When that first little bundle of joy comes into your home, you know he/she is going to be perfect, because you are going to be the perfect parent. Oh, how would it be!

Somewhere along about that first year, you discover that this little creature, for whom you would give your very life, is a totally separate human being. No matter how perfect you are as a parent, he doesn’t always respond as you expected him to do. When you are kind and loving, even adoring, he is supposed to respond in kind. But he doesn’t. You walk him; you feed him; you rock him; you sing to him; you snuggle him, and what does he do? He shrieks bloody murder!

Later on, you tell him not to pull the cat’s tail, so he pulls it. You tell him not to hit the dog, so he hits it. You tell him not to climb up on the table and break the china, so he climbs and he breaks. You tell him not to throw his food on the floor, so he throws it. You get the picture. Somewhere, somehow, someone chucked a monkey wrench betwixt your dreams and your reality, and it landed with a tremendous splash, all over you, yet!

What happened? This was your most adored little angel, and now there are times when all you want to do is put him in his crib, go out, close the door and pretend you are still a perfectly normal person, which of course, you are not. How could you be when your much adored, sweet smelling nemesis is screaming his head off behind that door, you know, that door that is supposed to be your magic carpet to sanity?

By now, you have discovered that you can be the perfect mother until the cows come home, but this little stinker is never going to be the perfect child. He is going to torment you within an inch of your sanity.

Right about then, when you are beginning to wonder how you got to be such a failure as a mother, he carries his crying little sister in from outside, sits down on the couch and cuddles and comforts her. You watch in astonishment as the little rascal who tormented her mercilessly a few minutes ago, kisses and hugs her, crooning comforting sounds that you recognize. Why? Because you have been crooning those very sounds to him since his birth, whenever he was in need of comfort.

The next day he drives you crazy while you try your best to get him to kindergarten on time. Soon, his teacher calls and tells you that your son has just stood strong and defended a smaller child, who was being picked on. She says you must be proud of having such a kind, brave boy. What is happening? Is this the boy who drives his little sister almost crazy?

Yes, this is, indeed, that boy. What is happening? That’s not too hard to figure out. The day, weeks, months and years of being the perfect mother (Oh, how would that be?) are beginning to pay off. You have been kind to him. You have been loving and protective of him, now he is mirroring what you have taught him. He is giving to others what you have given to him.

Bottom line? Keep your head up, Mom and Dad. You will get there. He will be a pain in the neck when he is a teenager, but he will outgrow it. Just train him in his duty to his Heavenly Father, while you are training him in his duty to his earthly parents and siblings. Teach him the importance of honor, of decency and virtue. Start the day he is born and never stop.

Last of all, model what you teach. Actions really do speak more loudly that words. The words are needed, but they don’t carry the weight your actions will carry.

Love him and send him out in the world. He will come back battered and scarred, but that is OK too. You are carrying a few scars of your own.

Until next time,




Return to the Neighborhood.


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3 comments:

    MARJA said...

    Absolutely wonderful and so true!
    Reading the first half, I realized how Blessed my husband and I are, I think Heavenly Father sent us two real Angels, because they have never ever been like that as baby's, or a pain in the neck as teenagers...
    We loved them, guided them, shared some very emotional moments with them, and they grew up to be very sweet, caring and loving people. We thank God for Blessing us this way, we are rich.

  1. ... on September 11, 2008 at 1:50 PM  
  2. Carpenters said...

    I really needed this...thank you....It was what I have been struggling with. Thank you....

  3. ... on September 14, 2008 at 12:45 AM  
  4. Cindy Beck said...

    Muriel,
    You really captured parenting in a nutshell ... and brought back "growing up" memories of my now grown son. Thanks for expressing it so well!

  5. ... on September 15, 2008 at 9:37 PM