My two delightful children are right in front of me playing firefighting. Both boys are fascinated with pretending to fight fires, and I am not sure which one loves it more. The fun escalates exponentially when my husband and/or I pretend with them. Personally, I have put out more fires than I ever thought I would. I have saved the same two stuffed bears millions of times, drug around miles and miles of pretend hose, dropped gallon after gallon of fire retardant from my helicopter. I even have my own plastic helmet with a dishtowel for a mask and have learned how to make the perfect breathing sound as if I were wearing a respirator.
They are all dressed up in their “gear:” “big heavy” coat, boots, helmet, oxygen tank made of a recycled oatmeal container, masks from our winter accessory box, old hand radios, fire megaphone, play fire extinguisher, etc…And I cannot help but think to myself that all of this will be ending before I know it. They will be moving on to another stage in their lives and all we will have of this time are our precious memories and pictures. They may or may not even remember it, but I will ever so clearly.
God is our heavenly father. As parents, we have been given these children by God to be their earthly mother and father. We do our best to guide and protect them and to try to make them feel more loved than they ever thought possible. I believe some of the best things about being a parent are watching someone from birth explore and learn about the world, discovering who they are as an individual and most importantly who God is and how immensely he loves them.
One of the most difficult things about being a parent is learning when NOT to be one. To be able to let children grow into the person they are meant to be: the person who God created them to be. For children to leave the nest, to find their place in the world, to be given the opportunity to spread their wings and fly.
All children are given to us from God, and some of our most significant jobs as parents are to teach, guide, protect and love them. Children especially need these things while they are in the formative years as we prepare them for the rest of their lives. However, they will always need our attention and infinite love. God entrusts us with his children and we as parents should feel so blessed to be chosen to be a part of something so incredible.
Melanie Sextro is a military wife and mother to two sweet boys. She is a member of St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City.