When I hear Janey wake up after a long nap, I “spy” on her. I can peek through the door and see her sitting in her crib looking around. Sometimes she will play with one of the three little bunnies she has in her crib, but mostly she just wakes up slowly, and looks at things around the room.
It is just about the cutest thing ever.
And then I crack the door a little more, and she sees me spying and her whole face lights up into a huge grin.
My heart just fills with love and happiness.
I am grateful for every single day I spend with her.
I am grateful that I get to love her everyday, and be the first thing she sees when she wakes up.
I don’t think there is anything in the world that can bring more joy than our own children, do you?
I made the mistake the other day of cruising the internet a little…you know, going to this link or that link and wound up off my strict course of my few favorite uplifting blogs. I always regret it, darn it, I guess I just have to remind myself of that every once in awhile. When I stray I usually find something that just makes me feel so sad or like the whole darn society is going to pot.
I hope I’m so wrong but it seems like it has become too common for parents to complain about their kids, or what a pain babies are, or think it’s funny to have a misbehaving toddler or child.
We parents reap what we sow, and much more often than naught, our children’s behavior is the reflection of the time and love we put into our parental vocation.
Babies are precious sweet little perfect creatures that need us, their moms and dads, to love them all day and night long. So it’s sometimes requires us to give a lot. I just want to say to these parents-get over it! Grow up!
If babies are crying and fussy, they are tired or hungry or overstimulated and need some quiet time alone. Could we look at this huge new world from their eyes or do we always just have to think about ourselves and our needs?
Toddlers and children-they want so badly to be good, they want to please us, they want us to love them. They rely on us to provide stability and consistency and gentle discipline and exercise and a nice calm atmosphere and good food and enough sleep.
And love and love and more love. From us. Directly from us. Which requires unselfishness on our part once again.
It shouldn’t be funny or cute or witty or popular to be a crappy parent. Ever.
But that’s generally the stuff of the internet, so what did I expect right?
I don’t want to dwell on that stuff. I want to see the good in this world, there is so much in it.
Last Sunday at church we had the cutest little family sit behind us.
They had four little ones, boom, boom, boom, boom, right in a row. They looked so neat and cared for, they each had a book with them to keep busy, and were trying hard to sit still. But two of the toddler boys had an argument over something, and mom had to take one to the cry room (in our church it’s just the vestibule) for a little while. I know she was probably cringing inside, but she shouldn’t have been. The love and care and time and investment these parents had was so apparent.
The other morning in the grocery store, I saw a mom talking to her little son who must have been about four. They were at the checkout and he was having a hard time with something (gum or Matchbox car most likely, I can relate!), tears of distress pouring down his face. She stooped down, and took his hands and listened to him, and said a few words, and he calmed down and wiped his tears. She didn’t threaten to hit him, or just ignore him, or roll her eyes. She loved him. She took the time to love him. It was beautiful.
I know that I am not perfect for sure, far from it, no parents are. I have had my days when I can’t find even that little bit of patience. I’ve for sure have had days when I’ve complained about my children and their endless needs, and when I’ve had a sleepless fussy baby, I’ve cried about how hard it is to have a sleepless, fussy baby.
But I’ve also learned over the last two decades that when I find the joy in mothering, yes, even when it requires every ounce of me, when I look through the world from the eyes of those who call me mommy, when I stop thinking “oh, this is hard” and started thinking “oh, i’m so lucky”, I’ve fully enjoyed all the aspects of parenting. I think I owe love and devotion to my children-I think all parents do.
I like to visualize each of my precious babies as little gifts I was chosen by the grace of God to receive-spiritual perfection enclosed in a tiny bundle of cute human-ness-I have such an obligation (sometimes overwhelming for sure!) to care and nurture these gifts-their little lives depend on us really, to survive and thrive for the rest of their lives.
(A reprint from 2014)