Abigail with her first beads....and mama did them all by herself!!
Oh parenting. This feeling of immense love, fear, and joy all at the same time. I was actually confident in my ability to care for children before we had one. Looking back it seems silly. I remember coming home with Abigail and feeling like I lost all knowledge of caring for children. Every person who came to visit or looked at me when I was in public with my baby, I was certain was judging my parenting. I sometimes would explain things to people that I really didn't need to. Then there is the fact that infants can't tell you what they want or need. So despite my best efforts sometimes Abigail had to cry because I didn't know what was wrong.
As we approach her first birthday some of this has faded. There are still days I don't know what it wrong and she just has to fuss. There are also still times I think people might be judging my parenting. However the past year has taught me some things. As I watch my friends parent I feel way less judgemental. I might not want to do things like they do, but I know they want what is best for their children and are doing what they believe is best. I am trying to offer less unsolicited advise. I find when I get it I often have to walk away and remind myself that whomever has given me the advice does not know me or my child as well as I do.
The best thing for me has been a new understanding of God. Now I'm not going to claim to know everything about God or His character. There have just been a few things that have stood out to me once I became a parent that parallel who God is.
First of all in the old testament there seem to be times where God "changes His mind." I have always been slightly baffled at how one moment He is going to kill everyone and the next He has mercy and does something different. As my daughter has started to push boundaries and touch things she shouldn't I have found myself saying "no touch, mommy will spank your hand," and not always doing it. It's not because she doesn't need her hand spanked. It's because I love her, don't actually want to have to spank her, and decide to do something different.
This has also helped me to accept that God knows what is best. When I tell Abigail no touch to the plug ins I know what the future holds if she chooses to disobey. I don't tell her no because I want control, or want to keep her from having fun. I do it because I don't want her to get hurt. As we all know she could probably play with the plugs hundreds of times without actually being injured, but there is enough of a possibility that I want to make sure she doesn't get hurt. There are lots of perimeters that God sets up like this. He says don't do this. You might get away with it the first hundred times, but it could eventually cause you harm. He knows what the future holds and is trying to keep us from "getting shocked."
I think I also just understand the role of "daddy" more. I have a father on earth. However he does not feel about me the way Jason feels about Abigail. When I watch them together my heart is full. Jason loves Abigail and no matter what she does in the future, will always love her. Abigail also can't wait until he gets home and immediately says up please. It has helped me to realize how much God loves me as His daughter, when I see Jason interact with our daughter.
I had a friend ask recently, "How do you reconnect with God after being away for a while." I immediately thought about our daughter. If Abigail decided to turn away from us some day I would be eagerly awaiting the day of her return. I would not scold her when she came home. I would run to her and embrace her and tell her how much I missed her and am glad to see her again. We would need to talk about things somewhere down the road, but my initial reaction would be celebration and embracing her. I told my friend this. If you have been away from God or haven't connected well in a while God is not eagerly awaiting the moment He can smite you. He's actually sitting at home waiting to hear you come through the door. He can't wait until you come back!!
I truly love being a mommy and believe that children are a blessing just like the Bible says. Abigail brings us so much joy. She without ever knowing it also challenges me to be a better person.
Grateful for the blessing of a child,