parenting lessons learned

30 December 2011

I've wanted to post this for awhile now but never knew how to say it in a loving way...here's my attempt.

In my opinion, it takes a village to raise a child. I'll never forget when we started potty training Asher and I had posted on facebook that he was in big boy undies and doing a great job going potty. That weekend a dear friend walked right past me and up to Asher at Church, knelt down to his level and excitedly praised and encouraged his efforts and successes on the potty. As I witnessed this, tears came to my eyes. For the first time, I witnessed how proud a child can be when they are praised by someone other than their parents. It will be a memory I will always cherish. On the same token, I have witnessed the look in my son's eyes when someone is looking at him in loathing or disappointment when he is doing something they think is inappropriate. And unfortunately, most of the time it's his valiant attempt to get someones attention when they're ignoring him.

Parenting has been the hardest job I have ever embarked on. It is of course the most rewarding as well and I love my children fully and all encompassing, but it's hard. Some days, it's really, really hard. And in those hard times, this is what I've learned. There are people who unconditionally love and support me and for that, I'm am whole heartily thankful. And there are others who aren't so supportive. They are the "I can't believe your child is doing this or that.", "You must be blind to not see your child is delayed.", "I only had to tell my child one time not to do something and he/she never did it again." I just don't understand. these people. Parenting is not an avenue to make someone feel like a failure, but rather a platform to bring people together. It's not a competition or a race or a way to see who's child is better. Every child develops and acts in their own time frame and ways. Each child is individual. And most parents are only making the best decisions they can for their family. They are not telling you that your way is wrong, at least most aren't!, they are not bad parents if they don't do everything you did or think they should do nor are they blind at how their child is developing. To these people, I can only say one thing. I'm sorry. I'm sorry you feel you have to put others down to build yourself up. We should be in community and not at odds.

So, why am I sorry? Because I know what true friends are. I know how true friends treat one another, and I know how you can be 100% honest with them and they'll come back with only loving, constructive opinions and unconditional support. They don't put you down. They don't send anonymous letters bashing you and your family. They are loving and supportive. They listen and not judge and are patient. True friends are community. They're family.

This is what I know about me. I love my children with all that I have. They bring me joy and a love I've never known. They teach me and amaze me every day. In saying that, I fail them nearly every day. I either lose my patience or temper, I yell way to often, I fail in choosing nice words at times, I let them watch too much tv...you name it...at times I fail. But I try my best. I try to explain and be compassionate without being a doormat, I try to encourage them and support them, I teach them kindness and I can honestly say that there has only been 2 nights that Asher went to bed knowing I was mad. And I still feel guilty about it. I teach them discipline and respect and most important I teach them about unconditional love and how to treat and love people.

Why am I saying all of this? Why am I being so open and honest? Because as moms and dads, I we need to be. We need to be supporting one anther. We need to have support groups that we can trust to be open with, to be honest with. We need to help one another and encourage one another and make each other KNOW that we're not alone. We have to stop judging and slandering and making people believe that they're failing....because as parents, we're already pretty good at thinking we're failures.

To my friends, thank you. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for letting me, be me and fostering a relationship in which I can be 100% open and honest. At any time, I know I can bare my soul and know that I will not be judged, but only loved. Some of you supported me in a way last night that I can't express my thanks enough. It has been a few hard weeks over here and last night I had a bit of a breakdown. Thank you for being honest with me. Thank you for loving me. And thank you for supporting me.

Something I've been wrestling with

06 December 2011

Preface...this is me verbally vomiting a faith struggle of mine. I'm a work in progress, especially in my faith walk. I'm just trying to wrap my mind and heart around...

Prayer. Prayer has always been a common sense thing to me...a way to praise God, a way to talk to him, a way to ask for forgiveness, help...you name it, it's an open conversation. An ever willing open ear...and one that doesn't even talk back!

When you're going through a hard time, Christians tell you to pray...if you need answers, you find them in prayer...want a good outcome? pray. Good health? pray. A miracle? Pray. And I think this is wonderful. Pray, pray, pray. Prayer isn't my issue. This is my issue...

When there's a positive outcome, it's positive because you prayed for it to be. God "answered your prayer". But what happens when you pray for a good outcome and you don't get it. And not even that...what do you say to people who say "Look at this amazing blessing God has given you!" when you have a good outcome, but when bad things happen the same person will say "God didn't do this, God didn't allow this to happen." How can He be praised for all the good stuff that happens but then if bad things befall us, He has had nothing to do with it?

