Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lessons from the Second Year

If you have not followed this series of reflections on parenting through my first 5 years you may want to start by reading this post. After that is a post on lessons I learned from the first year for anyone interested. You can read it here.
I love love love this year of their life. Everything is new to them and they are absorbing their world for all that it is. Such a sweet trust exist in them. They don't know to fear anything and so they are curious about everything. They have a simple faith that the world is good and they are ok. Thinking about this year with both of my boys has reminded me when Jesus says to let the little children come to me and do not hinder them from coming for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. My boys pursued everything with reckless abandonment, especially Brady. But then enters mom and dad with so many no no's. This is not a bad thing. They had to learn that there are things that are dangerous in this world and that not all of the world is good and safe. It can also be a bad thing as well. I always hated going to houses with tons of no no's. It meant that I had to stay on top of them and squash their curious spirit. I have heard several writers say that we shouldn't remove no no's from the house but rather train a child not to touch them. I 100% agree with this - in it's season. I remember being a teenager and thinking that my parents had long forgotten what it was like to be a teenager and they just didn't get me. Well that statement and it's consequences are for another post but the sentiment is the same. We have been on this earth for so long and we have forgotten what it is like to see and discover beautiful things for the first time. Or to be curious about the sparkly thing that is on the table. Things don't catch our eye like that anymore. So the biggest lesson that I learned this year of parenting was to create an environment in my home that allowed uninhibited exploration. There are plenty of places that I carried them that allowed time to train them in the no no's. But i wanted home to be a safe haven for both them and me. In order for that, I had to remove the things that caused me to go running the minute they got out of my sight for fear they would hurt them self or something else. Don't worry there were still tons of training opportunities for obedience, even in the home. This was one way that made life simple for me and it helped two fold. 1. created a safe environment and 2. kept my home simple and clutter free.
The other big lesson that I learned this year and will pass on is that children are resilient and it is ok to break our man made rules when necessary. It did not make them bad children or me a bad mom. This year of both of my boys lives dealt me some hard blows. With Jake, I was pregnant with Brady and so so sick 7 of the 9 months. This meant that Jake spent lots more time watching the Wiggles than I had wished and that I spent way less time down playing with him as I had hoped. During this year of Brady's life, all of my health problems began to manifest themselves. I fought depression and several bouts of 6 weeks hives breakouts that left me on edge and sleep deprived. Again, they both spent way more time watching tv or entertaining themselves than I would have wished. It was ok and thankfully with Brady, God had taught me that it was ok. With Jake, I spent way too much time feeling guilty for neglecting him. God promised me that He would never leave me nor forsake me and I trust Him that is true. It doesn't mean that at times I don't "feel" like it is not true. This is true as a mother as well. By God's grace, I will never leave or forsake my children and so God showed me that I needed to think on what was true about me as a mom, not how I felt at the time. Not a day went by that their needs weren't met and that they weren't loved on.
As I have began to reflect on my time as a parent, this was the beginning of a long journey that God would not bring to fruition in my heart until last summer (4 years later). It is God who will make my children holy and good. It is Him that will change their hearts and bend it toward obedience. This realization does not negate me from my responsibilities as a parent but it does relinquish me from the burden that is and was not mine to bear.
Despite all of the hardness of these 2 years of my life it was one of my favorites in their lives. I remember a specific day toward the end of my pregnancy with Brady. I was feeling better and we decided to get out of the house after John got home. We went to a strip mall and I sat down at a table at Starbucks and John walked Jake down the way. I watched him walking and holding his daddy's hand. He was so cute in his little overalls. He stopped and notice a flower blooming. He stuck his nose to it and took a deep breath to smell it. He picked the flower and held it close. They started walking toward me. He was holding the flower in one hand and swinging the other arm. He would look up at John and just grin. When he returned to me he gave it to me and said "mell it mommy. It is for you." Despite all of the tv watching he had done and the little time I had given him over the last few months he still adored me - I am his mom.

1 comment:

Shay said...

This is where I'm at. I love this time. Will is so curious, trusting, moldable, and sweet. I'm going to try to create different boxes/baskets for him with different activities in each of them. Rotate them out through the day. We're going through some frustrating times right now with all the no no's. I know he needs some, but maybe stricter boundaries within the house. (My upcoming Spring cleaning should help some-decluttering :) Any ideas on this?