I went by my daughter’s house on my way home yesterday. She is such an amazing cook and since they are not much on eating leftovers, my wife and I get to help them not feel guilty about wasting food. We do eat leftovers – and like them. I believe some foods are even better when they are leftovers… but I digress. My point is, I got to see my grandson Charlie. I currently have two grandsons, Charlie and Callen, and I say “currently” because we are expecting another one around the end of April (Praise God from whom all blessings flow!). One of the side effects of this Man Cold I’ve had for almost a week is that I have been quarantined from them. My original plan was to just go to the door and pick up my rations and leave but that is not what happened. I need to confess to you that those little hands reaching out to me and that little pitiful I-just-woke-up-and-I-need-my-Pop voice was more than I could handle. I was weak and I gave in.
Now before you cast too stern of a judgment on me I have two points of rationalization for you to consider that were the basis of my decision to expose this sweet little sixteen month old to my infection. First, my daughter had obviously had a very bad day. She is the one that is carrying the new edition to our family and was in, what appeared to me, need of a few minutes of “mom” time. Since my wife was with me I took Charlie and went to the other room.
My second point of rationalization was that it was probably little Charlie who infected me with this horrid flu bug in the first place. He has been dealing with the kid version of the Man Cold for close to two weeks. Last week he was eating a cracker and decided it would be the spiritual thing to do to share with Pop. I declined the offer but the little guy can be very persistent with those blue eyes and all.
Still not convinced I was right to hold him in my condition? Well you are probably right. It was all about me. I wanted to be the hero. I wanted to rescue my daughter and be the “man” with Charlie but it was all about me. Here is the real sad truth, many times as a parent I used the same type of irrational logic with my own kids. Instead of doing what was best for them, I did what was best for me. I did not want to be the Big Bad Dad; I wanted to be Disneyland Dad! I wanted us to all just get along and on many occasions I said yes when I shouldn’t have. My own fear of rejection caused me to go along to get along, putting my kids in danger.
I love the way Eugene Peterson paraphrases Proverbs 13:24, “A refusal to correct is a refusal to love; love your children by disciplining them.” My interpretation of this verse is that if I really love my children (and grandchildren), I will do what is best for them and not what is most convenient for me. For years now there has been a cry rising up from the younger generations. The cry is, “I don’t need you to be my best friend, mom and dad, I need you to be my parents!”
Parenting and Grandparenting is not easy. Pray for me. I’ll pray for you. Also pray for Charlie’s cold!