courtesy of Sela Photography

Our son-in-law quoted his friend, Brandon, a while ago and I’ve been thinking how profound his outlook is. Brandon told him, “When I go to the grocery store, I parent. If I get a little shopping done while I’m there, that’s even better. When I go to a friend’s house, I parent. If I’m able to have a relaxed conversation while I’m there, that’s terrific. When I drive from one place to another, I parent. If it’s a pleasant drive without any catastrophes, I count my blessings.” 
You get the point, no matter where you go, parenting is the most important job you can be doing. You may not get to do everything you want along the way, but you’re training up human beings who you hope will make you proud. You pray they’ll choose to love God and others, show mercy and compassion, stand up for what is right, and make a difference in this world. 
And, I if you haven’t realized this already, parenting never ends.
True, your kids won’t be dependent on you forever. At least you hope not. But no matter how old they get, they’ll always need you. You’ll always want to stay connected. It’s supposed to work that way when you do it right.
My parents are still parenting me, and I’m a grandma of six. Although their teaching is indirect, I still learn from them. They continue to inspire me with their wisdom and experience, and it’s a huge boost knowing they pray for me every day. 
Too often we get in a hurry to move on to the absence-makes-your-heart-grow-fonder stage of parenting. I know I did. We forget how little time we have to nurture and teach before they’re on their own. When you’re sleep deprived, and never get to say a complete sentence without interruption; when you can’t walk across the room without being ensnared by a gauntlet of toys; when your house and car are never quiet or clean—it seems like an eternity before your life will be your own again. 

Then suddenly, they’re off—working, in college, getting married, having babies of their own. And you miss the sound of running feet, giggles and snuggles. And you realize your life will never be the same. 
It’s even better when they’re grown. Your children seek you out, not because they need something, but just to talk or hang out a while. That’s when you’ll be glad you invested the time at the grocery store, when visiting friends, in the car, and everywhere you went—to parent. On purpose—with love, focus, and commitment.
So if you’re a young parent, and you’re frazzled by the constant questions, and energy, and disciplining over and over, let me encourage you. You’ll have other opportunities to shop unhindered, visit uninterrupted, and drive without any passengers, to destinations of your choice. But you’ll never have these years back when they’re young, needing your constant presence.

Savor it. Take breaks when you can, and breathe snatches of freedom deeply. Then head back into the fray of their neediness, glad to be doing the job that never ends. Because the rewards are worth it. 
#parentingisforever #thebestjobever #encouragementforfrazzledparents #theygrowupfast #youngparents