Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Blessings of Eternity Begin Now

As I logged on to enter this post, "When I'm 64" by the Beatles started playing. Very fitting for what I want to put here. I love that song. I put it on my playlist because it reminds me of my son, G, who also loves that song. He's such a cute kid. If you've never gotten to meet him, I hope you someday will. I feel blessed and lucky to be his mom. I assure you that all that he is has nothing to do with me. It's because God made him who he is. He's a great blessing to me--always making me laugh. I hope you all have children like that--that you just know God placed in your life as a gift to make you happy.

I don't mean to single him out. All of my children make my heart happy. All of them provide their challenges but all of them are such huge blessings. What would I do without even one of them? I'd hate to have to find out.

I found, when my siblings and I gathered together as we knew our mother's death was imminent, how interesting it was that each of us had our own role to fill. My sister was the compassionate supporter. My oldest brother was the protector. My second brother was the doer--filling all the physical needs--the gravesite, the casket, etc. My third brother was the silent strength. I was my mother's advocate. My younger brother was my dad's support. These pieces fit together to fill every need. It was amazing to realize, but I also saw that those personalities had always existed in us. We had always been those things, but it was in time of greatest stress that they came through clearest.

It is remarkable now to see those same traits in my own children. I can see what needs they will meet as they grow and as our family changes and progresses. What a miracle! What an amazing part of an eternal plan!

My good friend, Bambi, sent me this today. I will admit that right now it doesn't take much to hit my heart strings in just the right way. This did it for me.

The Price of Children

This is just too good not to pass on to all. Here is something absolutely positive for a change. We have repeatedly seen the breakdown of the cost of raising a child, but this is the first time we have seen the rewards listed this way. It's nice.... !

The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140.00 for a middle income family. Talk about price shock! That doesn't include the cost of post-secondary education.

But $160,140.00 isn't so bad if you break it down. It translates into:
* $8,896.66 a year,
* $741.38 a month,
* $171.08 a week.
* A mere $24.24 a day!
* Just over a dollar an hour.

Still, you might think the best financial advice is: don't have children if you want to be 'rich'.
Actually, it is just the opposite.

What do you get for your $160,140.00?
* Naming rights. First, middle, and last!
* Glimpses of God every day.
* Giggles under the covers every night.
* More love than your heart can hold.
* Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs.
* Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies.
* A hand to hold usually covered with jelly or chocolate.
* A partner for blowing bubbles and flying kites.
* Someone to laugh yourself silly with, no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day.

For $160,140.00, you never have to grow up.
You get to:
* finger-paint,
* carve pumpkins,
* play hide-and-seek,
* catch lightning bugs,
* never stop believing in Santa Claus.

You have an excuse to:
* keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh,
* watch Saturday morning cartoons,
* go to Disney movies, and
* wish on stars.

You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother's Day, and cards with backward letters for Father's Day.

For a mere $24.24 a day, there is no greater bang for your buck. You get to be a hero just for:
* retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof,
* taking the training wheels off a bike,
* removing a splinter,
* filling a wading pool,
* coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and
* coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.

You get a front row seat in history to witness the:
* First step,
* First word,
* First bra,
* First date,
* First time behind the wheel.

You get to be immortal. You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you're lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren and great-grandchildren. You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no college can match..

In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there under God. You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them without limits, so one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost. That is quite a deal for the price!!!!!!!

Love & enjoy your children & grandchildren & great-grandchildren!!!!!!! It's the best investment you'll ever make!!!!!!!!!

With the age range of my children being what it is, I feel like I take part in these things every single day. When I read about "butterfly kisses and velcro hugs," I tried to picture what a "velcro hug" was. I then realized it's what I get every morning. When we gather for family prayer, halfway through, without fail, T gets up off his knees as he says, "Hi, Mom!" and comes over and puts his arms tightly around my neck. He stays this way through the rest of the prayer.

So, I have come to one conclusion...
I don't ever want him to grow up. I don't ever want that sweetness to end.


Jen {Bakerette.com} said...

Beautiful post Julie! Yes, we all do fill a spot in our families. Mine is the listener. There's no way I would compete for the microphone cuz I'd always lose out. I always say that our children are a blessing and a curse...but more blessings. Thanks for reminding me of those blessings.

Unknown said...

Julie, I can't remember if I've commented here before, but I have to say you have a beautiful family and a wonderful perspective.
And I suspect the sweetness won't end even when that little guy does grow up.

Anonymous said...

I can totally relate to never wanting them to grow up or for those special times to change. Even though my life is completely insane with 3 little boys--I wouldn't trade it for life before children. It's so funny to see things through their eyes. Tonight as they ran up and down the hall laughing the whole time, I tried to mentally lock those little giggles in my memory vault. We're so lucky to be moms!

Alyson said...

I don't ever want him to grow up. I don't ever want that sweetness to end.

Oh yeah. I don't even know how many thousands of times now I've wished I could stop and just live in that moment, in that period, and never let anyone change.

And yet they do change, and life gets even better, and I want to freeze it again.

Tami said...

Holding those little sticky hands are my favorite part. Thanks for making my day.

vaxhacker said...

Wonderful post, thanks, Julie!

I can't think of anything I'll do in my life more time-consuming, more difficult, or costly in monetary terms, more fraught with peril, or a source of more frustration and heartache. And yet nothing I do will be more precious, priceless, or a source of more joy and fulfillment. I wouldn't miss this for anything in the world.

Debra/Mom said...

Julie, They DO grow up and you will miss them. But I wouldn't change it for anything. My children have grown into such wonderful adults. And there are the grandchildren to look forward to. :)

The Garver Family said...

My heart just swelled to twice it's size just from reading this and knowing that I've had some of these things and will have these things to look forward to. It's never ending. I love it.

Thank you.

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