Genesis 25: 28
28 Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
In yesterday’s reflection we saw that Rebekah was playing favourites, but she wasn’t the only one. The dynamic between Isaac and Rebekah is a curious one. Rebekah was willing to leave her family and country to come and marry Isaac - sight unseen. He took one look at her and welcomed her into his tent and his life. Unlike his relatives, Isaac also appears to have resisted the urge to take another wife or concubine when his wife was childless for 20 years. A devoted couple - or at least a good team.
Yet, when it comes to parenting they appear to have pulled apart from the beginning. Sometimes parenthood takes us by surprise and our priorities change. Or we find ourselves consciously or unconsciously repeating family patterns from our own upbringing. This may or may not suit our fellow parent, who has a whole different series of expectations.
Summers are often times for visiting wider family, and that can help us recognise some of these patterns and expectations. I had a colleague once who had to hold back a scream when her mother-in-law, who was from a different culture, casually upended her colicky infant granddaughter and slapped her on the back while dangling her by the ankles. “But this is how we always do it,” said the puzzled mother-in-law as she handed the child back to its anxious mother.
Parenthood is a learning curve. Our families can teach us both what to do and what not to do. Disagreement is normal. But good parents listen: to each other, to their children, to the wisdom of others, to God.
Mother and Father of all
Before they are born you have hopes, dreams, plans.
Those don’t disappear
But they get a little…tangled, messy, confused.
We’re a little lost
Most days we seem to be managing the parenting thing
More or less
We’re all still together anyway, and talking
More or less
But I’m not sure who we are to each other anymore
Apart from being mum and dad
We want to talk about other things, we really do.
But there’s always something that needs to be decided,
addressed, handled, fixed.
These little people in our lives are just so important.
And we’re tired.
Sometimes it’s easier just to agree to disagree
and get on with things, each in our way
But I don’t always want to go my own way.
I want it to be our way again.
Like it was before.
Lord, show us how to move forward, not back. Amen.