Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What if life came with a manual?

Kid Frank Contributor:


Sometimes in life, you are handed things that you could never have prepared for. Looking back over my 30 years, I realize that this happens to me an awful lot. Life does not come with an instruction manual. If there's anything in this life I am sure of- It's that I am very thankful that it DOESN'T. Why, you ask? Because I have been known to read ahead... When i was younger, I would skip parts of books to jump ahead to the exciting things when I was reading. I guess drama, romance, and sci-fi craziness is great when it involves fiction or someone else's life. If I had a manual for my life, I would definitely read ahead. I am sure it would scare me so much I might decide to check out.

If anyone had told me when I was 18 years old, that I'd be married, have 3 boys and live in splits-ville suburbia with 2 cats, a dog and be driving a minivan all before I turned 30-- I definitely would have laughed in your face. Not that all this is BAD, I just had a completely different idea of what my life would look like. (if I had said manual- I may have avoided this scenario in my ignorance... Boy am I glad that I didn't see this one coming.)

Having children is amazing. It's so often referred to as a 'miracle'- and for good reason. Its a miracle alright.... It's a miracle anyone can walk around with another person on their insides, sucking the life force out of you for 9 months and completely destroying what you had for a figure, feet, and skin. It's a miracle, that after having the first one-- that we forget how awful that was- and get PUMPED to do it all over again. Its a miracle that I have kept all three alive- yet, for some reason, i cannot keep house plants alive for more than a month! Even more than the miracle of keeping them alive-- I'll be honest-- It's a miracle I haven't killed them... and that THEY haven't killed ME.

Having had only two sisters in my house growing up, and a father who wasn't around a whole lot, I was accustomed to being surrounded and raised in a sea of estrogen. The house always smelled good.The bathroom was always clean. The toilet seat was always down. There was always pretty soaps to wash your hands with that smelled like rose petals. We ate girl foods. We sang songs all the time, and even though i have always been loud and outspoken, there was an appreciation for quiet-time.

In contrast, I am outnumbered 4-1 in my house with male creatures who surely come from another planet. I am convinced of this- because after 9 years of marriage, my husband still doesn't know where the dirty laundry belongs, and I am DAILY sorry that we didn't install a urinal before potty training the little guys. My house smells... and it isn't in the good way. My sons are all under the age of 8, yet the locker-room smell of sweat, feet, and whatever that smell is, is beginning to take over the bedrooms. If I had a manual it might tell me how to get rid of the smell I guess, but the thought of living in a stinky house with a bunch of stinky creatures would have horrified me if i read ahead.

What would a manual help anyway? I doubt very much that any of my kids could have come with instructions... because just like life-- kids are complicated. There is no set of perfect instructions. No matter how well you try to instill manners, teach your children right from wrong, and sign them up for Cub Scouts to help them become real stand-up citizens.Kids go in their own direction. In my children's cases- they have been known to embarrass us in restaurants, chew with their mouths open, tell people they hate the gift they were just handed, and my 6 yr old swore in front of all the kids on his first night of Tiger Cub Scouts. What my point is, the more I think of the manual and how my kids don't follow rules, I realize that I am the same way. Aren't we all? We all want to change "the rules", "bend them" or make up our own. We all want a guaranty for happiness.

Often, life is like the present someone hands you that you hate. Its hard to be thankful sometimes. But God hand picked all this stuff for me and even though the bumps in the road feel NOTHING like a gift, I am beginning to understand that its a HUGE present. The present is GROWTH. Without all the surprises, good and bad there is no growth. I have had to GROW into being a mother and by golly, I still have a lot of growing to do before all of them are out of my nest. I had to GROW into being a wife, and I hope and pray everyday that I can continue on that forward course of growing. or else, we are doomed. I'm thankful for not being stuck at 18, with a manual for my life, so fearful for what was to come that i stayed put. I would have missed out on a lot of things.

I would encourage anyone reading this to embrace the bumps in the road and keep your focus on how it's going to grow you as a person in lots of areas. There is no manual. No magic crystal ball. Life has no certainties. It was set up that way for a reason. Go enjoy the rest of your day and be filled with JOY that you are alive and that you have the chance to grow today.



  1. Bravo!! Well done, "Boo" :) It's so true...I heard last year that events and circumstances are like a glove that God slips His hand into to work in different areas in our lives. We never see the actual hand inside the glove, all we see is the "glove" of our circumstances...but we can know that there is indeed an all-knowing God who is using them to shape us into who we are!

  2. Great insight. It must take a saint to raise 3 boys. Ironically, the leaders of DCP (Ben & Dan) are both the oldest of 3 boys. Maybe it's a sign of big things to come!