As a parent, I am constantly working to improve my game. Usually, patience is the skill I am honing. I spend a lot of time trying to develop patience through reading, prayer, time outs, and deep breathing. My children help me by providing plenty of situations to practice patience.
This week has been different. This week my parental skill challenge has been courage.
We are a political family. One of the first things that attracted me to my husband was his politics. When there is an election, there are signs in the front yard, stickers on the van bumper, and often the name of our candidate across our chests. During the last presidential election our oldest represented our candidate in a school-wide forum. One of my sons wrote in our Christmas letter that the highlight of the year for him was meeting Congressman Chandler.
If we lived in Tucson, we would have been at that grocery store.
This past Saturday a junior at a local high school set out in a car with her sister. The roads were clear. The sun was shining. It was 2:30 in the afternoon. When her light turned green, she turned onto the main road, and was hit by a driver running a red light. This vivacious young lady died instantly.
My oldest just got his driver’s permit. What could be a better time to practice driving than a sunny Saturday afternoon with clear roads?
Weeks like this one make you hold onto your children a little tighter. This kind of week opens your eyes to the blessings of ordinary days. It makes your heart ache for those whose days will never, ever be the same.
I knew when I became a parent that I would struggle with patience, but I did not realize how much courage parenting would take. My favorite, favorite moment of the day is at night when I know all my children are safe in their beds. Who knew the social life of a teen could wreak more havoc on a mom’s sleep schedule than a newborn?
As much as I would like to duct tape my kids into their beds, I won’t. I won’t let my fears smother my hopes for them. Among my hopes are that they will be good citizens, that they will believe in the power of their voice and reason to change things for the good, and that they will be independent.
If Congressman Chandler comes to a supermarket near us, we will be there. Saturday afternoon my son will practice driving. And I will practice courage.