By Miriam Rossow
Well, I finally did it! I have put the registration for my oldest daughter to join a swim team in the mail. We will now have something 2-3 times a week, and it could be 5 nights if we wanted! What have I done?
This is a struggle that I think most parents experience at one point or another. How many activities do you have your children participate in, if any? I have long been an advocate for very few activities. When my two oldest, 12 and 10, were little we did The Little Gym or a class at the Y and MOPS. Then, as we hit the school years, I backed off, and we just focused on school and MOPS; I continued to have babies, so I was not so eager to lug everyone around to various groups.
I almost didn’t sign her up. I, like my oldest daughter, was not sure I wanted to try something new. I, like my oldest daughter, was not sure I was ready to change the schedule and add this new routine. I, like my oldest daughter, had a nervous stomach as we drove around the Ypsilanti Community High School looking for the pool. I, like my oldest daughter, was ready to turn home.
But we didn’t. We parked (actually twice), got out of the car (actually twice), and asked for directions (actually 3 times)! And then we found where we were going: the pool for swim placements! Remember, we didn’t do any activities, so I did not want anything too involved. I didn’t want to push us too far! We found the pool; Naomi answered the coach’s questions, swam her lengths to show what she could do, and got out. We had made it past our fear, and the result ended in both of us being more confident in the decision we had made.
This is not just a push for Naomi as I encouraged her to try something new. It is also a let go for me. So much of my parenting for Naomi has been focused on teaching and protecting. As she gets older, I will have to be pushed past my comfort zone more and more to let go of her more and more. I am not in any way suggesting that she is ready to be on her own or that my role is finished (or ever completely will be). God has called us as parents to love and nurture our children. Part of that is learning to love and nurture them from a distance. Learning to trust that He is the ultimate care giver and will always be walking with, loving, and forgiving them as they grow and us as we grow.
When Naomi was very young, infant-2 years, I would tell her all the people that loved her. Mommy and Daddy love you, Grandma and Grandpa, Nana and Grinka (Justin’s parents), Aunts and Uncles, Godparents, and Friends, but, most of all, Jesus loves you. In fact He loves you more than all those people put together.
That is really what it comes down to. My children are a gift from God for me to love and cherish, nurture and teach, protect and push. And ultimately they are His. He has chosen them for his own, and he will care for them and me!
As I get ready for a different kind of fall schedule, I can know that in all of it Naomi and all my children are His and He loves and cares for us as we step out of our comfort zones and even as we push each other a bit.
Now to step out again and allow another one to grow in gymnastics! Lord be with me as we head into these new years of parenting!