Dear McKay, Chase, and Hannah,
As I write this, I have only been a parent for ten years, one day, and about nine hours. I hope you will forgive my imperfections thus far. I am very inexperienced, after all. But you three little beans have taught me a lot–about love, patience, anger, frustration, and joy. I would not trade my life with you for anything.
Looking back on those early parenting days, one thing I learned the hard way is that letting other people hold your baby is not necessarily a bad thing. I was so selfish. I can remember actually feeling annoyed when Grandma came to visit and all she wanted to do was hold the new baby–her first grandson. I know. I resented it a little bit, and have always regretted that, as I came to learn with subsequent babies that sharing is all right. I’m a bit of a selfish creature (shocking, yes) and I wanted to spend every second with my new baby. I felt cheated out of precious minutes of staring at his face when others got to do it. I did get better about that after a few months, but in my mind it was always a little too late. Please share your babies. Especially with me. Someday I will be the grandma.
Another thing you have taught me is to look at life from another view. Everything looks interesting to a small child–the bug on the sidewalk, the rock on the shore, the huge and endless sky. Sometimes, being so much bigger and taller than you, all I can see is where we need to get to. I’m in a hurry and I can see the place we need to be, but you always slow me down because you’re noticing something miraculous. I hope you never stop looking at life’s little miracles. Life is not about the destination; it’s about the journey. I thank God for your slow footsteps that forced me to stop and smell the flowers when I might have rushed by to get someplace unimportant and mundane like Target or the post office.
Lastly, you have taught me what it is to love unconditionally. Where else could someone nag you daily to hang up your backpack, put your shoes away, finish your homework, eat your dinner, stop being silly, sit down on your chair, stop punching your brother, go take a shower, brush your teeth, pick up your toys, and still get a hug every night? I nag, and I nag, and still you reach for me with your arms outstretched, waiting for a kiss and a hug before you climb into bed. If that’s not real love, I don’t know what is.
Christie, the mother of three children, lives in Missouri. She writes at Sties Thoughts.