Parenthood is teeming with opportunities to learn new (and often difficult) lessons. And the instructors are typically the tiniest teachers - my children. If this weren't true, I'd have very little to write about! Lessons I should have learned years ago have taken on fresh meaning through the eyes of my sweet boys. These are a just a few of the most recent... How To Buy Cheap Dessert: This may annoy some of you, but until the littlest one was born, I was the woman who wouldn't bring food to an event unless it was fresh from my oven - especially dessert. I kept this up when my first son was born, even taking a little misadventure through the world of running my own baking business. But then our family of three became a family of four...and now I'm happy if I manage to make spaghetti, much less a three tier cake. Over the summer, I made the leap from homemade desserts...to fresh from the bakery desserts...to mini eclairs bought in the freezer section at Target. These precious babies, combined with some good friends who love me no matter what, have helped my heart to settle. They taught me to more fully enjoy the time I have with people, and to let go of any desires I have to prove my worth by what comes out of my oven. I'm sure I'll dust off the cookbooks when my kids are older, but for now, there's not enough time, I'm too tired, and my kitchen doesn't need any help getting messy. Just point me to the freezer section!
Kisses First: Being two-years-old is hard. Sure, there are naps, prepared meals and nobody calls you for money. But people are also always telling you what to do...or what not to do. Someone is always pulling on your arm, making you stay in bed, and telling you to be patient. You try to help load the sink and end up breaking dishes. You want to hold your baby brother and everyone yells "be gentle!" Perhaps most frustrating are the many moments that you try to communicate and not one adult, including your own parents, understands you. It's hard to be two.
In the thick of this tension, the oldest barked something at me while we walked out the door last week. I started to pull his arm harder and snap something back, but then I stopped. I heard myself in his tone. I remembered that he is learning how to speak and what to say from me. I knelt down to his level, kissed him on the head and told him I knew he was frustrated but we had to leave. I picked him up and we walked to the car. He stopped screaming. There are moments when raising my voice is the only thing that's going to keep him out traffic or make him stop running away in the store. But there are also moments when I can choose to soften my tone, steady my frustration and kiss him before responding.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger -Proverbs 15:1
Our children will learn their tone from us, their parents. They will watch us for cues on how to handle disappointments and frustration. And they will watch us to learn how to love. They're watching closely and have proven to be excellent students.
Loving the Diapers: A friend of mine recently reminded me how short the tiny years are. In the spans of their lives, our babies will spend such a short time in diapers, waddling around our homes. I'm often struck by the thought that my sons will likely spend most of their lives with their wives...rather than their mama. It's sobering. It's not a new lesson for me to discuss on here, but it's one I'm walking through day after day. They are only small once. So I'm going to love the whole mess. The difficult nights, the long days, the wet kisses and the dirty diapers. It will be gone before I'm ready to let go.