20 Jun 2018

You are the best parents for your child(ren): this thing about Legacy...

She turned 18 yesterday.

She says, "it's just another day".
The law says, "Now young lady, you may purchase alcoholic beverages and smoke and drive".
Her friends say, "time for a surprise, cards, gifts!"

Her parents, yes me and the dh, are predicatably busy and we took her to lunch with some friends who are staying with us. She shared a main course with me, didn't even need some special birthday dish of her own.

This morning, she let me read a couple of sweet cards her friends wrote her. Not to be outdone, I wrote her one, declaring it Da Best Card eva!

Someone wisely said:

we are not leaving a legacy for, we are leaving a legacy in our children.

To leave a legacy for amounts to storing up treasure to hand down. But a legacy you leave in someone, is a part of them, forever. I choose the latter (not to mention the former is a bit paltry).

Honestly, turning 18 must be a big deal. But we are tired from a busy month of work and had guests in the house. She has been studying hard for her upcoming exams...and told us not to go to any expense (see comment above).

I was feeling a tad guilty, wondering if I should have done more. I will ask her again if there is more we can do. For now, I turn to gratitude (far better than guilt friends!).

Then I realised something, as my memory kicks in.

Her birthday is for me (it sounds horribly selfish until you read on please).

The last few months, there have been very significant conversations and happenings. Even as I write this, God is giving me a birthday special for the last 18 years by showing me glimpses of who my daughter is becoming and what I have sown into her life all these years. I'll just share a few:

Last month when I was cleaning out some stuff, I took out a large box where I had kept items from their earliest days: first shoe, first dress from grandma, a favourite book... The daughter took one look and said, "Mom, give them away!".  When she was 13, I thought to take her shopping for clothes, coz most of the growing years we lived on hand-me-downs and purchases by me. After two hours of milling around, we bought two tee-shirts from Giordano and decided that talking over ice-cream was more fun.

Spiritual hunger
More than once, she comes to me with tears, wondering why God feels distant and is silent. I want to bang on God's door to demand passage for her. But he knows the journey she must take. It's a journey that began with spiritual sensitivity even at a tender age. She responded to an altar call at age three, writing to ask for the Holy Spirit. She had prophetic dreams. Then her conscience and her brains took centre-stage as she debated the merits of the faith. Yes this one who asked questions since age seven:
"Isn't it God's fault for putting the tree there in the first place?"
"How can anyone be good enough for heaven?"
"What if it's a hoax?"
We discussed, debated and opened up books and our own lives to her.

I opted for her to do a study program that is broader and she went to a Catholic school. More questions!

Thankfully she does not seem to have my melancholy, but she is very sensitive to the moods, atmosphere, needs and vibes of people and situations. She is the in-house psychologist who makes us take online personality tests so we can put each other in boxes, reminds her parents to go on dates, and worries her little head off about her kid brother who is totally unlike her, and seriously beyond her depth as a result.

She is also many things I am not and I am amazed.


She can clean better than me, take incredible photos, knit and soothe fussing children.

Ok, I still cook better.

When she was still a toddler, God told me he had entrusted an all-rounder to me, and I wondered how I would raise someone like that, my own strengths being quite limited. Quickly, I learnt that parenting is an enterprise best embarked on with God at the helm. At every turn, he assured, assisted and amazed me with His wisdom, gifts and goodness.

We had difficult times.
I made countless mistakes.
Patience wore thin on occasions.

God parented me while I parented her, for sure.

With this birthday reflection piece, I am humbled at how God grew me as a person through my parenting journey.

God also parented her, and in fact He is moving centre-stage as the perfect Parent she needs.

Yes, when reminiscing, it is true we will have a positive bias. It's not a bad thing if it inclines us to gratitude and puts hope in our hearts!

18. Having struggled and surmounted not a few mountains, it feels goo to be able to say that I have grown up with the kids. Now it's time to grow wide and older with them. (O wait, I still have a 12 year-old who is currently playing Minecraft. Tune in for his story!).

Your turn:
What glimpses of God are you getting through your parenting?Where do you see yourself in your children?How can you intentionally impart a legacy that will honour God and serve them well for the world they are to steward?

You can read more about my journey with her here:

The power of planning
It's a wild ride, enjoy it!
Media addictions
the war you must win!
How to bless your children

For all my posts of parenting, type 'parenting' in the search box on the right!

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