At the end of last week Gene and I spent a couple of days helping our youngest daughter and our son-in-law move into their first “in the city” apartment. They are so excited! They love the big city and love being in the midst of it.
The first day we loaded the rental truck. The second day was moving day and it went quickly. Gene worked in the apartment putting up shelves since storage was minimal. He also fixed a few things in the apartment. I was assigned to stay in the truck to watch their belongings and hand Kerry and Leighton boxes to carry in. Kerry and Leighton made countless trips up and down the stairs to their apartment. Each time they had to unlock the outside door and open an interior door just to get into the building. Because of the particulars of living in the city, emptying the truck went more slowly. At the end of the day we left them with an apartment full of boxes. They did not have room to even set up their leftover-from-college futon. While I hated leaving them with an apartment in disarray, they couldn’t have been happier.
Living in the city is not Gene’s and my thing. Parking was crazy. As you see from the picture, the streets were lined with cars. It took me several tries to parallel park our mini-van—and that was with Kerry directing my every move. And so much traffic!
Their apartment is compact. Tiny bathroom and even tinier kitchen.
But you know what? They love it. And because they love it, we love it.
Gene and I have not always had good driving/parking experiences in the city. But we determined to not let our not-so-good past experiences keep us from being a part of our daughter’s great adventure. Gene and I talked about what didn’t work last time and then made a plan that dealt with those trouble spots. We were ready for the city!
Many parents check out when their kids make choices they don’t agree with. When the kids grow into adults it’s easy to say, “That’s not my thing. No thanks.” Anything out of their comfort zone and the parents find an excuse to not be involved. Last spring Katie and Joe moved to their new teaching jobs. When talking about their plans with the other graduate students, Katie shared that Gene and I would be coming to help them move (I think we’re too good at this!). No big deal, right? Wrong. The other students were emotionally touched by the fact that we were coming to help. Apparently their parents would not have done so.
Gene and I don’t always get it right with our kids. Because it is our deep desire to stay relevant, involved, and being a blessing in our kids’ lives, we keep trying. And often that means rolling up our sleeves and helping however we can. It means giving our time and resources. It also means sharing in their excitement when their decisions are not our preference.
We never outgrow the childlike desire for our parents to be proud of us. Give your child the gift of celebrating him and in doing so you will be giving yourself the gift of being in his life.
Moving Kerry and Leighton was work and took us out of our comfort zone. We came home bone tired. But what a special couple of days. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
Where in your child’s life could you give of yourself–time, resources, encouragement, talents–to be involved in your child’s life?
*For more ideas on nurturing relationship with your child, check out Love No Matter What: When Your Kids Make Decisions You Don’t Agree With.
Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.