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Parenthood... just takes your breath away sometimes

Today, I am so reminded of the quote "To have a child is to decide forever to let your heart go walking around outside your body". I first saw that on a poster almost 25 yrs ago when I was sitting in a darkened gymnasium at Wanamaker Elementary School in Topeka, waiting on my kindergarten and first grader's Christmas program to start. I scribbled it down on a scrap of paper in my purse and now that scrap hangs on the bulletin board in my office. It's so true.

Last night, a friend posted on Facebook asking for prayers for her son who is going through some very difficult things right now...it gave me goosebumps, remembering my own times of worry for my children. Does that ever end? Never. I laid awake last night thinking about so many other parents I know right now....one whose son's wife has been diagnosed with brain cancer, one who is raising her grandchildren because her own daughter is in jail for drugs for several years, a father whose son just got his driver's license and first job, a couple who have taken their kids in because of financial difficulties, a woman whose son has advanced leukemia, parents whose son is graduating from college this semester and will become a doctor, a mother who has two children in the military right now and both are in war zones, parents who have moved in with their children, a couple whose son is in his third attempt at rehab and faces alot of jail time afterwards....there is nothing easy about being a parent. If anyone ever told you there was, they lied. It is full of rewards and heartaches, watching your children go through things you would not wish on your own worst enemy, let alone a child you held in your arms and cradled when he or she had a fever or cheered on when they rode their bike down the street for the first time without training wheels. There are so many times you beam with pride and so many times your heart is just crushed. But who of us would trade a single minute of watching our children grow and sharing their lives, good or bad, happy or sad, in triumph and in sorrow. I have to think about my daughter and her wonderful husband, awaiting the birth of their first child any day now...they have so much to look forward to. So much joy they cannot even imagine it yet. So many adventures, so many trials. I am so happy for them...I worry about the world my little granddaughter will grow up in, but I know she will be surrounded with people who love her and who have dreamed huge dreams for her already.  There's no real way to tell someone what it will be like to be a parent...you just have to live it. I say a prayer every day and thank God for the gift of my children.

"To have a child is to decide forever to let your heart go walking around outside your body."...what a ride!
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