Once a Parent Always a Parent


Don’t worry about anything. Instead pray about everything.  Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done.  If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.
–Philipians 4:6 (NLT)

At this time of the year when love is on our minds, I think of my children. Of all the people I’ve treasured in life and all the individuals I’ve cared for, I’ve never known greater love for any living thing than I do for my kids. When my daughter was born I changed so completely, it took me by surprise.  I went from a self-involved workaholic to a doting, over-protective mother. As any parent is aware- that need to safeguard and shield a child never leaves us. Mother was still trying to take care of me at the age of eighty-five! Now I understand the saying, “once a parent, always a parent.”

Meagan has been a particularly stimulating child even from the day she took her first step. Her body clock was wound tightly, and her engine never seemed to need a rest.  She could doze for a fifteen minute nap and hit the floor running for the next four to five hours. A human Energizer Bunny!

When she was five, she decided to hide in the local Target store, and Jim and I were absolutely frantic.  After fifteen minutes, we had the front doors closed and locked and brought in the security guards and numerous personnel to find our wayward daughter. Thoughts of abduction flooded my mind with fear as we searched every nook and cranny in that huge mega facility. After a full thirty minutes, and many hysterical tears, she leaped from one of the overly crowded rounders in the women’s clothing department and gleefully shouted, “Mommy, Mommy, you can’t find me!” This was a precursor of things to come…

Meg’s idea of fun is to push every button and to crash through barriers. She is a dare-devil in every sense of the word, completely fearless about things that would normally frighten ordinary people.  She loves to drive fast and has several speeding tickets to prove it.  Our day in court before the judge was very sobering…at least for me.  I believe Meg thought of it as just another adventure!

Selling her car, taking away the computer and shutting down her cell phone have been necessary disciplinary measures for my adventurous child.  And even then–she seems to find ways around what she views as mere inconveniences. I’ve never met anyone more resourceful. I have every confidence that one day she will somehow channel all that wily ingenuity, and there’s simply no telling what she will accomplish.

During those sleepless nights when I’m tossing and turning, waiting to hear her key in the door- I remind myself of all the amazing things God has done for my audacious and daring child.  Like the time she flipped the new four-wheeler at her Uncle Richard’s farm and it landed full weight on top of her.  She walked away without a scratch.  Or, the time she developed a systemic kidney infection, due to the fact that she pushed herself to the point of exhaustion. She had a temperature that escalated to 107 degrees, and the infection was so wide-spread we thought we might lose her. I sat by her bed in the emergency room for hours, holding her hot and fevered hand until she once again became coherent.  Thankfully, God and some wonderful doctors, intervened on her behalf.  Of course, there were bike crashes and car accidents–all which could have left her seriously impaired. But, God was always there to look out for her, when I couldn’t.

The boyfriends I haven’t been comfortable with, the parties she doesn’t think I know about, and the endless array of other worldly concerns mothers share, keep me on my knees before God as my daughter travels this unhurried road to maturity.

Meagan is my steady lesson in maintaining peace. There have been times that I’ve been absolutely despondent over her choices and I’ve felt it had to be some flaw in me, some shortcoming in my parenting skills that caused her deliberate behavior.  I’ve wanted to go back in time and do things differently–to offer more comfort, more of my time, less of my criticism, more of my compassion. I think parents often blame themselves for the perilous roads their children choose to travel. No doubt, I have made mistakes and I wish I could rectify them, but time is not a gift that can be recaptured.  All we have is this moment.  And in this moment, I choose to be thankful for those beautiful gifts I recognize in my amazing child.

From the time she was talking, she’d stop me from stepping on a tiny ant on the sidewalk–feeling sympathy for its lowly estate and right to life. Her contagious laughter brings a smile to the face of anyone who hears it. Her zest for life makes the dreariest day come alive and sparkle. She can kick a soccer ball with such intensity and drive; it makes me want to shout at the top of my lungs. Her loyalty toward the friends in her life is something truly admirable, and it offers me great peace to know these gifts are resident within her, an endowment from the hand and heart of God.

I know I have trained her up in the reliable and constant ways of the Lord.  So when I hear that little voice in the Target store calling out to my heart, “Mommy, Mommy, you can’t find me!” I have immeasurable peace in the knowledge that God always knows exactly where my beautiful Meagan is, and He will always be there to guide her toward the right path, one step at a time.

©2009, Tamra Nashman 

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