Every night, I try to pray over my babies as I put them to sleep. When I do so, I find myself going through a list of wish-fulfillment. I mean, who doesn’t want good things for their children? Sometimes, I find that my prayers seem to be a way to try and manipulate and control God. Other times, it is out of genuine belief.

Here is what I try to pray for my kids (obviously not all-inclusive) and the thoughts that go through my head while praying:

1) That they would be healthy and live long, meaningful lives. Not really sure what that means or looks like, but I’ll know it when I see it.

2) That they would be spared suffering. But then I think that a life without suffering tends not to produce people of character, hope, or perseverance. So then, I think, perhaps just enough suffering. Not too much that it breaks my children, but not too little that it breaks them a different way.

3) Crap. Perhaps I should just pray for resilience. That they can bounce back from things. But then, I don’t want them to be too self-reliant and not ever learn to trust in God. Or be too glib.

4) I want my kids to be smart and work hard. To know that just because you’re smart and things come easily doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have to work hard and settle for just getting by. (That would be my entire academic career. Oh, let’s call a spade a spade. My entire CAREER, too.)

5) I pray for my kids to have their heart take after God’s own heart. That they love the poor, are humble, and have compassion. That they see beyond the physical.

6) I pray for my children to value the insides of a person. To want to be a person of character as well as seek people who have character.

7) I pray for my kids to be incredibly good looking.

8) I pray for them to be funny – both to me and to people in general.

9) I pray for them to choose to believe in God and Jesus not because they were force-fed it as children, but because they have vibrant, full faiths of their own.

10) I beg God to protect my children from evil. I ask God to protect their hearts and their spirits and their physical bodies.

11) I pray that DD knows her value as a person and as a woman and doesn’t throw herself away at “inessential penises” (to quote Daughter of Smoke and Bone). Of course, I realize that I presume she is going to be heterosexual – which is somewhat of a prayer only because anything else will be hard for her. (See item 2. However, if she is something other than heterosexual, I will always love her and support her and who she is meant to be.)

12) I pray that DS also knows his value as a person – and becomes a man who values women and isn’t threatened by or use them. (Same thing goes for heterosexuality assumptions, here.)

13) Inevitably, I pray God helps me be a good parent.

I can’t remember any more off the top of my head, but like I said before. Not all-inclusive. What do you pray/hope for your children?

Sorry for not blogging yesterday. I’ll be out of town for the next week or so to attend the funeral of my maternal grandmother. I must be crazy because I am taking DS and DD without DH. At least my brother will be on the flight there with me (good practice for him, LOL) and my mom will be on the flight back. Did I mention that it’s 12.5 hours to Taipei plus a layover and then another 2 hour flight to Kaohsiung? On the way back, it’s another 2 hours. At least we’ll get to take the high speed rail so DS will see a train. 😀

Of course, my passport had expired and I had put off getting DD’s passport so I paid through the nose to get them rushed and done by a company (so I wouldn’t have to haul everybody all over San Francisco to get it done by myself). Plus that and the tickets (last minute, natch) and hotel, etc. Whew. I am very grateful that we have enough savings/income that although this does hurt (because it is NOT cheap), it doesn’t wipe out our savings or make even that much of a dent. We have so much and I am grateful that we have it because otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to go.

Speaking of which, what’s with my crazy family trying to do all they can to dissuade me from attending? I realize that they say they’re just thinking of me and the kids, but geez! It’s making me feel very unwanted and in the way! I’m pretty sure I knew that it would be sucky when I said I’d go, didn’t I? I have been a mom for a few years, yes?

Ok. Back to packing.

Tonight, DS gave DH a roll call of all the things he loves. Basically, he loves EVERYTHING. Lol. He loves everyone in his life and the characters of Avatar: The Last Airbender, all his trains and cars and toys, etc. What a wonderful life he has – to love all that is in it. Makes me all misty. 😀

I don’t know if it’s a result of the book I just devoured in one sitting or just my mood, but I feel as if I’m floating through my life. I was holding DD tonight when she woke up crying and I thought, “Where did my day go? Did I even pay attention to DD?”

I mean, I realize that I obviously take care of my children and though I give them a lot more independence than I used to, I’m not exactly neglectful. I am trying to be more purposeful with not always being on the phone or just counting down the clock. And yet, somehow, today passed and now it’s gone. DD is 8.5 months already, on the cusp of walking, and I truly can’t believe it. Where did the time go? How am I not soaking in every single second and instead, just trying to get through the day? Why am I not more mindful?

