A Precious Gift
By Patti Chadwick
Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from Him.
(Psalm 127:3 -NLT)
Children are a gift from God. Yes, they can be a lot of work. Yes, they can try your patience. Yes, they can exasperate you. But ask any mom and they will tell you that they wouldn’t trade in their wee ones for anything in the world – even if she has teenagers!
Over the past several years, I have entered a new season of life. My children are all teenagers and I have two who are moving into young adulthood. Life is just different when your children grow into teens and young adults. Not necessarily better, just different. When my children were preschoolers I can remember older women telling me, “Enjoy this time because before you know it your little ones will be teens, then young adults, and then gone!” As I was changing my baby’s diaper for the 10 th time and cleaning up mess after mess made by two precocious preschoolers I would almost laugh at their well-meaning advice. I couldn’t imagine the years “flying” by.
Well, though it is hard for me to believe, these wise older women were correct. The years did fly by. Once my oldest hit thirteen it seems I blinked and he was in college and my BABY was nearly 16 and anticipating getting his driving permit. Unbelievable.
Parenting teenagers is wonderful. During the teenage years you get to see the early training of your children put into practice as they start to become their own person and make their own decisions. Oh, they won’t always choose as you’d like, but you will be pleasantly surprised at the good choices they do make.
Another perk of parenting teens is that your relationship enters a new phase. As your teens edge toward graduation and young adulthood, there is the opportunity to become friends. I found this to be true in my relationship with my daughter.
Jeni is a senior this year. We both thought it would be a great idea to go on a little “getaway” trip together before she graduates; kind of a “last hurrah” celebrating her passing from childhood into adulthood. As we contemplated what the trip should entail, the opportunity came up for us to attend a conference put on by Hearts at Home ( www.hearts-at-home.org ) I’ve been editing their online newsletter for the last six months and they wanted me to have the “Conference Experience”. I asked if I could bring my daughter and we would both volunteer and they agreed.
So we made the arrangements to take us from Western New York to Normal , Illinois . We decided to take the train for a few reasons; the first being cost, and the second being time to spend together during a layover in Chicago . And we counted down the days until our adventure.
And what an adventure we had! This trip was a real mother-daughter bonding time. We talked about our lives; the present and future hopes and dreams. We shared with each other deep from our hearts. And we laughed. We often laughed until we cried. I can’t remember the last time I had been so relaxed (and silly). And this was just on the train trip!
The Conference experience was just as wonderful. We were treated like long long-lost sisters by the Hearts staff. We also made many new friends among the speakers at the Conference as we helped them in their ministry to moms. Again, we laughed until we cried as we got to know so many others who chose full-time mothering as their life’s work. At one point Jeni took a look around and exclaimed, “I never saw so many pregnant women in one place!” This caused us to break into a fit of giggles…again.
On the way home we had a stop in Chicago . We walked for miles to reach their mall district. We were in awe as we walked through the city. We decided we loved Chicago ! As we were walking, we came upon a movie set. Nicholas Cage was filming his latest movie “Weatherman” and there we were, right in the middle of it. How cool is that? You know we will have to go see that movie and tell everyone we were there! Before we headed back for the train, we stopped to eat some “to-die-for” cheesecake from the famous Cheesecake Factory.
With full bellies and light hearts we headed back to Union Station for the trip home. My daughter put her arm through mine put her head on my shoulder and whispered words that I will keep in my heart forever. “Mom, I love this city and I’ve had so much fun. But I’m mostly glad that I got to experience it with you”. I kissed her head and smiled. Then a Bible verse came to mind, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a gift from Him.”
Thank you, Lord. The gift is precious.
Patricia Chadwick is a freelance writer and has been a stay-at-home mom for 18 years. She is currently a columnist in several online publications as well as editor a newsletter at www.historyswomen.com, a weekly online magazine highlighting the extraordinary achievements of women. Subscribe at www.historyswomen.com