Thursday, April 26, 2012

Surviving Your Children

Our children were both baptized into the Catholic church within the first few weeks of their lives. As part of that process we were required to attend a class that was just a couple of hours long. No big deal, but kind of a pain in the butt when you have first one baby, then two.

I don't remember very much about those sessions, but I do remember one thing which turned out to be some of the best advice I ever got. The priest who taught the class told us something like this.

You are parents now and your relationship with this child is just beginning. For the next few years being a parent will seem all consuming and will rightfully be a top priority. But this relationship, as it will exist for the next eighteen years or so, is a temporary one. You will always be parents, but they will not always be children. As hard as it may be to believe, these children will grow up and leave home. That's what is supposed to happen. Your relationship with them will grow and change as they grow and change.

While you are rearing and nurturing these children, don't forget that before you were their mom or their dad, you were a wife or a husband. You made promises to each other that come first and supersede the fact that you are parents. You must work to make sure that the relationship between husband and wife survives.

Some day, in some form or fashion, you will make a long drive home from helping your youngest child move into a dorm room or apartment. On that day, the two of you will walk into your home together and that home will feel empty. On that day you will realize that it's just the two of you again. When that happens, you need to be ready. So, take care of these children and raise them well. And ... take care of your marriage. Your marriage needs to survive your children.

(Read about my own experience with our chicks flying the nest here I Love My Empty Nest. I think it's one of the best posts I've ever written.







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7 comments:

  1. I got similar advice when I got married! I couldn't agree more -- our kids can't be successful adults with a happy marriage unless we show them what that looks like.

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  2. This really hit home for me today. My husband and I returned from a vacation to the empty house. The last of our daughters moved while we were away. This is the first time in 28 years that it is just the two of us. It's only been a couple of days but, so far so good. We are looking forward to this next chapter in our lives.

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  3. what a beautiful post and so very true

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  4. This is something that we, as grandparents, need to help our kids with too. I remind mine often that this too shall pass. Kids are not at any stage for very long. Good point to remind us all of. Would you like to link this up at Say It Saturday? I'm off now to read 'I Love My Empty Nest'.

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  5. Your timing is perfect. I need to remind my kids about exactly that. They sometimes get so involved in being parents they forget to be a couple first. Thanks!!

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  6. Hi Vicki! I am so glad I finally found you here! That is a lovely and very wise message you have related. I, too, have a story from a baptism at our Catholic church, but it is a funny one! My youngest grandchild was being baptized and her twin 2 year old cousins were trying their hardest to be still during the homily part of the service. Finally, the priest invited everyone to come up and gather around the water fount. Sensing movement, Nick lustily yelled out "ALL DONE!" and of course everyone, especially the priest, laughed!

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  7. We followed similar advice, given by our pastor as we were counseled before marrying. Sometimes it's hard to remember, especially when you're broke and can't afford a sitter, much less to go anywhere. But it's oh-so important...and one of the reasons I think my husband and I have lasted 30+ years. Thanks for the reminder to pass the lesson along to the kids. It matters more in hindsight, I think, so it's important to let them know that. Thank you!

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