Parenthood and childhood

19 Jun

I was just reading about school choices by parents – and yes, I read homeschool choices too. In fact, primarily those because blogging seems like a major outlet slash networking tool for those mothers!

And one of the comments on one of the posts said something to the effect that children don’t remember what happened when they were two, when they grow up. Do you?

No, the question tag was part of the comment too. And I had a very quick response – yes.

I actually do remember what happened when I was two. I remember walking into the rain on the terrace, falling backwards from the trike and someone running down the stairs and nearly flinging themselves over the balcony on the landing to stop my dad who was on his way to work… that, when you were barefoot, the floor in the kitchen was somehow a little different from the one in the bedroom with the power outlet under the bed and the unconnected plug that served as my mother’s or the maid’s stethoscope or mine, whenever we played together, the sadness on some days when the sunset came and the parents hadn’t yet… These posts I was reading were on separation anxiety. And while the commenter was giving good advice – “Go anyway. Your child does grow up and does learn to be her own person” – my instinctive reaction was that children perhaps do remember.

I remember.

I think children do remember. They hold these memories precious. And if you bring them up well, they know both the wonderful things you have done and given as parents and the things you might do differently. They also know the things they might do differently, if they were parents, given the memories they have as kids.

And after all, isn’t that the point?

I don’t think either extreme of the spectrum have it right – children are neither best served unguided, nor controlled. That sense of the child being a wonderful new person in Christ, as well as that sense of her being your responsibility the moment she steps into or forms into your family – both seem important.

The possibility of being a parent scares me sometimes. And I am often glad that it does. I’ve always wanted to adopt and the intentional choice and mission in that decision is such a symbol to me of the calling that parenthood is. Parenthood is a calling both for husband and wife. When it comes, it probably takes over everything else. Probably changes your choices about e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Like God – he left his home, he left his place with God, he became a servant (becoming is a word for changing, he wasn’t only God anymore, he changed), he let them take his life if it would save the children… You practice for it when you marry someone, already. Too few people see that nowadays, I think. This is why I am glad that the idea of being a parent has not lost its fear for me.

But I’m just a 20-something talking.

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