Last weekend, my youngest turned TWO. We just had a little family party…well I guess with us there is no such thing as a “little” family party! 🙂 I mean when you have 8 kids in the house, that’s more than most kids have at a birthday party anyway. So, we were having this party and as I was sitting there watching Andie open her presents, I was suddenly struck by something. This has been a momentous year of birthdays at the Whipple house. Honestly, it caught me somewhat off-guard. I had realized it with each individual, but hadn’t put together how many of our 8 children were hitting somewhat momentous, milestone birthdays…all at once!
It started in January with Aisley turning 5…no longer a preschooler, starting Kindergarten this year.
Then in March, my oldest, Aly, turned 18…no longer a kid, an adult, graduating High School and going to college this fall. (I have a blog pending on this…kinda tough to write about, if you know what I mean)
Then in April, we celebrated my #2 daughter, Aubrey’s 16th birthday …we all know how momentous that is!
This past weekend, the aforementioned Andie turned 2 (See my wife’s blog about that too)…momentous because that means there is technically no more baby in the house. Could “no more diapers” be far away? I hope so!
Next week we’ll celebrate my son Aaron’s 13th birthday…no longer a child, but “officially” a teenager.
In June, we’ll celebrate my # 4 daughter, Anna Beth’s 11th birthday…momentous because she is finishing 5th grade…no longer an elementary kid, but moving on up to Middle School this fall.
Along with these, Abby (#5) turned 9 and Aidan (#6 and the only one born in the fall) will turn 8 in October. While not some of the traditional “milestone” years, very significant nonetheless as it is just a reminder that they are quickly growing up too.
I gotta tell you, it was kind of emotional to think about. In some ways it is sad to see them growing up, but in other ways it is exciting to see them becoming who God intends them to be. Parenting is tiring, tough, frustrating, stressful at times. However, the other side of the coin is if we will do the hard work, parenting can be joyful, exciting, rewarding, teen years can be fun, relationships can grow, we get to see God mold and shape His creation for His purposes (and somehow he trusts us with part of that!). My prayer and hope and goal is the same as John’s in 3 John 1:4:
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
We have been talking about Leaving A Lasting Legacy @ The Ridge this month. As I have reflected in recent weeks on the momentous milestones we are experiencing in our family, I can’t help but think of how awesome a privilege and responsibility it is to shape the next generation. It makes me want to be more diligent and intentional in my own walk as I seek to pass it along to these that God has entrusted to me for what is really a VERY SHORT TIME.
For what it’s worth, from an old guy who should not still be changing diapers, let me tell ALL of you young parents and parents to be out there… who are struggling with sleepless nights, nasty diapers, endless laundry, spit up on the carpet, Cheerios in the back seat of your car, muddy footprints in the house, bikes and balls all over the yard and garage, and a bunch of other things that may drive you crazy and tire you out… something my mom told me 18 years ago when my first one was born. It is something many have said, but few understand until the time is gone: Enjoy the years. Take the time to invest in these precious blessings. Don’t put it off a day longer. The time really does go by FAST!
1 These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you.
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deut. 6:1-9)