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You Can’t Keep Them Forever

What do parents feel when it’s time to send their kids to college or when their kids decide to get their own place and they no longer see them everyday? Moreover, how does it feel to give away your child in marriage?

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I am way far from this scenario but just this weekend my 7-year-old daughter brought a boy to our house, well, just by the gate. And before anything else, the boy is just a playmate that my daughter and her dad met earlier.

I was busy tidying our house so my husband brought the kids to the playground in our village. A little later, I heard my daughter talking to a boy outside our gate, telling him he can come inside the house to wash his hands. Moments after, my son and husband came and invited the boy to play at our house instead.

He was not allowed to enter a stranger’s house so he stayed outside while my daughter sat inside with our gate dividing them as they happily played. It was getting late so I had to send the boy home. He insisted to come back tomorrow and ring our bell so he and our daughter can play again.

I was uneasy. Everything became fast and I started picturing out my daughter’s life in the future. WAIT! WAIT! I’m not ready.

Were you ready the moment your son told you he wanted to marry his girlfriend? Were you ready the moment your daughter wore that ring on her finger and said yes to her boyfriend? Do you know the moment you give him away is the same moment you are giving away your full authority over him?

Then I thought, we were so busy preparing for weddings and married life that most of us might have neglected preparing our parents as well. Once you were your mom and dad’s little baby and now you will be someone else’s. Could this be one reason why in-laws can never get along?

My husband spoke to me when I expressed to him how I felt seeing my daughter slowly swaying far from us. You know, when all of a sudden she can do everything by herself already. When she used to call you after doing business in the bathroom. Now you won’t even know she’s doing it because she can already wash herself up. Or those times when she would cry out and ask for food because she is hungry. Now you won’t hear her ask because she already knows where the food is.

And that moment your husband tells you that it’s best to let your daughter be with people her own age is the moment you realize that you can’t keep them forever. You can’t lock them down because you are too afraid that the world will eat them.

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The other night as we came home from dinner, I was super tired and I just wanted to go straight to bed. But I saw how much energy my kids still have so I forced myself to stay up. However, words just kept escaping my mouth and I uttered, “I am so tired! I am so sleepy!” Then my daughter answered as fast as she can, “Then go upstairs and sleep. That’s okay.” She is really something else. I just keep forgetting that my kids need to be their own selves and not someone who I want them to be.

Indeed, the ultimate test on how well we raised our kids is the day we send them away from our own safe place. And as early as now I want to prepare my heart. I keep telling myself that I don’t want to be that parent who will make her kids choose between her own family and ours–who will burden her kids during the holidays and make their family lives miserable just because I want to cling to them forever. I want to be that parent who will be happy for them for as long as they live their lives according to what the Bible says. I want to be excited for them.

Are they going to be perfect kids? No. They will make mistakes and fail time and time again just like us but I want to be sure that their values are strong and that they can always come back to the core — Jesus.

How can I be sure?

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.

And as for the boy, he went back yesterday as he promised and rang our bell. Played for an hour with our daughter and again told me he’ll come back this afternoon. Fine with me but when I say it’s time to go home, it’s time to go home. HA HA!

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