Today a quiet piece of knowledge came to me. For a moment, I had a glimpse into the mind of my child, when she didn’t know I was watching, and I saw a side of her that isn’t normally obvious. She was fiercer than I normally see her, and I saw how differently she has interpreted some of her life’s experiences from what I expected.
Most parents will probably attest that one of the ongoing challenges of parenting is spending quality time with your children. What makes it especially tricky is that what defines quality time can be different with each parent and each child.
My eldest daughter loves to have a plan when it comes to spending time together. Her idea of quality “mommy time” requires advance knowledge of exactly what activities we will be doing and my active participation from start to finish.
I don’t know what planet I was on when I thought that when I became a parent all the skills I’d need would simply “come to me.” It wasn’t long before I realized that parenting, while it has brought countless incomparable joys into my life, is hard work. Every day seems to bring new challenges, but I know for a fact that being a parent has made me a better and happier person.
My grandfather, whom I called “Opa,” and I were best buddies. He sharpened my instincts and shared his love for nature during our weekly hikes in the woods.
Each weekend, I eagerly awaited the moment when I was dropped off at Opa and Oma’s one-bedroom apartment in a small town at the heart of Germany’s industrial center.
In the doctor’s office where I work, we have a regular patient by the first name of Blender. That is her legal, given name. I haven’t had an opportunity to ask about the back story, but I am so curious as to what made parents name their child after a kitchen appliance. Maybe it means something beautiful in another language. I have no idea!
When my first pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage, I wasn’t worried, I was angry. For weeks, I held it in, but finally, I literally raised my fist at God and told Him off. “You failed me!” was the gist of it.
Later, I realized I was already a couple of days pregnant when I had ranted. Holding a beautiful baby boy in my arms nine months later, I laughed at myself and my misguided words. I also asked God for forgiveness.
He lay covered in white hospital sheets, hooked up to a tangle of tubes and wires. As I approached, I barely recognized him—the pasty skin, the sunken cheeks—but when he opened his eyes and smiled at me, it was all I could do to keep from jumping into his arms like I always had. Grandpa, whom I loved more than anyone else in the whole world, had had a serious heart attack.
He was once quite tall and carried an air of confidence and authority wherever he went. When he was young, he dedicated every spare moment, including his holidays, to Christian youth ministry. He had gone through a personal conversion in his early twenties and was very zealous in his beliefs and practices. He’d organize summer camps in the mountains for flocks of youth who had just gone through the hard years following WW2 and needed a father or an older brother figure.