DD is getting so big. When I hold her, it’s more like holding a toddler than a baby. (And I suppose that’s exactly what she is: a toddler. She is toddling!) How is this happening?

Then I think back on last week’s HI trip and how I yelled at DS and spanked him a little too often and I feel guilt upon guilt. My dear little boy heaps grace upon grace on me. Even when I’m annoyed or mean or not perfect, he still wants me and loves me and adores me. How can I be so mediocre at times? How do I deserve any of his love? Or any of DD’s love?

Our time is so precious and so short. How can it pass so quickly and yet so slowly? I must strive to be more mindful and purposeful. I don’t want to have any regrets. *sigh* Off to be weepy.

I know. It’s another “Daddy” post. Some really close family friends came over this afternoon to drop off some yummy treats they picked up in Taiwan just for us (ok, for DS) and we got to talking about our families. I am so honored that my friend’s wife (and now, my good friend) was willing to confide in me some of her family’s drama (very similar to mine). I am struck anew – and I don’t know why it always surprises me and yet fails to surprise me – at how many families have fathers who just suck shit. (Seriously, there just isn’t any better way to put it.)

The cynical part of me is like, “Yup. Go figure. Another asshole, cheating, adulterous dad.” The hopeful part of me is like, “Damn. Another family torn apart by a cheating, adulterous, asshole dad.”

Hmm… both parts sound kinda similar.

Anyhow, I am just so grateful that DH is a man of good character. Though it is early on in our marriage and life together (10 years is nothing in terms of a lifetime), I am confident that my children will not have to suffer in the same ways that I did. I will invent NEW ways for them to suffer! BWAHAHAHA! (Wait – no.) I am determined to break this cycle THIS generation. That DH and I will carve out a new and whole family out of both of our family dysfunctions.

Of course, my children will realize eventually that DH and I are human and will fail and disappoint them constantly and surprisingly. But I beg of God all the time to shield my children from violence, adultery, and whatever else my father inflicted upon my brother, mother, and I.

I often have to remind myself that not only does that mean being grateful for DH’s character, but for ME to also be a person of great character. That’s a little harder to come by. But for my children, I will do no less.

Just finished I Love You And I’m Leaving You Anyway by Tracy McMillan and I feel all sorts of sad. I just want to grab my babies and hug them and kiss them and protect them from any possible hardship, suffering, or sadness for as long as possible. I know it’s impossible. However, I will do everything in my power to limit the deep, soul-crushing, life-altering type of pain my own father inflicted upon my brother, my mother, and I.

Everything my father has done reverberates through me. I beg God that it ends here with me. That my children will know only safety, security, and unremitting, ever-faithful, ever-pursuing love from DH and I. They are precious and deserve to be loved simply because they are.

I’m always startled at how many broken families there are out there in the world. Every time I pick up a book and read about real people with real broken lives, I am astonished anew. I don’t know why, really. After all, among my friends, there are many of us wounded children. Some more so than others. Why would the world of books be any different?

I think part of what makes it hurt more now is because I am a parent. Now that I have my two precious babies, it becomes even more inconceivable to me that there are bad (and sometimes, not so much bad but inept) people out there – and that the collateral damage results in more broken children who grow up to be broken adults. Sometimes the breaking is accidental, incidental consequences. Sometimes, it is purposeful and cruel. Whatever the reason, it physically hurts me to read about it, yet I cannot look away and plow through anyway.

I think of DD and DS, how small they are and how vulnerable. Of course, there are times when I want to throttle DS (like this afternoon when he wouldn’t stop whining/crying for NO discernible reason other than perhaps he was hungry but mostly because he is TWO). But even when I yell or grab him a little roughly, I always feel bad and force myself to calm down. I can’t imagine myself seriously damaging him. I suppose that is a good thing. Otherwise, my friends who read my blog would call CPS.

It is so sad and heartbreaking to think that there are millions of children out there who are ill used and unwanted and unloved. It breaks my heart that there are millions of children who ARE loved and cared for – but because of pure chance, live in a part of the world where their parents cannot provide for them in the manner in which I can provide lavishly for my kids. It isn’t fair – and yet, I am grateful beyond measure that it isn’t the other way around.