Happily Even After
A Parent’s Prayer
by Stacey Noem
I don’t know about you, but for me it is the time of year where I could really use a little extra spiritual support.
It’s ironic in a way because of the “fall lull”– that time and space right between all the start up events associated with settling into a new school year and a new rhythm of family life, and the beginning of holiday season in full force.
Ostensibly, this is down time. I should be in a particularly good space. I should enjoy the changing of the seasons. Leaves falling everywhere. Hot cider on cold football Saturdays. Corn mazes and pumpkin carving.
But really, I just feel a bit tired.
And that is most apparent to me in parenting. As I go to bed or ride to and from work, I think of fun things I want to make a point of doing with the children when we have free time together around the house.
But when the free time presents itself…I am just a step off my game. I may feel a bit underinspired in the moment or just need to choose something a bit lower key. The problem is: I do that every time. There are very few times I take advantage of the opportunity to really engage the children fully.
It bums me out. But not in that “oh, gee, I’ll do better next time” sort of way. More in the existentially despairing, “I stink as a mom” sort of way. And I know the answer to THAT sort of “bummed out” is prayer.
So, in case you may feel similarly from time to time, I offer up this little prayer for your use. I copied it into my prayer book from something that was folded into a birthday card or anniversary card from a grandmother, or my mother-in-law, or aunt or great aunt – I really don’t remember which. But I am indebted to the women who parented before me and the woman who thought to pass this on:
Lord, as I live this day, renew in me:
The ability to laugh at my children’s antics
The time to share their moments of pride
The need to praise their separate strengths
The faith to trust their growing judgment
The patience to understand their changing moods
The virtue to forgive their disrespect
The openness to learn their ways and styles
The ears to hear what they are saying
The insight to embrace their doubts and fears
The tenderness to understand their broken dreams
And the wisdom to accept that their lives are built just one day at a time.
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