Growing Pains

I will start off by asking for people to daven for Reuven Dovid ben Miriam. (***updated name***)  He got hit in the throat with a baseball and had to undergo surgery.  Baruch Hashem he is alive but will have a stint in his throat for 6-8 weeks, not being able to talk. He will have a tracheotomy tube to breathe through until stint is removed. Afterwards, they will attempt to do reconstruction surgery and hopefully will be able to talk again.

It was a busy day today.  Much has happened, and not with my children, but as I walked back into the house this evening, with my mind all full of different thoughts from the day, I took just a second to let what I saw and felt sink in.  The 2 year old was standing at the kitchen counter on one of our folding chairs, singing and bouncing, just asking for the chair to collapse.  It was nothing unusual, he loves to do that, however tonight it struck me different than usual, not sure why.  Perhaps it was a combination of the day – making a shiva call, going hiking with the family, finding out my friend’s husband got severely hurt in a very unusual accident, to other things – some planned, some unplanned, but it seems that on these days the little things get looked at differently.

I was thinking how amazingly different each of our boys are.  One boy tells me to watch out for it is going to be crazy in the house when they are all teenagers and a short while later comes over and “catches” me and tells me he caught me and that he is suspicious I am a double agent for the wrong country.  Another thinks he is as big as his older brothers and of course everything is “ME DO IT!” while at the same time needing to know exactly what ingredients are in his pineapple pieces or his zucchini bread.  We have one whose creative juices are constantly running away with him and he can create everything out of nothing but once he is finished, all those tiny pieces of paper and such just can’t seem to get picked up, no matter how hard he tries.  To another whose computer knowledge has actually surpassed his father’s in some areas and everything that comes out of his mouth starts with “Ubuntu.”

These boys all have the same mother and the same father, but yet, each is vastly different from each other.  Raising even one child is not easy, as any parent will tell you, however, there is something kind of refreshing to working with each of the children.  It takes a lot of work and effort on the part of the parent to not just “raise” a child, but to raise each child in the way that is best for them so that they will grow to their unique potential.  Up until this week I would arrange the order of the lessons to what suited me, and for the most part it seemed to work out well.  It was not until this week that I realized that it is not always the best for everyone.  I found out that in math, one child is better off doing it at the end of the day, the very last thing that I do for then I can sit down beside him for the 15 minutes he needs to finish his work while all the other siblings are out of the room.  This child needs me to give him my 100% undivided attention while he works on his problems.  Not that I do any of the problems for him, but I am there to help keep him on track.  He needs me to ask him what the next question is, he needs me to ask him what he needs to do first, etc.  With my attention and the lack of distractions from others, he all of a sudden can finish in a reasonable amount of time!

Perhaps it is the joy a parent gets from watching their children grow, but perhaps it is also the feeling that I too have grown.  Raising children is not just about the children.  Raising children is also about us, the parents.  It is easy to go through the moments where the child is listening and doing what they are supposed to do.  The challenge is when it is not so easy.  What happens when you all have a wonderful day and it seems ruined by the fact that at 10pm the children are still not in bed for they are just too wild and wired from the excitement and exhaustion?  What happens when a child throws a huge tantrum every time they think life is so unfair?  What happens if there are other bad middos such as lying or hurting taking place?

All these challenges push us, the parents, to the limits.  Often times we might be up at night thinking, other times during the day.  There are times where we can find the answer quickly, and sometimes the answer seems to elude us for eons.  But we keep on trying.  Then, one day we look back and all of a sudden we notice how they have changed.  The child who used to touch the wet paint of others’ pictures and not sit still, now is maturing and sits with the adults and participates in conversations (until you have to shoo him away! 🙂  )  The one who threw such wonderful tantrums and got offended so easily, well, all of a sudden I realize that the tantrums have almost disappeared.  Children all go through different stages in life.  With our help, they usually outgrow their “growing pains.”

But if we would look back at ourselves, we would see that we too have grown.  At first, we never imagined that we could cope with certain situations, and now, those situations are a piece of cake!  And not only that, we find that while we are dealing with new challenges, we also add more things to our resume that we might never have dreamed of.

So, as I am thinking about how wonderful it is to be a part of our children’s life and to see them grow and mature, I hope this feeling will be able to carry me on to the next challenge, whatever that may be.  Hopefully I will remember that with my constant love and devotion that this too will pass and be outgrown and the gorgeous, amazing, unique flower that is emerging will continue to unfold.