for you big enough to feed a lumber jack. We learned parents sometimes go overboard while trying to prepare their kids for life. Somehow their offspring survive, despite Mom and Dad’s herculean efforts.
Do you recall the time we got your first puppy? Sandy kept us awake the first several nights, howling for her mother. We learned parents sometimes lose sleep to make their children happy. And it happens more often when the children become teens.
YOU (hopefully) learned that having a pet means responsibility and sacrifice.
Do you remember, as a teen, the time you sneaked across the hall to the bathroom in the middle of the night, clad only in underwear--in spite of your mom’s repeated warnings to wear pants outside your room? You stumbled into your sister, who was already there in the dark.
YOU learned that to avoid shock and embarrassment, you should listen to your parents. Or we hope you did.
Remember when you got your first car and wanted to show off your new driving skills to your friends? You backed over a huge container of flowers at church camp and they laughed at you.
We learned that kids who try to appear “cool” in front of their friends, sometimes do stupid things. It helped to recall the dumb things we did at that age.
Remember when, at age sixteen, you thought you could wrestle and overcome Dad? He overcame you instead and dragged you through a puddle to prove he still was top dog at our house.
YOU learned that that just because a person has a grown-up body, it doesn’t mean he’s ready to take on the world.
Well, those are my thoughts this month given to honor mothers. Raising you was a real adventure--and somehow, Dad and I survived. And so did you, despite being the pilot project in Child Rearing 101.
I pray for you every day. It’s because you grew not only under my heart, but in it.
Your turn. Any comments about your experience in Child Rearing 101? Feel free to leave your comments in the boxes below.