Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Growing is Good

In about fifteen hours or so my little girl will celebrate 5 months of life (outside of my belly, that is). She's my little sweetheart. My smiley one. My bubble blower and, yes, she's growing up so fast.

As the old cliche goes, it seems like just yesterday I was holding her for the first time and while five months is just a drop in the bucket it can also seem like so much time.

When you have kids and you love them as much as most parents love their babies there is this conflict that seems to kind of tear you up sometimes. On one hand there is this kind of sadness that its going by so fast. People tell you it will. You know it will. And while there are times (i.e. when you're baby is screaming her head off at 2 am and nothing can console her) that it seems like it will never end, somehow it seems to fly by and the sadness comes. You try to cherish every moment the way everyone tells you to and hang on to every second, but all of a sudden they are too big to fit the newborn outfits. Suddenly your baby is growing out of 0-3 month clothes, she no longer wants to sleep in your arms all day but wants to sit up and look around and even tries to start standing and rolling. Yep, there's that part of you that kind of screams, "I'm not ready for you to grow," no matter how much more growing they have to do and how relatively little growing they've done.

But, on the other hand, it's always good to remember that growing is wonderful and something to be so thankful for. I don't have to look farther than my own family and friends to find mothers who've lost their children in infancy. They will never see their babies open presents or hear their first words or give them kisses. Still other mothers have their children but through disease or illness will never have children that grow the way other children might. The disability may mean their child will never walk or talk or see or read a book or sing a song or climb a tree or skip on the sidewalk.

Sometimes I watch other parents talking with their children and I get jealous. I so crave that interaction with my son who is still struggling to catch up in his speech. While he is making daily progress there are still delays that make me ache from time to time. I want to share those moments with him and I'm so eager to listen to what he has to say and share stories and ideas. I can only imagine how much a mother would ache to watch her child who cannot walk take the steps I take for granted in my own children, or say the words or throw the ball or paint a picture or ask for a hug.

My heart breaks for these mothers and I think of how ignorant silly we are when we express how sad we are to watch our children grow and develop. A common phrase I see all over the place is, "I just want to freeze my child like this forever."

I know parents who have children who are frozen (at least mentally, if not physically) at a particular age forever and I'm sure they are far too polite to tell us what they really think. That WE should grow up, get real and thank God that we have children who do and will grow to accomplish new and wonderful things. That we should look at our growing children as a miracle and remember that children who are frozen in time usually come with expiration dates much earlier than children who are healthy and grow in the manner we lament and take for granted.

When I hear mothers lament about how quickly their children grow (or even when I start to get those feelings myself) I have to stop and remind myself how blessed I am to have children who are growing and learning and developing into healthy, beautiful children who, Lord willing, will grow into healthy, beautiful adults.

Olivia and I spent a few minutes before bed laughing and playing as I tickled her feet and kissed her cheeks and hands. Every day it seems she is getting stronger and more coordinated, faster with her hands and steadier in her balance. She's no longer content to sit in her swing, but wants to stand in her walker and for the first time she started to scoot across the kitchen floor yesterday morning.

She amazes me with her strength and new strides every day and I cherish the moments I have with her as my little baby. But I am so thankful and blessed to be here to watch her grow and change. There is so much to look forward to and I cannot wait to watch her grow and learn just like I cannot wait to watch Garrett's progress and growth.

I am so blessed with the gift of growth for my children.

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