At church we’re getting ready for that time-worn summer tradition: Vacation Bible School. This year’s theme is Son Surf and we are learning a whole new lingo of surfing words and lots of stuff we didn’t know about surfing. It occurred to me that being a parent is a lot like surfing. Once you bring that little one home from the hospital, you suddenly start to acquire a whole new vocabulary:
- Baby sign
- Vaccination protocol
- Preschool accreditation
- Fifth’s Disease
And you are forced to learn a whole new balancing routine:
- Who stays home from work if the child is sick?
- How many ice packs are required to keep breast milk cool all day?
- How far apart in age can they be and still share a bedroom?
- How are you supposed to be at open house at two schools on the same night?
- Should you buy them a car or make them earn it?
Like a surfer riding the waves, every parent will be forced to contort into a wide variety of poses just to stay on the board. And every one of us will fall off from time to time, get thoroughly soaked, and even fear that we may drown. And like surfing, no two days will ever be the same. No two kids will ever be the same. Some kids will hardly make a ripple in the routine of your life. Other kids will enter your life like tsunamis, and you will have no power to prevail against them. Most kids will roll in and out like waves, some big, some small. You will have to crouch low or lean into the wave and continuously adjust to keep your balance.
Some surfing advice: Don’t forget to breath. Get back on the board if you fall off. Remember that little adjustments can have big results. It’s supposed to be fun – don’t miss the fun of surfing today because you are worrying about tomorrow’s waves. This is the only time you will ever get to surf these particular waves.
God has called you for this child and will equip you for this task. You will find help in places you least expect and allies among people you might have avoided in other chapters of your life. You will respond to your children in inspired ways. You have the capacity to keep adjusting your balance for the rest of your life. You are made of stuff that can get wet without melting. And every now and then you will catch a bodacious wave and ride it for what seems like a year. There’s nothing like it – and when the waves get rough you can remember that!