This post is especially for my littlest brother, although he’s not very little anymore, in fact all three of my brothers are much bigger than me:)  Joelie is gearing up to enter the “real” world as he and his beautiful wife, Meghan prepare to welcome their firstborn sometime in May.  As an aside, one of the things that I’ve appreciated about coming from a larger family is the joys of experiencing new life many times over.  It was such a joy to hold my two nephews M and A for the very first time and I am just as excited to hold any other little blessings God chooses to give our extended family.  
Anyway, needless to say as Joel and Meghan prepare to welcome this new life, there have been some unique opportunities for us to chat about what raising kids looks like.  We’ve come to a very comfortable place in our discussions and acknowledged that while James and I do some things Joel and Meghan may choose to embrace, there are many things they will do differently from us.  It’s such a great feeling to actually verbalize our differences but 100% respect each other for them.
Another great opportunity that comes from this relationship is the opportunity they have to practise their parenting skills on our kids.  Funny thing is that even with all my “experience” in parenting I still learn a new thing or two along the way.
One of these moments happened the other day.  Joel and Meg had joined us for dinner, and soup was on the menu.  In typical kid fashion, my kids ate their soup only to get halfway through and inform me “they were full”.  I knew they weren’t but so often I get tired of the same discussion and I really HATE fighting over food.  I told the girls they could leave the table but they would not get dessert and if they were hungry later that would be their “snack”!!  Joel jumped in with the best idea…”girls, why don’t you grab those new heart straws your mom got and use them to drink your soup”, he says!  The soup disappeared within a few minutes and they scarfed down the delicious ice-cream cake for dessert:)
It was such a neat lesson to me on being refreshed in our perspective.  Not only did the girls perspective shift,all the sudden they had room because finishing their soup was fun, but I was challenged, or rather reminded, that parenting can be fun!  Thanks Joelie for the reminder.  Now to save up those creative ideas for the days when Joel and Meghan are at their wits end…perhaps Auntie Elise will be able to jump in and save the day.

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