Life: You're missing out.

I'm the Activities Coordinator (for one more day) for an apartment complex that houses the homeless + those at risk of becoming homeless. Being the AC means that there are days when my job is pretty easy (ok, it's easy pretty much all of the time) and I get to take kids to swim lessons, sit in on financial literacy classes, or play games with the kids (among some other things).

Yesterday, I was playing the game LIFE with a couple of boys... maybe 8/9. Both boys come from single-parent households + are just so fun to be around. One of the boys kept receiving babies... to the point that his 6-seat plastic SUV wouldn't hold any more people. That didn't stop him from spinning to receive TRIPLETS. Hahaha... It was actually pretty funny. But I want to focus on what happened next: he tried to pawn his triplets off on the other players. Now, I realize that it is just a game and he is young and it was because they wouldn't fit in his vehicle. I'm sure he didn't mean anything by it beyond the game, but it obviously struck a chord with me and I used it as a teaching moment (I'm sure he loved me haha). I said: Nope, you can't get rid of your children. You chose to go down the family path knowing that you might have children. And now that you have them, you have to take care of your kids... Grown-ups take care of their children, understand? He said yes and the game moved on and we had fun and I had a great time beating them to retirement.

But the chord was struck... and I can't unstrike (apparently, that's not a word) it, so I'll write a post about it to get it off my chest.

I will never understand parents (moms or dads) that do not want and/or make no effort to be involved in their children's lives (You can want to be a good parent, but if you are NOT a good parent...you're not a good parent. Simple enough.). Now, they always say never say never because you never know what could happen or what you would do in a circumstance... but knowing the uncertainties of life, I still choose to say never. I could never abandon/forsake/forget about/get too busy for/not see my child. A child that I birthed and had a part in making. No way. Wouldn't happen. (I realize that there are people who are unable to see their children because of the other parent's selfish decisions... I'm not talking to you. To you, I'd say keep trying.)

But to the ones that for whatever other reason, you choose not to spend time with your children, I say shame on you. How dare you go down a life path knowing full well that you might have children and then walk away from your responsibility once you do. Duh, with great power comes great responsibility... Spider-Man has been telling us for years that the power to have children is a huge responsibility (ok, maybe that's not exactly what Peter has been telling us, but pretty much). If you can't hang, get off the court. HOWEVER, if you've already signed up for the league, paid the membership fees, bought your jerseys + your shoes, showed up at practice, committed to the season... don't get off the court. Show up to the game (parenthood) and play to win.

You know... and I might more understand the ones who walk away without ever meeting their kids first. Sure, you're still an idiot and a bad parent, but at least you don't know what you're missing. You don't know your child and the amazing personality that God has given them. You haven't seen the way their eyes light up when they experience something for the first time. Shoot, you haven't seen them light up a room just by entering with their infectious spirit. You haven't seen them walk or laugh or talk or learn or dream or hope or grow or explore. You haven't seen how smart and talented and beautiful and funny and caring they are. So I might get it (but not really)... you haven't seen it, you don't know, so easy for you to leave and never look back.

But to the ones who have seen, experienced, known, been loved by their children, what's your excuse? I'm really curious to know... Because I can't comprehend how you wouldn't want to spend every minute that you could with them. I can't comprehend how you would willingly go days and weeks and months and years...lifetimes without seeing them or speaking to them. I can't comprehend what could be more important than loving a CHILD that YOU created, a child that probably thinks you hung the moon, a child that will probably love you so unconditionally throughout their life... even if you don't show up, even if you don't try, even if you don't play the game.

If you don't know what you're missing and if no one has told you this yet, let me be the first to say: You are missing out. We spend so much time saying how worse off our kids are when they don't have both parents (which is debatable)... but you are so much worse off, sir or ma'am. You are missing out on so much by not being there. I'd reconsider your decision to walk away. 

If you do know what you're missing, then I don't need to tell you...but it's my blog soooo: You're an idiot + you're missing out on some rare jewels. But you already know that. Man or Woman up. Get in the game. BE a parent.


Around the table | Volume 1

Some of my friends and I have this thing back home where we delve into life, with all its problems and triumphs, around my sister's kitchen table (or sometimes at a table at the local DQ or Bill Miller). To quote one of them: "This table is no respecter of persons or time." If you sit, you might find yourself in the hot seat. And it might seem like every time you sit at the table the spotlight is on you. Haha. It started very organically, just people needing other people. Around this table, we have shared, we have cried, we have grown, we have loved. Around this table, I have found grace and mercy and understanding. My soul is at ease around this table. I wanted to bring the table to the internet, so to speak... to use this post as a "what'd I'd share if we were sitting around that old, well-loved and sometimes hated table".

Around the table, I might start off and tell you that I cherish your friendship, because making friends is a lot harder to do when you're 25 than when you're 12. Do you remember how easy it was to strike up a conversation about Pokemon cards or pogs? And just like that... because you liked a couple of the same things and liked each other's graphic tees, you were best friends sharing any and everything. It doesn't always work that way when you're older, so thank you for your friendship.

Around the table, I might confide in you that sometimes I'm frustrated with where I'm at in life. Most of the time, I think I should be further along in life than I actually am. I might also tell you that I'm still not sure what I want to do with my life and this new degree. Part of me might be embarrassed by that. But all of me knows that you get it.

Around the table, I might tell you that this past year has been a real struggle to serve the Lord. I'd tell you that yes, I know he is good and yes, I know he is worthy (you'd tell me these things too) ... but I'd tell you that those facts do not change the uncertainty I have felt at times while finding my way. But don't worry, because I'd also tell you that no matter how I may feel I know for certain that God is faithful and I am lost without Him.

Around the table, my emotions might get the best of me as I try to explain the loneliness that is moving away from your family. Phone calls, text messages, and Skype dates are great, but they can't replace time spent with them. Words might not come... It's likely I'd just cry and let you hold me. And that might just be enough to get me through until the next trip home.

Around the table, I might mention the job I found out about yesterday!!!!!!!! I'd tell you that Saturday found me praying tear-filled prayers and sharing my frustrations with my family. I'd tell you that by Monday at noon, God had already answered it. And what do you know... he'd already been working behind the scenes where I couldn't see him. As DaddyEd said, "God is always working, so rejoice always".

Thanks for reading my random thoughts around the table... What would you share if it was just us (and some food) around a table?

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