So often we think that because we have done something before, we can easily do it again. After all, our bodies and our minds have a certain muscle memory to perform in the same manner in which we did the previous times. But I am here to tell you that not everything is that easy. Sometimes it’s not just like riding a bike, sometimes you have to start all over and relearn the whole process.
That is what parenting is like when starting over again, and adopting children who are older makes it pretty interesting. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret our decision to adopt children. I love all six of my kids. I love the boys. I love the girls. I love the biological ones. I love the chosen ones. I love them all. But what I assumed was that I knew what I was doing, because I had done it all before. Nope- not so much.
I remember their first night in our home, it was a weekend visit. I remember wondering if the little one was used to being rocked to sleep. I turned all the lights out in the living room and sat on the couch, holding my new baby and singing “Jesus Loves Me.” It was surreal. It was the same song I had sung to all of the babies I had sung to sleep. I cried, not only because I was happy to have another baby to love- but because somewhere out in this big crazy world his bio mom was missing this moment. I felt sad for her, but I was so excited for our family and for our future.
It wasn’t long before our “Brady Bunch” story became a reality and we also “somehow formed a family.” It was busy at first. Not just busy because we had six kids instead of three. It was busy because our new children had to see, touch, and feel everything we owned. Every toy would get pulled out of it’s purposeful hiding place. Every board game was opened and “played”, only to be forced back into the box without all of their pieces. It was like a tornado of toys, games, dirty clothes, and blankets would go through the house on a daily basis. The newness wore off and everyone got into the groove of the everyday Party of 8 life style. But there I was, trying to figure the whole parenting thing out.
The basics of parenting are the same. I know how to feed and clothe them. I know how to help them pick matching clothes and pack their lunches. But there are other things that have not come as easy. I often have to remind myself of priorities and things that are not that important. I had to tell myself that sometimes the dishes can stay in the sink until tomorrow. I had to learn how to use the crock pot and how to plan for the week’s meals in order to have effective grocery visits. Being a mom of six isn’t much different than being a mom of three in most regards.
But there are times it is hard. There are times when your sweet child doesn’t understand why you make the choices that you make. And there are times that you have to be reminded that not all of your children feel the same way when being reprimanded or disciplined. The relationship itself requires more work and more detailed care. I spend time strategizing my next move and planning the appropriate responses. When my oldest was young, I used to question God as to why she was so stubborn and difficult. Years later, I have found myself thanking God for her behavior because I realize everything is ok when I see similar behaviors in my other children. But with each child there is a different way to address the behaviors and a unique plan of action. These are things I am still learning.
One thing I know for sure, it is not the same for every situation. It is not something you can just pick back up and do the same way that you have done it in the past. In this case, it is most certainly not like riding a bike. But I am so thankful that God is with me. He never lets me down. As I try to remember how to pedal this crazy bike of mine, I realize that God is in the front of this tandem (two-man) bike and He is pedaling and steering. If I will just continue to trust Him and keep pedaling- I know He will help me.
The verse that has been on my heart this week can be found in Proverbs 3:5-6. We are probably all familiar with these verses, but have you ever read it from the Amplified Bible? I love this version. “Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].” Trust in and rely on HIM! This is such a good reminder to me tonight. I’m gonna keep trusting and keep pedaling!