I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – nothing in my life thus far has challenged me and blessed me like parenthood. I love it. There are times when I need to stay in the bathroom a few extra minutes so I can let the tears stop rolling down my face and there are times when I can’t stop laughing because we are being so crazy together.
This is for the times when we need a hug, a smile, an encouraging word. These are the people who provide me with a hug, a smile, an encouraging word.
I’ve always known that my parents are amazing. Now that I am a mom, I have been able to experience their blessings in a whole new way. When we lived out-of-town, they would make the hour and fifteen minute drive at least once every other week. They knew that it was difficult for us to not only pack up two little ones, but afford the gas used to come to their home. Usually they would bring a box of diapers and wipes or buy us dinner. My dad works a very rough schedule, but on his days off he would come to visit us and take us for lunch. When I was on maternity leave he would watch the boys so I could go to Barnes and Noble, grab a cup of coffee and a minute of silence. On numerous occasions he would grab my car keys without me noticing and go to pick up some food. The next time I jumped in my car I would see that the gas tank was suddenly full.
My mom will go to the outlets with a friend and will just happen to come back with clothes for the boys and a sweater for me. She’ll just say, “Oh, they were having a sale!” If she is going to the grocery store, it is not uncommon for her to text me and ask if we need anything. Even if I tell her we don’t need anything, she will usually bring pretzels, goldfish, or Teddy Grahams to our house whenever she comes over. The boys and I were in Walmart a few weeks ago and ran into my mom there. It was not planned, but my mom took the boys around and let them pick out a bunch of goodies. They were thrilled and my cabinets were filled!
In fact, they are so helpful that they invited us to live with them during our move here. We ended up staying with them for almost 8 months. While no one wants to move back in with their parents, the option to move here would have been nonexistent had we not been able to live in their basement. It was a little unnerving at times, but there were no fights and we all still have a great relationship. Now, they will often stop by our house and bring the boys their favorite pizza or take them to see the trains at the train station. They don’t hesitate to help out if I have to work late and need someone to watch the boys for a bit. They are always there to ease these stressful situations.
Our budget is tight. My parents know this and have been there and done that themselves. Their faithfulness with both the large and small things has always been evident to me. Growing up, I had no clue the amount of sacrifice my parents were making for my sister and I. I will never forget the day that my parents paid off their house. I think I was around 12 or 13 years old. My dad bought my mom a card and inside he thanked her for her willingness to go without and for the fact that she never complained about the circumstances. He mentioned that he will always remember how at one point she only had two dresses for church, but would rotate them each Sunday. I cannot tell you the impact this has had on me. It gives me such hope to know that this is only a stage of life that we are going through and most likely things will get easier.
Their godly example of perseverance and wise decision-making is the blueprint that we try to follow with our own family. We know that times are tough, but we know that we are blessed no matter the circumstances. I’ve mentioned mostly monetary and material ways that my parents have given to us, yet the most important thing they do for us is lift us up in prayer. I know that they pray daily for Jeff and myself, our boys, and my sister and her family. They celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary this summer and have a lot of wisdom to share. It means so much to me that I can go to them for advice and encouragement and I know that they will be honest with me and will have something to offer from a biblical perspective. It keeps me grounded and focused on what is most important in life. When I am having a rough day, I will often get a text from my mom asking how the boys are doing. Then she’ll usually say something like, “They are so precious and you are so blessed.” She may not even know that particular day had been a struggle, but her words always hit home.
I may be blessed because I am a wife and a mother. But I am equally blessed because I am the daughter of my incredible parents. Thank you for exemplifying what it means to be a blessing in the lives of others. My hope and prayer is that I can pay it forward the way you have shown me over the years. I love you both so much!