There are parts of being parent that I just do not like. I absolutely hated being sleep deprived for years and years of middle of the night feedings. Or the nights I spent cleaning up after sick kids, changing bedding and pajamas only to turn around and do it all again a couple of hours later. Laundry. Mountains and mountains of endless laundry. Just when you think you are done with the laundry, someone changes their clothes. Parent teacher conferences are not high on my list of enjoyable things to do either, but they are higher on the list than the endless elementary school plays and programs.
By the time my kids get to jr. high, the programs and plays are actually enjoyable and parent teacher conferences are not so bad either. But then I hate having to say "no" and then trying to give them a reason they understand other than "because I am the mom and I said so". My boys really hate it when I say this, "Because I am the mom and I make the rules. When you are the mom, you can make the rules." Ha, I like to pull that one, because they never will be the mom!
I really hate teaching my kids to drive. I let one of them drive me somewhere the other day and I know I didn't teach them to drive like that. I had to go buy a box of hair dye afterwards. But more than teaching them to drive, I hate waiting up for them. They are always on time and very good about coming in and letting me know when they are home. I just really hate that they are out there in the world and so much can go wrong. And as much as I would like to think that my kids would never..., I know reality is not always what a parent thinks it is.
Reality is sometimes the bad part of being a parent. The hardest part is not taking it personally, not feeling like a failure as a parent when your child makes wrong choices. Your wear out your scriptures and your knees. You go through a lot of Kleenex. And you grieve all of the unmet hopes and dreams you had for them the day they were born. But most of all, you love them. I have even been known to say, "I wish it was recorded in the scriptures how long Alma had to pray for his son before he returned to the Lord."
But then, something happens in that child's life, and a heart is softened and is turned back to the Lord. Then, then the transformation is amazing to behold. Watching it unfold is a gift from on high and it is easy to not take it personally, but instead give the thanks and the glory to Him that deserves it.
Then you get the good part of being a parent- watching your child make the right choices. Watching him do the things that he should be doing. Watching him take care of his own family. Watching him honor the priesthood and set a good example for his brothers and sisters. Knowing that when his brother is hurt at training, he can give a blessing. Knowing that when the two of them are deployed in a couple of months, they will be going as Stripling soldiers in the strength of God. Being there when your son is sealed to his wife and then as their child is sealed to them and they start down the road to become an eternal family, That is the good part of parenting and it makes all the bad parts worth it.
Jessica, Matt, Me, Donovan Kristina and Hunter, dad, Ethan, Trevor (the other stripling soldier)
Brandi and Jacob
Kristina's family on the left Donovan's on the right and in front
Sitting on the temple stairs.
Hunter was so good the whole time. When they brought him into the sealing room you could tell he had been crying, but he was so calm. Kristina was afraid he would be upset the whole time, but I told her that the Lord would send someone to be with him on this special day and that Hunter would be able to feel the spirit. Probably even more than we did.
We missed those of you that could not be with us, but know that you were there in spirit and would have come if it had been possible.