When my kids were young, one of my favorite things in the world was returning home from work at the end of the day.
I knew that inside that tiny home in Alpharetta, Georgia, L.E. Acuff was waiting for me. She was so young that she could barely walk but when I’d come home from work, she’d sprint. Unsure legs became confident as she ran out of the front door, down the yard and into my arms.
It was the best feeling as a parent.
Now, both my daughters are teenagers. We often talk about how hard the teen years are and act as if they will be devoid of that same joy we experienced from the early years. I worried about that just like every parent, but a few nights ago, I noticed something.
The joy wasn’t gone, it was just flipped upside down.
Now, I am the one at home, waiting for my daughters to return. My oldest daughter L.E. has her driver’s license and now I wait for her to pull into the driveway. My youngest daughter McRae has lacrosse practice and I wait for her to come through the front door when it’s not our turn to drive carpool.
I might not run down our front yard and jump into their arms, teenagers hate being embarrassed, but the joy of their return is just as monumental as mine used to be.
They tell me all about their day. They share the latest and greatest news from high school or middle school. They talk a mile a minute and I love every bit of it.
Things change. Kids grow up. Responsibilities grow and shift.
But, there is joy hidden in every season of parenting.
My hope is that we’ll all have eyes to see it and hearts to receive it.
Jon Acuff is the New York Times Bestselling author of six books, including his latest, “Finish, Give Yourself the Gift of Done.” He’s been part of the Orange Family for six years and can always be found at the Orange Conference and on the Orange Tour. For more from Jon, follow his hilarious, helpful Instagram account: @JonAcuff