After losing two children, this is still a hard concept for me to wrap my mind around. Do I pray? All the time. Do I pray for the protection and health of my children? All the time. But in all honesty, I have a hard time knowing my prayers matter. I mean, I know they matter in the sense that I believe God wants to have conversations with us and that He loves us...but I don't know if my prayers really, truly make a difference in the outcome of my children's life. I want to believe that they do, but I can't stop thinking about how much I prayed for Jorai and Selah...and yet they were still taken from me.

I know this may sound silly...but I was watching that new show on Lifetime called One Born Every Minute the other night. There was a girl who wasn't progressing "fast enough" and the docs were threatening a c-section. The girls mom or baby daddy's mom started praying and talking in tongues and voila, she starts progressing...so they raise up their hands and praise God. But was it God who answered that prayer? Or was it her body progressing in the time frame it needed to progress? And what would they have said if she didn't progress and needed a c-section? Would they still have praised God? Even when they got an outcome different than what they wanted?

Again, I think prayer is wonderful. I think God listens to our prayers and answers them...but I have issue with what happens when we don't get a good outcome. I have some friends that have issue with God because they've had crappy things happen to them over and over again. In their perspective, what kind of loving God would take not one, not two, but three + babies away from the same woman? What loving God would allow abuse or rape or disasters? In my faith wrapped heart, I know it's not God that allows bad things to happen. They are a by-product of our fallen world...but again, my thoughts go back to...if we praise God for answered prayers? He must, in-fact, answer them. In saying that, doesn't that mean that he doesn't answer prayers too? How else do you wrap your mind around praying so fervently about something, only to have it taken away?

I know in all things, God uses us for His glory. His good. I know that we are given struggles to mold us into the person God wants and needs us to be. And that He uses all the good and the bad in our lives. I feel we went through our losses for a reason. I feel that He now uses us to reach out to others. To help others. And I embrace that. I wear it like a badge of honor. I miss my girls. Though I feel raped of the opportunity to know them and to have watched them grow. But I'm also joyful for the opportunity to be able to help others in a way most people cannot. I'm "OK" with my lot. I'm just confused. How do you pray? How do you have a prayerful heart without expectations and how can you be OK with the answer or rather lack of answer you receive? Would you be OK praying for your child for months only to get an answer of death? And if that happens, do you then praise Him for it?

I keep thinking of the song Blessed Be Your Name where they say "He gives and takes away.". And though I don't believe it's technically biblical. It totally rings true for me. No matter how fervently I pray. NO matter how much. I may not get the the answer I seek. And if I do get it, it may then be ripped from my hot little hands in no time at all. So again, I have to ask myself...other than an open conversation with Jesus...which is awesome...why pray about the things you seek, the health of your family and friends? In the end does it really matter? And if it does, what did we do wrong in our prayers for our girls?

Just some thoughts and questions rattling around in my soul.

my little, big boy

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The rocking chair in Greyson's room is pushed into the South-West corner of his room. Every time I nurse/rock him to sleep, I stand up, cradling him in my arms as his head nestles into the crook of my neck. I always love that feeling. His warm breath against my skin.


On the wall, in-between the rocking chair and his crib, hangs a large mirror. Each time I walk towards the crib with my little sleeping child nuzzled in close, I look at us in the mirror. After losing Jorai...and then again after losing Selah, I would dream about this. The feeling of the warm breath of a sleeping child against my skin. Feeling their weight in my arms, their warm body pressed into mine. I think it's one of the best feelings in the world. A sleeping child, perfectly secure and loved and comforted in your arms.

Today, as I was relishing in the joy of snuggling my baby, I looked up into that mirror and almost fell over. Where did my little baby go? No longer is there a sweet bundle of baby. He has been replaced by a gigantic toddler. His arms and torso nearly completely cover my chest, his head barely fits in the crook of my neck and his legs fall down past my waist, hitting the middle of my thighs! WOW. My 10 month old outweighs his 2 year old friends and is in 18-24 month shirts. My dear sweet baby boy is a giant. But I don't care...he'll always be my sweet baby boy. And I'll continue to cradle him and nuzzle him for as long as he lets me.

Here's to you my sweet little boy. You are a joy and a blessing to my family.