Tuesday, March 13, 2007

If..

If I had only had my third daughter, then I would think I was a pretty good parent. For she makes me feel like I'm doing it all right. Mostly, it's her hugs and genuine devotion to her mama. (She is a very expressive child.) The way she comes up to me, snuggles on my arm, and says sighingly, "My cozy mama." She knows and loves the Lord. She took to phonics like a pro. Perhaps I am seeing her through rose-colored glasses, but, like I said, if I only had her, then I would think I knew what I was doing. (Good thing I didn't just have her.)

I speak of all my children differently here, but it is because I think it is not possible to have the same kind of feelings towards each of your children. I am not saying I love one of my children more than others, that is simply not true, and they know this, but each of my children have a unique personality, and none are alike. Therefore, I approach and look at each of them differently.

There is a young woman at my church who is pregnant for the very first time. I like to observe these first time pregnant mamas--never smugly, but almost wistfully. This young woman is positively glowing and basking in the life that is inside her. She appears (to me), excited, a tad anxious, but overall in perfect joy awaiting the blessing that bestows her. I like to watch these mothers, because (and I speak as a realist, not a pessimist, here) they have no idea how this baby is going to change their lives. There is no way to prepare them for that. Every first mother-to-be has visions of rocking and nursing the wee one, and holding he or she peacefully in your arms as they sleep. Sometimes that just isn't the case! As Edith Schaeffer says:

Sometimes the third or the fourth child is the easiest one. For others it is the first child who is easiest to understand and enjoy. Then comes the unexpected shock of stubborness or lack of reponse from the second child to the same series of things that brought pleasure to the first.

Sometimes your child is hard to love, other times not. However this I know:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. I Corinthians 13:4-7

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is amazing to me how each of our children are different from one another. I am the mother of two (a boy and a girl); although some things about them are the same they are totally different at the same time. I've often told myself that it is God's way of molding me through them. Because if they were the same I wouldn't be growing everyday as a parent.

Mama Monk said...

I really enjoyed reading your thoughts this morning. Along these same lines, I've been thinking a lot about God's design for marriage, that our spouse is not supposed to completely fill us or satisfy our need for relationship. If we expect him to be all-encompassing, it sets him up to fail and us to be discontent. We need our spouse AND others (friends, family). And in the same way, it seems we need our different children in different ways. Not one child can contain all that we hope and dream he or she will be for/to us. Each child carries, contributes and expresses different things and challenges us to be the women we were created to be, in all our fullness. I really appreciate hearing this from your experience as a mom to 4. Thank you

Mrs. S said...

Yes. I was that first pregnant - momma to be not that long ago. Nothing could have prepared me for the overwhelming love, the amazing inadequacy, the weariness ... This is truly the hardest and most wonderful thing I have ever done.

Kimberly said...

What sweet thoughts. As a mommy to two incredibly different little girls, that really hit home.

Kate said...

I so agree with your heart in this, Andrea. I only have 2 but they are as different as daylight and dark. My mom always told me that my sister and I were like that too! :) My firstborn, my son, was "easy"...all the way til about 3 yrs or so. My second, girl, hmm...started her claim to independance about 1 yr! How delightfully unique they are...and God never ceases to use these dear cherubs to throw us back to dependance upon Him, the Ultimate Father of the Year!! Blessings on you today, sister! :)

Courtney said...

Thanks for this perspective today, Andrea. Sweet and true words. As a waiting mother of an adoptive daughter (and first child for that matter), I daily think about the challenges and the blessings that I'm about to experience (as I read the 1,001 books on parenting) and, OF COURSE, how I, Miss Over-Prepared, can prepare for every situation. But I can't.... And that's where faith becomes the "parenting guidebook 101".

bluemountainmama said...

andrea- i was definitely wearing rose-colored glasses during my first pregnancy. i had always worked with children, and emotionally disturbed children for that matter. so i felt very prepared and thought raising my own child would be a piece of cake....

what i have realized, through marriage and being a mom, is how much grace i need....it has been a magnifying glass to my faults....impatience, selfishnes, anger, etc. and God is refining me through it all.

i think a newly pregnant mom SHOULD be allowed to bask in that joy and expectancy... i had a lot of negativity and anxiety spoken over me and to me from my husband's family the whole pregnancy- never a word of joy, expectancy, or encouragement. so i feel i didn't get to relish in that first pregnancy. and it also continued afterwards.... luckily, my son was a very good baby b/c i didn't have any help or encouragement and we were living in my husband's hometown away from my family. i REALLY had to rely on God during that time.

Susanne said...

I have 3 children and they are all totally different. And just because a parenting technique worked with one doesn't mean it worked with the others. I totally see why we need to seek God with each one! :v)

L.L. Barkat said...

And here's the thing... this never ends.... in other words, as long as we live and they live we don't know how our lives will be different... for we and they are growing, changing beings. This is a hard thought for me, who loves to know what is around every corner. (or deceives herself into thinking this is desirable!)

AIMEE said...

my fourth is rockin' my world! All pride is being blown up :)

Andrea said...

Anon.--That is a great point--your children "molding" you by being different. It's the way it has to be, much like our different circumstances shape us.

Mama M--"each child carries, contributes, and expresses different things" I am enjoying those thoughts.

Mrs. S--how sweet you are. Welcome to the mom's club. :) You are doing an amazing job..

Kimberly--I love how we all can relate to these thoughts...

Kate--"Ultimate Father of the Year"--yes, indeed, a wonderful ideal.

Court--the best preparation is no preparation (in your mind) Rest in Him and He will take care of it all far better than us (Advice I should listen to as well!)

Blue Mountain--I agree. LEt's give those first time pregnant mamas the BEST encouragement!!

Susanne--and isn't it great we can do that!!

L.L.--your comments reminds me of a quote that says something like "when you make the choice to become a mother, you make the choice to have your heart walk around your body for the rest of your life"--or something like that ;) Anyway, great thoughts as usual, L.L.

Aimee--how unusual! Usually it is the first baby that rocks your world, but in proof as Edith said. it is the fourth for you!! I know blessings will come as you lean on Him for strength with that cute little guy. :)

Andrea said...

Usually I do not get to respond to all the comments, but tonight I did! That was fun...

Christine said...

Colin (my oldest) is our easy one. I always say that I thought I was a great mom when we just had him. Now if I just had Maddy I'd feel like a terrible mom! Luckily I have both- one to encourage me in my job and one to keep me humble. Elliot just goes with the flow. We'll see about this 4th one!! :)

dorothy said...

What a sweet post about your precious #3! She is such a sweet blessing. So far, neither one of my two have been that "making it look easy" type. Maybe I need to keep going...

Kendra said...

This post is full of so much truth. I definately have one child who is much more relatable to me than the others. But, they are each used in stretching me and refining me. And, I adore each one!
God is so good.

Anna said...

It is amazing how they each are different. I love being a mother...even though it is incredibly difficult at times. :) I like how I learn and grow while I struggle to understand them.

Thanks for the post....

Natalee said...

good post, andrea. very easy to read...very enjoyable.
nat

Jess said...

I love how you are willing to truly look at your children and see their uniqueness. You have not been caught in the parenting trap that everything has to look the same and be fair. I think so many times we do a disservice to our children, because we are afraid one is receiving more than another. I love my girls. They are the same in some areas, like drama, Oh man, do we have drama, but in other ways they are very different. I love their differences even when I do not like them very much. One of my daughters cries at anything and I truly mean anything. One of them, 'no' is the first word out her mouth a lot of the time. And the oldest is 11, that says it all right there. But they are all beautiful and fun and joys to be with. Bless you for being a mother who sees her children through God's eyes.