Thursday, April 18, 2024
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In the (joyful) trenches of family-raising

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With so much gravity in the news and while waiting for information to come out of the bishops’ synod on the family I found myself reflecting on the things that have surprised me about having children.

I’m sharing them because I’m sure many readers will relate, and a bit of fun is so good for the soul.

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

St Philip Neri, the so-called humorous saint, apparently said that “a heart filled with joy is more easily made perfect than one that is sad”.

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So, in the interests of becoming more perfect, these are some aspects of our parenting that, while not always a laugh at the time, are quite good to recall.

• The way junk food items pop up (with bad spelling) on our shopping lists, and, later, completely random objects appear in the shopping trolley.

• That I would learn to mend clothes, and drive a seven-seater car.

• How knowledgeable I would become about ticks and head lice and how to remove them.

• How many love letters and notes and drawings we would get.

• That a large portion of the winter months would basically be a time of virus-enforced house arrest for us and virtually every other family we know with young children.

• How much I would refer to my children in the confessional.

• How quickly we bond with other parents who are in the trenches of family-raising.

• The huge thrill I would get from a four-loads-of-washing day in the height of summer.

• How close God would feel in our (mercifully few) most stressful parenting moments; a difficult moment during a birth, a toddler’s seizures, another child falling off a moving tractor.

• Just how many sausages we would cook, how many pairs of socks we would wash, how many car trips we would make in a regular week.

• That our children would enjoy leading us in praying the rosary.

• How four-year-olds can literally talk non-stop all day.

• That at least for the first few weeks of new motherhood I would love the sound of my newborn babies’ cries, even during the night.

• How despairing I could feel during the wakeful nights for about a year after that.

• How much I would love hearing the children reading stories to each other of their own volition.

• The alarming amount of junk food and soft drink a child can consume at a party if not properly supervised.

• The fact that you cannot trust grandparents to limit the children’s consumption at such parties.

• The intense level of supervision a toddler needs.

• How many of the things I used to want to do, or was attached to doing, quickly became irrelevant, such as eating at trendy restaurants.

• How absolutely crazy our children would make me, and how proud, and how quickly they would grow.

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