Sitting in my daughter’s living room, listening to the one and only Stevie Wonder while Jess puts the baby down for a nap, glad that my daughter likes some of her mother faves from back in the, well, let’s just say “way back then”. Hopefully she got a few other good things from me as well, even more important than a love of music. I remember when she was getting ready for 9th grade and I gave her the choice of what instrument to play in the band. It wasn’t a matter of whether or not she would learn music; that was a given, just part of her education. It’s one of those parental decisions that I actually don’t regret. She handled it well at the time.
[Ahhhh, now James Taylor.]
It’s amazing how incredibly powerful parenthood is, intrinsically I mean. And that intimates that it’s powerful regardless, for good or for bad. And an added “bonus”: you learn things about yourself that, initially, you’d rather not know. The insecurities, the self-centered bent, the impatience. The imprint that we leave on our progeny is incredible—why did God bestow such power on us weakling mortals?? Oh wait, maybe that wasn’t the original plan…
[Can’t hardly beat Marvin Gay and Motown!!]
And yet, here we find ourselves. Frail people raising impressionable and dependent offspring born after our own frailty. I remember one of the hardest conversations I had with another daughter, apologizing for the fact that most undoubtedly I had done things in her life leaving her with internal consequences that she would be responsible for dealing with, healing and changing. And importantly adding that, as wonderful as my parents were to me, they also made mistakes, the personal consequences of which were my responsibility. And their parents before them, and so on.
It’s not an excuse; it’s a reality. I cannot be a victim to anything, not anymore. Not as a Christian. In the meantime, I will pray for the strength to follow in Jesus’ footsteps when He prayed “I consecrate myself for their sakes”. (John 17) Meaning, the best thing I can do from here out is to dedicate myself to knowing Him Who knows and loves me best, thereby becoming what I need to be for my children in front of me, and my parents behind me, and friends all around me….
[“Ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough, ain’t no river wide enough, to keep me from getting’ to you, babe!]*
- Lyrics by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson