Why I Will Never Say To Another Parent "Little Kid, Little Problems, Big Kid, Big Problems"

Sam Cooke wasn't lying when he sang, "A Change Is Gonna Come."

Sometimes I'll look over at Meaghan as she is diapering Edward's bottom or baking cookies (her favorite afternoon activity) and I'm blown away at her maturity.  Lately, she'll relay a funny story about something one of the little kids did and the ease she possesses as she tells the tale makes me think she's one of my peers.  When she rolls her eyes and waves her hand dramatically to emphasize her point, she conveys a type of sophistication I didn't know was possible for a girl her age.

 I know this is a very mom thing to say, but Meaghan is a beautiful girl.  She's got legs up to her eyeballs and freckles sprinkled all over her fair skin.  She has started curling her stick straight,  blond hair before school in the morning and I've noticed--all of a sudden--she's stashing some of my personal care items in her room.

Last week, I decided to bring Meaghan with me to meet my new niece, Eliza, and on the way home she said, "Eliza is a doll, mom."

Then she looked over me with a big question mark written all over her face and said, "Do you think she looks like a Murphy?"

I squelched a giggle and felt my mom heart swoon.

My girl, Meaghan?  She's a delight.

I have to confess...I'm

surprised

I enjoy her so much.

No one told me about this sweet spot of parenting.

Sure, there were plenty of old ladies who wagged their finger at me, while I unloaded groceries in the check out line, as they they declared, 

"Little kids, little problems, big kids,

big

problems."

But no stranger--not once--has said, "Lucky you!  You get the esteemed honor and privilege of watching these kids grow." 

No one--not once--has said, "You get to see the gifts that have been given to your children and you get to watch them figure out to use them.  You are in for the ride of your life.  Lucky you, my friend!  Lucky

you!

"

For a long time, I've been parenting little kids--babies and toddlers.  Little people who melt my heart with their abundant cute quotient.

But now?

All of a sudden, I'm noticing the evolving interests of my older children and the way they carry themselves and interact with me like they are mini-adults.

Meaghan loves to bake and she reads cookbooks in her spare time.  She wrote a paper this year about three things she wants to accomplish in her lifetime and one of the goals she wrote was to open a bakery named

The Happy Place

.

I love the mere idea of

The Happy Place

and I love Meaghan.

Meaghan makes jewelry in her spare time and is constantly devouring YouTube videos to help her with her creations.  She and I can have a conversation about an important topic and she has her own thoughts and opinions about the issue at hand.

I love to see the way her mind works and I love who she is.

Don't misunderstand me.  I'm not in denial:  I can see that this era of parenting is going to bring challenges.  I mean,

wooooow

, the adolescent mood swings are nothing to scoff at.  I also know as these kids grow, I'm going to have to watch them make bad choices and I know it will pain my heart to see the flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone

, sin.

But I refuse to believe that parenting teenagers will be all misery because parenting for me, while it has always been hard and ego crushing, has

also

been a joy.  

Amidst the pain of parenting, I have always experienced the sweet. 

Yes, there will be hard times with these kids; I've already seen them.  But watching my children grow into adults is not going to be only heartache.  I will get to experience the good stuff too:  

I get to see the development of their sense of humor, their quick wit, and their silliness.

I get to observe their minds at work, how hard they work at school and at home, how diligently they try to be good people and do the right thing.

I get to see they kindness they demonstrate to their siblings and to me, the books they love to read and talk about and the joy with which they embrace life.

Watching all of these things remind me that the teenage years are not going to be all about

Trying To Get By Because These Kids Are Ruining Me.

I get the privilege of watching them become who they are and that is not a burden:  it's an honor.

I can't wait.

So I promise right here and right now to never warn a young mom struggling to keep her head above water with the multiple kids charged in her care and hanging off her grocery cart,

"Just wait, it gets

worse

!"

That's not a true statement!

When I see that young mom, overwhelmed and fumbling, I plan on grabbing her hand, looking her in the eye and saying,

"Lucky

you

!  You get the pleasure of watching these kids grow. 

You get to help your kids develop their gifts and you get to watch them change the world. 

You are in for the ride of your life.  Lucky you, my friend!  Lucky

you!

"