I was the PERFECT parent – before I had kids. Oh, I had it ALL figured out. I was going to be a combination of “strict yet fun” kind of mom and my daughter and I would be best friends forever. I felt confident in all the classes I had gone to, along with all the books and documentaries I had watched. I knew parenting was no walk in the park, but I thought I would be OK. I was no push over. I’ve always been somewhat of a strong cookie, you could say. Nevertheless, I was still scared like any first time mom. I laugh as I think back on the person I was before kids. It’s actually quite hilarious.
Vi was born on August 31 2011 and everything changed. Although at the time in the 2+ years we had been married, we were not planning on having children just yet. She was a bit of a surprise, a big one actually . Nonetheless, she was here and she was absolutely, positively beautiful! How was this tiny little human in me? How could I be so deeply, madly in love with her already? My heart exploded and nothing was ever the same after that.
Reality set in when I took her home. Those early days seemed like one continuous day. Her sleep fluctuated a lot and I had such a difficult time trying to nurse her. I quickly felt ill prepared to deal with sleep deprivation, trying to breastfeed and just handling such a tiny little baby. Life was on repeat – eat, sleep, poop, repeat. I wanted to do everything perfect, but there’s no manual for this stuff! I just took one day at a time or as I like to put it “one heart attack at a time”. Life had become quite new.
She grew and grew and grew some more. I also grew along with her. I became hyper aware of the dangers of everything and I had to navigate through all the changes that came as she grew. I learned when a baby needed to start eating solids, along with becoming an expert poop inspector. We discovered how she loved fleece blankets, and how I needed to invest in longer tops because the chasing and bending that came with a little one often gave the rest of the world an unwanted free show.
We dealt with incoming teeth and all the “No’s” and the “Mines” she threw our way. She babbled and babbled and we were always anxiously awaiting what new things she would say and do. She was our little performance monkey.
Vi grew and grew and so did her personality. She continued to suffer from an extreme case of “No-itis” and “Mine-itis”. It was painful. We had to be firm and we needed to be consistent. No one wants to raise a brat nor be run by a child.
As we hit 3 and now coming into 4 years old, there are days I feel like I am loosing the war against my child, because frankly I feel like nothing is working. She’s a wonderful and sweet child, don’t get me wrong. However, as crazy and totally irrational as it might sound, it feels like it’s me against her on occasion.
It all caught me off guard. Wasn’t this child supposed to listen to me all the time? How dare she question me? I’m her mother! Unfortunately, that’s not how any of this works. She’s no robot. That’s not how she was built – or any other child for that matter. Although having a robot sounds great, it’s not so good in the long run, because I want her to have her own voice, but the defiance on days makes me wish she had an ‘Off’ button. I had/have to learn to lovingly guide her towards Jesus, and not let all her/my emotion lead the way. That right there is the never ending task.
Grace for myself that even though I fail miserably daily, I need to know that I can rise again tomorrow and trust that God will guide me through being her mommy.
Grace for Vi, who is just a child. I say ‘a child’ because I need to be reminded of that often. So many times I expect her to do much more than I know she can, and I get frustrated in the process. I need to relax and not sweat the small stuff. She will grow and learn in due time. The grace that is so generously given to me by Christ, needs to out pour from me to her.
I never expected that I would grow and learn along with my daughter. It was through having her, I learned things about myself, I bettered myself, I recognized the deep flaws in my life – I grew. I will never be the same person as I was before kids, and for that, I am FOREVER thankful. The heavy responsibility of caring for a tiny human has caused me to look UP and seek wisdom because I know in my own ability I will fail.
I will keep growing, because it’s never ended. She is my reward. My undeserved prize. I love her to pieces, with a love I never knew I had. I hope that one day she can see past the mess of a mom I am and see the beating heart that truly beats for her.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all of your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” – Proverbs 3:5-6