Learning to Fly: Flight Lessons in Parenthood
Six and a half years into this parenting multiples journey, and we’re still finding our wings. Most of the time it’s felt like a freefall. There’s no instruction manual for raising quads, no practice kid to learn from, no long talks with your mom about how she handled four at once, no MOPS group for multiples. I’m sure you can relate to that in your own situation as well to some degree. Perhaps you’ve felt like no one else understands your situation, or has the same exact scenario. That’s because no one does. We’re all learning to fly, aren’t we?
Often it’s the freefall that has taught us on our descent. Catching ourselves. Getting bruised and scraped by the drop. Afraid to fly or try again.
The first year of parenting multiples was simple survival. Get through another feeding. Make it through until Brad gets home for back-up. Change another set of diapers. Make up the next set of bottles. Abide by strict sleep schedules. Throw another load of laundry in. Load the Beast stroller. Get used to the spectacle sport of watching our family. Sleep. Rinse and Repeat.
The next year brought a little confidence that maybe we would get through this somehow. Consistent full nights of sleep and juggling it all day after day gave us hope. We were able to celebrate the milestones better and we started to gain more perspective on what “normal” might look like for our family.
Years two through four taught us even more patience, and brought greater joy. We continued to survive and find enjoyment in the chaos and even in the routine. We certainly weren’t flying, but our feet were feeling more firmly planted. We had made it through a thick stage of parenting, and we used that as proof that with God’s faithfulness, we would persevere.
The last two years have been more challenging than I prepared myself for. The physical labor of the first two years seems in a way easier than some of the character building tasks ahead. We have potty training, along with a handful of scary respiratory illnesses and other worse case scenarios behind us. However, the task of feeding four babies at once no longer seems impossible. It’s teaching young boys to be kind, gentle, patient, peaceful, and respectful that seems to be such a heavy calling.
It’s a process of failing and falling. It’s recognizing the purpose, not merely the lack of perfection. It’s sorting out our talents and weaknesses, not by comparison, but by sanctification. No longer fixated on disappointments and failures, but seeing a bigger picture of what’s ahead.
It’s this ongoing process of deepening our faith, trusting all the more, the struggle and surrender, and the joy in learning to fly.