Being Intentional with our Time as Parents: 1/36

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I can’t believe J is 6 months old today. Time flies! In many ways it feels like just yesterday that we had him, yet in some ways it seems an eon ago. He has changed so much in 6 months. He’s lost his newborn features, so much so that I already look at pictures and realize I “forget” what he looked like.
Mike and I spent some time reflecting on all the changes we’ve seen in the last 6 months.

Remember those puckered lips and clenched hands? The elephant wrinkles? The turned up nose and folded, floppy ear?

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Aren’t we glad he nurses so well now and our nights of pillows, propping, and strategic positioning are over?

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Can you believe he’s already so efficient at moving backwards? Are we really ready for him to be crawling? He’s close – up on all 4s and rocking.

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Remember when he’d just scream in the car? I’m so thankful he grew out of that (for the most part!)

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Then after awhile of enjoyable reminiscing, in a way only husbands can do, Mike ruined the moment with one sentence: “Hunny, do you realize we’re 1/36 done raising our son?”

Really?? You had to go THERE!?!?

But he’s right. While parenting doesn’t magically end on his 18th birthday, it does change. And 18 does mark the beginning of adulthood, albeit young adulthood. So we are 1/36 of the way to raising our son to be an adult. We pray a functioning, respectful, contributing, intelligent adult. With that reality in mind it was a sobering reminder to be intentional in our parenting choices.

Which leads me to share our dedication story.

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J’s Dedication

When J was dedicated to the Lord we were given a jar with 18 orange marbles in it.

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The director of children’s ministry explained that the marbles symbolize our time as parents. We were told to take a marble out each year on our child’s birthday and reflect on the years we have left to parent. While it initially sounds pessimistic the purpose is to remind us to be intentional in our parenting because whether we like it or not our time to parent, instill values, and raise our children is fleeting.

The label on the jar reads:

You have approximately 18 years from the day a child is born until he or she graduates from high school – and those years will fly by more quickly than you can imagine. On your child’s birthday each year, remove 1 marble from this jar – and pause to remember that you need to be intentional with the time that you have left, because you are playing for keeps.

The jar sits on my bureau and serves as a daily reminder to be intentional. But realizing today just how quickly time goes by was definitely a reality check. So with the sobering reality in mind it’s important to be very intentional with our parenting choices every day. The choices we make as parents matter. We can use this time to instill in our son values of faith, respect, compassion, and integrity. We can model sound judgement and work to create a life long learner. We can use this time wisely to impart wisdom, trust, and love.  Most importantly we can parent with faith, prayer, and intention because when it comes to my son – I’m playing for keeps!

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