Entries from July 1, 2008 - August 1, 2008
My sister sent me the link to a Newsweek story asking “Does having Children Make You Happy?” She suggested I blog on this.
I have never really though about this question. I have questioned the wisdom of the universe in “blessing” me with a particular child from time to time. I demanded of my husband how this happened when I was pregnant with our fourth child. He wisely didn’t say any thing however our then five-year-old daughter piped up she knew how I got pregnant. Hesitantly we asked how. “I prayed,’” she said.
I have burst with pride, quaked with anger, prayed in hope, joy, fear or puzzlement because of our children. I worry because and over them. I have fought with my husband and stood shoulder to shoulder with him while raising them. Having children has revealed my love, impatience, willingness or lack thereof to sacrifice on their behalf. I have met great people because of them and have missed opportunities because of them. I love them with a furiously intense, distant kind of love. I marvel that God has used the love He gave my husband for me and me for him to create these creature, that I know belong to Him and yet are mine.
There was only one time I truly envied my sisters who don’t have children. They were taking off for semi-spure of the moment weekend in Greenland. They said I could go along with them if I wanted to but I just couldn’t. That trip captured for me, the freedom that not having children allows others. Would I trade my kids for that freedom…never. However being childless by choice has always seemed to me to be a reasonable life decision. I know this puts me outside the prevailing Christian view of the children in marriage. It is a Romans 14 situation and I am not about to debate it here.
I’ve never considered the question because in all honesty, for me it is not relevant. I had children because my husband and I desired them knowing they are part of God’s plan for our lives. I am happy with them because in the main they are good kids. When they are difficult, they have provided bible study and MOPS examples and blog material. Therefore, difficulty is an eventual win for me.
My kids are not the ultimate source of my happiness in this life. Neither is my marriage for that matter or my friendship. If the kids were wreaking serious havoc in our lives: drugs, crime, failing school, etc, life would be much, much more challenging, but the source of joy would still the same:
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Ro 15
2 Cor. 12:9-10 — And he said unto me, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
How would you answer the question (be honest):
Does having children make you happy?
I am very honored.
Here are the rules:
1) Pick five (5) blogs that you consider deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what language.
2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.
3) Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.
4) Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of “arteypico” blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award which is here.
Now I get to pass the honor on:
Susie at Susie's Big Adventure
Susie has well written insightful commentary on her life in Saudi Arabia
Stacey at All Stacey All the Time
Stacey always makes my laugh.
Guardian Angel at Happy Family Matters
Everyone needs a guardian angel and this one happens to write well.
Gina at Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Gina has great recipes. I've deliciously used up tons of zucchini and cucumbers with her help.
My husband now watches The Office, enough said.
hen in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
Travel hockey was the bane of my existence. Both my husband and my son live, eat and breathe hockey. When our son (here after called Ebenezer, not his real name) was about 11, after a year of skating lessons, his father gave into his pleas to play hockey. “He won’t be very good, he is starting too late for us to worry about travel teams, don’t worry it’s just a house league”, proclaimed my husband, Ebenezer’s father. Moreover, I believed him. This was the man I pledged to love, honor, cherish and obey (yes I did) and until this point there was no reason not to believe him.
Turned out the kid was good. Very good for a southern born and bred boy, may be good period. One year of house league later, I was being told, “Don’t worry; there are lots of goalies in the area. He won’t make a travel team but we (we meaning, the boy and his dad, who was still my husband) just want to see how he will do”.
Turned out the kid was good. Maybe even very good. He made a team and we entered the travel hockey cult. Cults take your time, your money and your thought life. Travel hockey takes time, (practice plus to and from the rink time, in our case 45 minutes each way plus the actual weekend travel), money (email me if your husband is even thinking about buying your kid a pair of skates, I’ll send you the mid-five figure amount we spend for 4 years) and you have to think about extra coaching, conditioning, how to get school done etc. Fortunately we home schooled the first 3 years of our hockey cult life so school and spiritual growth were not a problem.
The last year of travel hockey, Ebenezer played at my insistence. His dad thought the boy’s heart was no longer in the game. I insisted he play because he was starting back to school in a public high school after being at home for 4 years and because of his girl friend. I wanted him to have something he was good at while adjusting to high school and something to take up some of his time besides the girlfriend.
