So today's blog will celebrate the parenting I see in my life!
I grew up with a fairly normal family - normal even down to the statistics about divorce, unfortunately. But despite the craziness of a split family, my parents did "family" really well. That may sound odd to you (I know it did to our premarital counselor when we started delving into family backgrounds about a year ago). Our family spent time together, found fun things to do, and my parents always made a place for our friends in our home. I grew up loving my family, loving the time we spent together, and we always had a friend or two or ten in tow.
My sister and her husband - now parents to three - have a parenting style very much influenced by Erin's free spirit. (My mother had two very different children -- see last post!) She's not dictated by schedules or other people's opinions. She chooses to do what's right and good for her family and she makes no apologies about it. I would have loved to have her as a mom because letting her kids take a day off from school to enjoy family or a small day trip doesn't even make her bat an eye!
As I did grow into my teenage years my mom learned to walk that very very fine line between parent and friend. She didn't overparent which made her easy to talk with but she didn't let me get away with crap either.
My Aunt Nona & Uncle Joel, almost 30 years and two kids later, still have a loving, affectionate marriage. They've always loved their kids, but they've also always treated their marriage like a priority. And their reward? They still like each other. They still want to spend time together. Someday I want that too!
My cousin Lisa and her husband Aaron are raising their two small boys in China - halfway around the planet from family and everything that is familiar. The payoff? Spending Christmases in Taiwan. Traveling around to the great historic sites in China. Jetting off to Germany or Italy or any number of other European countries. I know it's not all glitz and glam; they've made a lot of sacrifices to do what they do. But I admire their courage and determination.
And finally, I get to see, on an almost weekly basis, the parenting of our good friends JD & Michelle, who have three kids from kindergartner to infant. Their parenting is intentional and teaches their three how to make good choices. I can't recall how many times I've heard them tell one of the boys - "You just made a good choice!" Michelle routinely plans family fun nights, and they are a very cohesive, loving family. Yet, JD & Michelle - for as long as I've known them - always keep an open home for others. Family life still allows for life.
So, why all this reflection on parenting? Well, Ben & I are excited to tell everyone that we're expecting a baby of our own (September 11, 2010)! We had our first doctor's appointment today where we heard the little sprout's heartbeat and even saw our first glimpses of the tiny thing! The inevitable question is surprise or planned? We just smile and say somewhere in between. God has been gracious to us in so many ways and this is just our latest sign post on an incredible adventure.