but the LORD determines his steps.
Most of us live somewhere in between the place where all our dreams came true, and the spot where nothing turned our like we hoped. I know I do.
As a little girl I dreamed about getting married and having kids. I wanted to "stay at home" with my kids just like my mom did with me. In high school I decided I wanted nothing less than to marry a pastor. Maybe a missionary.... but I really preferred a pastor. I also wanted to go into some kind of ministry myself, though I went back and forth on exactly what that looked like.
I wanted to be a young mom and have lots of kids, close together in age. I wanted to live in England. Or Ireland. I wanted to do something awesome with my life.
As it has turned out so far, I haven't moved to England or Ireland. I just turned 26 so I'm teetering off the brink of young-mom-dom (which, in my head happens between the ages of 22 and 25). I did get to marry a pastor, though I certainly didn't know how hard the resulting immigration process would be (due to our citizenships, not his pastorship). I went to seminary like I dreamed. I get to nurture the lives of little kids everyday, which is the best ministry I could dream for myself right now. And this adoption process actually does make me feel like I'm doing something awesome with my life.
I've learned to hold my dreams with open hands. Making plans and dreaming about the future, but not clinging to them too tightly.
When you're in the new-and-expectant-parent-world, you hear a lot of, "I always thought I would.... but now I ....." As in, "I always thought I'd love being pregnant but now I actually feel so uncomfortable that hate it." Or, "I always thought those parents who put their kids on a leash were CRAZY. But now I think it's the only way I can keep my sanity at the grocery store!"
What I'm curious/nervous/excited to see is which of my plans, hopes, and expectations for parenting are going to be fulfilled and which ones are going to sink and die.
Here's part of my list:
- I am super dreading not being able to get a full night's sleep. I'm an 8+ hour/night-or-I'm-seriously-dragging-the-next-day kind of person. Many moms have told me "you get used to it." I'm skeptical.
- I want to make weekends special by making a big breakfast on Saturday mornings. Maybe not (well, for sure not) right away, but once we get into the swing of things. Will this happen or will I just keep eating cereal on Saturdays like I do now?
- I really do not want my kids eating junk food very often. I wonder if I will be able to enforce healthy eating habits when they go to school? Especially b/c I know I basically lived on "traded" snacks like fruit-by-the-foot and uncooked Mr.Noodles (Ramen for my American friends). Blech.
- I super hope our kids are into drama, music, dance, or art and not soccer, hockey, or football. Love the idea of a kid in the arts; not big on the idea of a kid in sports. Biologically our kids won't be destined for athletic greatness, but with this adoption... who knows where our son's interests will be. All I know is I cannot picture myself going to games and cheering for scores or points or whatever. I really wonder if that's what I'll end up doing...
That's just a smattering of all the hopes and expectations I have about parenting. I know that ultimately my hope is for my kids to know Christ as their savior. Everything else is peanuts compared to that. Though some peanuts (kindness, loyalty, good manners, etc) are admittedly bigger than others.
So parents: what were or are some of your dreams/expectations about parenthood? How have they changed? Or been fulfilled? What have you been surprised by? Delighted by? Discouraged by? I would love to hear your stories!