Ahh, I remember it well...
I remember when my kids would eagerly climb up into my lap with a book and snuggle in for a nice long bedtime story.
I remember when they couldn't wait to open their backpacks and proudly show me their Kindergarten art.
I remember when they would wrap their arms around my neck and give me a big giant goodnight kiss AND tell me they loved me.
But things are different now. In a few weeks my oldest son will be turning 18. A year and a half later his brother will follow. Things are different now because these guys are no longer kids. These guys are young adults.
And now that my wife and I have raised two of our three children to adulthood (nearly), I feel I'm qualified to share some parental wisdom with those of you who are still in the earlier stages of parenthood - those of you who have yet to be blindsided by the surprises your children are surely going to spring upon you.
With that being said, I'd like to share a little list I put together for you. This is not a warm and fuzzy happy list, the kind found in the parenting books that people buy before they have kids... this is a cold reality list, the kind written by a real parent of grown-up kids.
THIS is the list of:
1. At some point after 5th grade you will no longer hear the words "I love you" voluntarily. Don't take it personally, they still love you... they just won't say it.
2. Your kids will do things many times over that will scare the living hell out of you. And when they've finally reached the age of 18 you'll wonder how they managed to make it that far, and you'll thank God they did.
3. No matter how much money you think it will cost to raise your kids - it will only be a fraction of what they really cost.
4. Your children will, at some point, tell you they hate you. Guaranteed.
5. No matter how many times your kids disappoint you and break your heart - you won't love them any less.
6. Your kids and their friends are not as innocent as you think. This bears repeating....
Your kids and their friends are not as innocent as you think.
7. You will never be able to strike a balance of discipline that will satisfy you. If you're too easy on them they will take advantage of you. If you're too hard on them you will feel guilty.
8. You will, at various points throughout your parenthood, feel like you're a failure as a parent.
9. You are not alone. All parents struggle with these exact same issues.
10. No matter how much pain and heartache your kids cause you over the course of their childhood... IT'S STILL WORTH IT!