I have been overwhelmed by the responsibility of raising Ethan and Aubrey lately. Not because I haven't had enough help, but because the reality of my wife not being here has sunk in more I think. Lyndsie was the one who was naturally gifted with parent skills. She was organized, planned ahead, knew where everything was, remembered appointments, knew what size clothes the kids wore, kept the house running smoothly and didn’t gag at all the gross stuff kids do. I had none of those skills. I was just good at loving my family and bringing home coffee!
Because I know how things used to be, I have found myself feeling unqualified in so many ways as a parent in this new normal. All of those things that Lyndsie did so well are a struggle for me. And if it wasn’t for my incredible family stepping up, it would be very obvious to everyone that I don’t have it all figured out.
My saving grace though has been the realization that my kids don’t see many of those things as useful parent skills, at least not at the ages of 5 and 6. The things they remember about their momma and still talk about to this day have very little to do with the way she skillfully managed our home. Instead, they remember how their momma took them on special days out and had dance parties in the car. They remember how she would sing songs with them as she brushed their hair and how she would get just as excited about their new PJ’s as they would. They remember how she always liked to take pictures with them and go on family walks in the evening.
And they remember what her laugh sounded like and the exact place on their face where she would kiss them.
All of that gives me hope. Not because I’m looking for an excuse to be a carefree parent. I want to be the best Dad in the world! But it gives me hope because I know that this season of parenting is about pouring into my children and convincing them beyond all doubt that THEY HAVE ALL I AM. That means they get to see all of my strengths, my flaws, my hurt, my healing, my determination, my weariness, my purpose, and my love.
They are not waiting on me to become who I want to be as a parent - all they know is they need me right now.
My kids are on this journey with me and they will continue to experience grief in its many forms right alongside me. I'll have good and bad days and so will they. But through it all, I find so much relief in knowing that who I am (not who I want to be) is what they really need to walk through this season.
So to my parent friends out there who are exhausted from trying to meet your own expectations and everyone else's to do more and be more for your kids, I pray that you find that same relief in knowing that ALL THEY NEED IS ALL YOU ARE.