#2 – My kiddos
So, this is a no brainer, I know. Of course I am thankful that I am able to have kids, and I am blessed to have these little people who I can love unconditionally, and that love me back just the same. But the experience of having children has been a multidimensional one for me, and a very humbling one at that. They have probably had the largest overall impact on my life (outside my parents). So along with everything else, I am thankful for that reminder of my humanity, my weaknesses and at times my strengths.
Not gonna lie, it’s been hard, sometimes painstakingly so (and they are not even teenagers yet!). You have these expectations of what YOUR children will be like (vs. all those other crazy kids out there) and you have expectations of what you will be as a parent. We all want perfect kids, but at least I can speak for myself when I say my kids are a far cry from perfect. Very early on, you realize they are individuals in their own right, with quirks and character probably very different from what you could have imagined or hoped. They are cute, and funny and lovable, and they are also really gross, and loud and messy, and they manage to get themselves in some sort of mischief about 90% of the time. 🙂 That was a tough realization for me. I was never perfect, far from it, but I was always the “good” kid. I stayed out of trouble, shared my toys, and was always mortified at that idea of disappointing my parents, even from an early age. To realize I don’t have as much control as I thought I would was an adjustment to say the least. There are so many unexpected twists and turns, it’s hard to account for anything. You just have to do your best under the circumstances and leave the rest to Allah (swt).
Anyway, in parenting, you get to know yourself on a whole other level. You find strengths in yourself that you never imagined existed, but having children also exposes and exaggerates character flaws that you may previously have never identified in yourself. It’s really humbling, and the ultimate test I think – more so even than marriage. If you REALLY want to know yourself, have a kid. Best way to find out more about the true you, and from that, depending on what you do and how you handle it all, it becomes a growing experience.
It also puts life, and your place in it, into perspective. When you are cleaning up blue pewk at 3 AM (courtesy of a cookie monster cupcake, complete with blue sprinkles), you realize you are no longer the center of your own existence. You have to get up, no matter how tired, or sick you yourself might even be. You just do it and then you go comfort the little creature crying from the shock and the grossness of it all 🙂
Your vanity goes out the window when your children decide it’s easier to wipe their hands and faces on you rather than find a napkin or towel. 🙂 But a little of that is good for the soul and makes you more easy going about certain things in life because you come to realize how little control you have over it. One day at a time…
For me, I’ve realized I’m not nearly as patient as I thought I was, and I’ve probably yelled more in the last 4 years than I think I have in my entire previous existence. It makes you understand what your parents went through, what all the fuss was about growing up, and just increases your love and appreciation for them.
There are lots of rough days, and there are lots of great days, alhamdu lillah. Craziness is a constant in our household. And many times, you just wonder, what did I do wrong, and WHY are my children so loud when both of his parents are (and were growing up) pretty quiet people! 🙂 But its all part of the ride. You realize how much of an individual each child is, which is AMAZING (subhan Allah), when you realize they both had the same parents.
So I’m thankful for their energy, and their personalities (because I have to admit, my kids (particularly Maalik) are pretty funny characters :). May Allah bless them with health, prosperity, a kind heart full of rahma, and increased iman iA, and all the other good stuff every parent prays for.