Grace and Time to Grow and Learn

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Today is the last day of school for my kids!  It’s so funny how time can simultaneously seem to go quickly and slowly.  On one hand, it feels like Teo has been at the elementary school with Sienna forever, but then it’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that we now have a fourth grader and first grader.  This year has been a great one for both kids.  They had awesome teachers and Sienna got to be in class with her best buddy Mia.  Teo learned so much and enjoyed meeting great friends, who also became his teammates in both soccer and T-Ball.  These boys will be together for years… what a joy!

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Lately I’ve been keenly aware that Sienna is on the brink of the tween years.  She’s 9 1/2, and I’m not entirely sure what officially qualifies as tween, but she’s getting close.  The other night she shared a conversation she had with two friends on the playground.  Sienna told me, “Mom, she said she’s Lutheran, but I don’t believe her. She didn’t even know what baptism was!”  I had to stifle a giggle.  We talked for a long time about the theological differences between orthodox, liturgical Christianity and American Evangelical Christianity.  I was super impressed by how much catechism had stuck!  As she spoke I was struck by her sophisticated reasoning and innocent outlook, as in, of course my friend and I share the same beliefs.

Speaking of innocence, sweet Mateo had a very difficult time on Memorial Day when he saw the brawl between Bryce Harper and Hunter Strickland.  As a budding Giants fan, he was shocked and outraged that Harper would treat the Giants’ pitcher so aggressively.  After Dennis and I tried to reason with him through his tears for several minutes, I finally said, “You’re right, Teo.  His behavior was awful.  Even if he was hurt and angry, there’s no good reason for him to attack the pitcher.”  I realized that Teo was traumatized by seeing this violence during a game he loves.  That type of aggression is not something he’s used to witnessing, thank goodness.  It created a great opportunity to talk about the distinction between feelings and actions.  We may not be able to control our feelings (like getting angry after being hit by a pitch), we can control what we do.

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This stage of life is very fun and humbling.  As the kids grow and face more challenges, our job as parents grows and changes too.  The kids have feelings and thoughts that they voice with reckless abandon!  I feel gratified that they’re both in touch with their feelings and secure in expressing them, but balancing their needs and my own emotional ups-and-downs is something I’m trying to be mindful about.  Just last weekend, I did a long, hilly run and came back overly exhausted.  I could feel myself being irritable and impatient as we ran errands later that morning.  I got another couple opportunities to rightfully apologize for my shortness with Sienna.  This situation has been nagging at me this week and I’m prayerfully asking for guidance to let go of control and needing things to go my way, such as fitting a long run in an already full day of activities.

I just read an amazing blog post over at Hands Free Mama that spoke to the idea of time and recognizing that we don’t know how things are supposed to unfold.  This is something I’ve learned and relearned a dozen times over the past few years.  It’s so freeing to recognize how little control we have and how much grace and perfection there is in God’s timing.

Time keeps marching on.  Kids grow and learn.  Parents grow and learn.  We can’t see what’s around the next bend in the road, but we can love one another and give each other grace to grow and learn in our own time.

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