Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Puzzle Pieces of Parenting

I was one of a family of six, two parents, two sisters, and a brother. I was number three child so I was in the middle. I liked our big, busy family and as a girl dreaming of what my life would be like, I always saw me in the same type of family. I started babysitting as soon as I was old enough and played house when I was in someone else's house. I remember organizing the dresser drawers of one little boy I watched! Wonder why I didn't carry that desire into my own adult life! I like to have organized closets and drawers but somehow it isn't as fun when it is real! Our closet has a split personality! Jeff's side is perfect with everything exactly where it should be and then there is my side. That is another post by itself! At the age of twenty-six I had my first baby and so the dream became a reality. As much experience as I had with babies somehow it didn't carry over in the beginning of motherhood. With the cradle in our room I would panic at the sound of Rebekah rustling around. I mean what do you do with a newborn that shouldn't be hungry, has had her bath, and doesn't have a dirty diaper! So my journey as a parent began and as much as I thought I was prepared, I had so much to learn! At the time Jeff played guitar and banjo and sang backup for Marty Robbbins. They traveled a portion of every week so I was totally responsible for this baby a lot! He even had to leave the night we brought Rebekah home from the hospital! Thank goodness my mom and dad were with me at the time! But eventually they had to get back to their own lives in Texas. We had no family in Nashville to help me. Jeff's family lived six hours away and mine ten. I had to put on my big girl shoes! I'm so glad Rebekah didn't arrive with the ability to talk. Can you just imagine the tales she could tell about her rookie mom? But somehow we both survived and it must not have been too painful as I repeated the process three more times! Now we are talking about some serious parenting! Somehow the other three didn't come in the exact same package as the first one. Even though I was more confident in my baby skills, I constantly had to adjust and add more skills. And so the title of this post, "Puzzle Pieces of Parenting.". The basic skillset of parenting is the ability to put in place tactics correctly in the lives of our children that fit properly for each personality. And like a puzzle it requires trial and error to get it right. Even though we are frequently wrong with our first attempt, we have the chance to shuffle things around and try again. With patience and persistence the picture can become a beautiful work of living art!
Jeff and I have totally loved being parents even with all the ups and downs that accompany the job! And yes, we have had to confront ups and downs. Our family has been very "normal" in that category! But to give credit where credit is due, our children allowed us to work out the kinks and continue in forward motion. And for that I am very thankful! Several people have asked me to write a parenting book. I'm
certain it is because they think with four kids a person would have experienced the gammit! One afternoon Abby and I were resting on my bed and I began jotting down things I thought were helpful in our parenting journey. When I stopped I had listed fifty-five!
It was like a trip back in time and my life was flashing before me! I was entertaining myself and laughed out loud as I recalled specific scenes of Jeff and I doing our best to figure out how to function in this craziness we call life with children! I don't think I'm organized or disciplined enough to write a book ( you should see my recipe box! ) but I am good at making lists and am glad to share anything we did
that might be useful to those of you who are at any stage of parenting. Please don't assume we thought of every idea ourselves. Remember everything is original only once and then it is up for grabs! Who cares if you thought of it yourself or not, in the parenting business you should take advantage of anything and everything you can get your hands on to ensure success! This list will come in more than one post so hang in there with me! I wish only the best as you diligently place the pieces of your parenting puzzle together to create a breath taking picture you will cherish for a lifetime.


  1. I've been waiting for your parenting stuff to start in earnest. Someone once said, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating." I've watched you and Jeff parent all four of your kids. Your children are among my favorite people in the world. They are people of faith. People of principle. People of discipline. People with courage and joy. I know that is primarily because of God's grace and their choices. However, you and Jeff created a wonderful atmosphere for them, and gave them every reason to become what they are. You also were diligent to remove as many obstacles as you could, and to protect them from Satan. That is why you have great credibility when you speak of parenting. Can't wait to start on your list!

  2. I'm excited to read more - thanks for sharing your thoughts. Truly, you're a great writer Mrs. Nancy!

  3. YEA! Can't wait to read more of your parenting advice. LOVE the title of your post and love YOU!!!

  4. Great job as always Nancy. Your humbleness in all your successes with raising your children comes through so clearly. You always manage to make me laugh as I think back on my own child rearing experiences. Your Mom and Dad did a good job in raising you too!