Friday, April 29, 2016

My Decision about Benjamin, and Other Thoughts about Kids Growing Up

It was exactly one year ago today that we found out that our 6th baby was a boy.  Is a boy.  This one right here.  :)
What an exciting day that was as we got a glimpse of who God was giving us to complete our family!  And what joy Benjamin has added to our family ever since!  There's no way I could put into words all that he means to us.

Despite his preciousness however, I caught myself, a few weeks back, thinking thoughts like, "It will be better when Benjamin is older," and "Life will be so much easier when Benjamin sleeps through the night," etc.  When I realized what I was doing, I made a decision:

I will not chafe about Benjamin's littleness.

You'd think, with him being our last baby, that I would enjoy his babyhood so much that I wouldn't want to let go of it; and in some ways, that's true.  But the current difficulties of this phase of life (revolving around his eczema and his poor sleeping habits at night, which I'm sure are related to his eczema) made me eager to get past this phase so that life could feel simpler--and, truth be told, so I could actually get decent sleep again!  But when I paused to consider what was going on, I knew that I was doing something I never want to do.  I was, in a sense, wishing away my life.

I don't want to do that anymore.  And so, to the best of my ability (knowing that I will sometimes fail), I have decided that...

~ I will not get frustrated when Benjamin wakes in the night and needs me.
~ I will appreciate the moments when he turns to me for comfort, knowing that being able to comfort him simply by nursing him is a privilege indeed.
~ I will not count the hours of sleep I'm getting--or, more accurately, not getting; instead I will trust that God will provide what I need, even in this area.
~ I will not be dismayed that Benjamin's favorite place to sleep is my arms.  I will not feel like a failure because I haven't trained him to sleep through the night in his own bed.
~ I will not fret that Benjamin doesn't eat much food and so relies on me for almost all his nutrition. He has the whole rest of his life to eat food!
~ I will not be impatient for him to hit the milestones of movement, remembering how all my children have been on the late (sometimes, VERY late!) end of the spectrum for those milestones.
~ I will contentedly carry him, appreciating the weight of his body in my arms and the way he just fits so perfectly in the crook of my arm.
~ I will be thankful that, when I set him down somewhere, he stays there.  The day will come when it won't be so easy to keep him safe!
~ Even in my physical exhaustion, I will not grow weary of the immense blessing of being called upon to meet the needs of this precious gift.  I will remember the long year of trying to get pregnant, the joy and disbelief when I learned I was finally expecting, and the sweetness of Benjamin's growth within me and his birth.  I will not chafe at his littleness; instead, I will cherish it, knowing that when it's gone, it's gone, and there is no way to turn back time.

And so, my beloved son, be little.  Be needy.  Cry when you want me.  I'll come to you and do what I can to ease your discomfort.  There is no hurry to grow up.  I love THIS day with you and THIS stage of our life together, and I'm not ready to leave it behind!  :)


Last evening, the kids and I went to the final meeting (which was basically just a fun time of fellowship and eating together) of the school year for Josiah's speech and debate club; and on the way home, both Josiah and David were eagerly thinking ahead to their futures and discussing their thoughts with me.  It was a precious time as we rolled home through the rainy, foggy, darkening air.

Among other things, I found out that Josiah's "dream college" (his words) is Patrick Henry College and that David really wants to be a Navy SEAL.  Now only God knows what the future really holds for my two oldest sons!  But it was fun to listen to them dream and to answer their questions about some of the things you have to consider as you grow up.  Through a figurative fog, I could see the path in front of them opening up the tiniest bit, and it gave me an idea of what life will be like when they are grown men.  Exciting!!  And a little heart-wrenching, too.

And then today, I was scrolling through Facebook while nursing Benjamin, and I saw this.
Yes!!  That is exactly how I feel.  How can those two emotions be simultaneously present in my heart in such a strong way?

The very next thing I saw on Facebook was this song that I had never heard before; but a friend had linked to it and there it was, the perfect soundtrack for my musings.  My mindset instantly changed from "I am so tired of hearing my kids yell 'MOM, MOM, MOM' all over the house; can't I ever get a break?" to "Let me stop and consider what a marvelous thing it is to have little ones who look to me for so much; I will take the time to look in their eyes and pay attention to what is going on in their world and appreciate this fleeting time that we get to share."

Slow down?  Indeed I will.

1 comment:

Lanette Smith said...

These are my feeling exactly. Two years later Annemarie still cries each night for me. I typically have no recollection of going to get her from her crib but every morning there she is asleep next to me- how does that happen? Someday she will sleep through the night but until then I will appreciate her closeness.