And he was good. I saw for the first time what my husband and son loved about this game. There is something about seeing my child excel at something, that combination of passion and talent, which melted my heart. For the first time I could knew the sacrifice was worth it.
Ebenezer threw it all away for the girl who wanted him by her side on the weekends. She made it clear that he could not have her and hockey and he chose her. You might think we could have forced him to play. You can force outward obedience but you cannot force passion, the drive to excel, which athletes at that level of hockey have to have. We let him quit, knowing he would regret that decision.
A year later, the girl friend dumped Ebenezer for the fourth time. This time he decided to stay dumped even though she is making a concerted effort to change his mind. (That situation will make a great post once I can be unsnippy about it). Meanwhile we have had a year of normal family life. Our budget is not tight. Ebenezer is active at church and growing spiritually. School grades, well you can’t have everything.
Two days ago, my husband mentioned to Ebenezer there was a hockey team he could try out for in August. Then Ebenezer mentioned that to me.
I swear there is not a jury of my peers that would convict me for putting my husband in the doghouse (or on the couch) for an extended period of time. What was that man thinking starting the whole hockey insanity again? Has he forgotten the time, the money, the loss of family life…. I could just beat him with a noodle!
I traveled with Ebenezer that last year, I know what my husband was thinking…
The kid was good.
I almost flunked first grade because I couldn’t read. I was put in a “ special reading group” and taught to sight-read. That was the saving of my school career. I knew I didn’t process information as my classmates did. I was a little slower, but thanks to an aptitude for math and a passion for reading, both passed on to me from my mother, I never thought I was stupid or couldn’t do the work. I just had to try harder. Over time I realized that as hard as I tried I was not going to be able to be the top student. Coupled with shyness that realization that I was never going to be perfect, be the very best, held me back from trying things that interested me.
A funny thing happened, as I grew older. I married a man who loves me and I accepted Jesus as my Savior. I am loved, not perfectly but consistently by the man I married and perfectly, at time sternly or humorously by God. It is my experience that a woman who knows she is loved grows in confidence.
With confidence comes the willingness to take risks. The house will probably never be clean enough, but I am more than happy to invite people over for coffee or tea or lunch or dinner. I was never going to win my age group when I was (very past tense) marathoning but finishing was winning as far as I was concerned and I have the medals to prove it. I never expected to be the perfect parent, although I do fall from time to time into expecting my kids to be perfect. I can’t spell (perhaps you have noticed). Even worse I spell the wrong word right, so I don’t catch the mistake before posting a blog entry. I do have a couple of people who edit for me. Unfortunately, they have lives of their own. Sometimes they are busy. Post I must. Time and daily postings wait for no woman.
I love playing with words and ideas. If I had to be perfect in spelling and grammar, I would never publish a blog. Dyslexia is not an excuse for lack of due diligence before posting. I do run each post through spell check several times before posting. Nevertheless, knowing there is a chance I will mess up, is no longer a reason not to take a risk and try.
Part of aging with adventure is being willing to take risks, accept that we will not always be perfect in the things we do. My in-laws are in their 80s. Their world is getting smaller, limitations due to slowly declining health are increasing.
Now is not the time to let our world get smaller because we can’t do something we enjoy perfectly. Time will make our limitations truly limiting.
A nice thing about being older is it is easier to accept correction. One of my myriad sisters (She was very kind and gentle and a little scared. I appreciate her taking the risk.) informed me that my mistakes make me sound dumb. Sigh, I know….but at least I make a sound. That is much better than being too scared to try. By the way, if you see something wrong or the wrong word spelt correctly, let me know. I am actually thinking of offering a contest rewarding the reader who can find the most spelling and grammar errors during the week.
The point is life is to short not attempt what you love even if you know most likely there will be errors. Most spelling errors can be fixed. The time wasted not doing what you love, even of it means making a mistake, can never be retrieved.
Personally, instead of sounding dumb, I think I sound wise beyond my years. Such is the power of love in one formerly timid woman’s life.
1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3