I posted this last summer, but this month is one year since Clay’s accident and I thought it would be good to share it with you again.
I think it was Lombardi who said “Problems don’t give us character; problems reveals character.” Having said that, I must share with you a note I received from Nicki in response to my question about why parenting is difficult. I just couldn’t keep it until my next book comes out! I am using it with Nicki’s permission.
I have a daughter who is 21 years old and a son who is 18 years old. I would have to say that parenting is very difficult at times but not all the time. The most difficult thing I would have to say is worrying about whether or not we did a good enough job to make them successful, compassionate adults. My kids gave me a wooden sign for Christmas that hangs on the wall of my dining room that says, “worrying ends where faith begins.” This is a very true statement but much easier said than done.
Our worrying began shortly after becoming parents for the first time during our first ultrasound. We were told that Cassie had something abnormal with her right kidney and resulted in many ultrasounds to monitor it. After she was born, we went from the hospital right to Minneapolis Children’s Hospital for testing. We found that the upper pole of her right kidney was not functioning and that she had two ureters – one being attached to that upper pole of her kidney that was not functioning and the other one attached to her vagina which caused constant leaking of urine. She underwent major surgery to make the necessary repairs.
That was just the beginning of our journey we had ahead. We, as parents, had to help our kids cope with relationship problems, cope with a friend’s suicide (teenager), minor car accidents, Cassie’s horse accident and breaking her collar bone in which she still has a plate and 5 screws, Clay’s snowmobile accident leaving him as a paraplegic, and then moving out on their own to find their own independent lives.
The other worry that I have as a parent is that our society teaches kids that it’s okay to do whatever pleases you. If it makes you happy then that’s what you should do – whether it’s drugs, sex, partying, etc. We, as parents, try to instill morals and values in our children and raise them in good Christian homes but the challenges arise from all the outside influences that make it very confusing for our children. We are so thankful that we have not had to go down that road with our kids thus far but I do know parents that have.
I could not imagine trying to parent without Jesus and Mary being a part of our lives and how hard it can be at times and to think about families that don’t have that and how much harder that must be to parent their children.
I met Nicki, her husband, and their son Clay last summer. His sister, whom I have not met, is in her fourth year of college. All of them are happy and looking to the future with optimism! What an outstanding family; I am honored to know them! I think her statement: “Clay’s snowmobile accident leaving him a paraplegic,…” tells us why her kids are doing so well. It’s not because of the accident and their daughter’s surgical problem. But, she did not use either of these as excuses to complain, or quit parenting. She even mentioned the accident as a casual event, and did not use it to gain sympathy. But to show she has accepted it and they have all gone on with their lives.
Just before Clay’s 17th birthday he crushed his spine in the above accident. He started college this fall liberated from disability with his wheel chair. His attitude: “I am the same as I always was, except now I can’t walk. I can do everything else!”
What is it about them that keeps them going forward with great attitudes, and why are so many others unhappy and pessimistic seemingly without cause?
They pray together, play together, and work together. Over the years I am sure they did plenty of crying together, too. With the medical problems they have they had plenty to pray about and cry over. But, it seems that prayer overruled worry and crying. We need more parents like them. Can you be like them? I am afraid I would not have that strength and hope I am never tested.
My other questions: Do we need more real problems in our life to give us faith, optimism, and character? Are our lives too easy? Do we not know pleasure and happiness because we have not know pain and suffering? Are our lives void of the heat we need to temper ourselves and our kids?
Would some of you please answer these questions for me? As some of you know, I am working on a book on why parenting is difficult and how to make “Parenting as Easy as Pie”. I need your help!
If you read this post before and responded by telling me what makes parenting difficult for you, thanks.
Please share this post with your contacts because I still need more data to make sense out of the reasons why parenting is hard, and offer suggestions to help parents make it easier. If you have not sent me your thoughts, PLEASE DO! I value your opinions!
Include your childrens’ ages, your age, and the age of your spouse. If you don’t have a spouse let me know that, too. Then tell me if parenting was difficult for you and if so, what makes/made it so. If you have suggestions as to what can make parenting easier or if parenting was not difficult for you, please tell me that too.
Tell me if it’s OK for me to tell your story with your names or if I should modify the circumstances and names to protect your families privacy. I will not use your story without your permission.
Send your reply to comments below or to my e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks so much!