Babies - The Absolute Truth

A young couple who is friends with us just had a new baby two days ago. Their little girl is a gorgeous, teeny little thing, who though premature, looks to be perfect. We're overjoyed for their happiness. We prayed over that little baby during that pregnancy where it seemed like complications might be inevitable. We knew that with God all things are possible. In the end, another joyful birth has come out of this time of uncertainty. It's a happy ending, yet also a new beginning.

I've always had room in my heart for babies ever since my late teens when I finally, truly fell in love with kids. Before then, I had babysat, and while I enjoyed the money, I honestly didn't grow very attached to the kids. I could take them or leave them. But I was pretty decent at it, and I had a steady influx of kids to babysit until I became old enough to begin working fast food jobs. All in all, it was after I stopped getting paid to spend time with kids that I first discovered how much I enjoyed them.

Fast forward to today, after raising my three babies, teaching Sunday School, sponsoring my scout-like clubs of beautiful young girls, and finally teaching both public and private schooled kids. I'm not in the presence of babies very often these days. I'm usually either at work with my students or at home recovering from a really exciting day. I don't desire to leave my house when I get through the door, and this means that I seldom venture out in search of any faces beyond my own nuclear family.

My daughter's married now. She's out of the house, and while I see her several times a week, the relationship is different. She's not leaning on me for advice very often. She's smarter than me at computers, she's got her own style of writing which while not exactly like mine is probably better, and she's skilled in ways I've never imagined possible. She's wiser than her years. In fact, she's the voice of reason and sanity far more often than I am. For instance, I want grandkids. However, she wants to finish college, get her career established, and see their finances in surplus before she has a baby. She's the reasonable one. I'm the silly aspiring grandmother.

My middle child is partway through college, and he's showing signs of becoming an amazing movie creator. He's got script writing skills, storytelling skills, and he's confident that this will eventually translate into production and directing skills. His memory is incredible, and he actually likes math, something that I still find odd about him. For now, I'm just excited to see my budding genius translate his ideas to paper and to see him receive glowing comments about his work. He's making his momma proud, and that's not hard for him to do. He's a godly, interesting, inquisitive guy, and I can't imagine him turning out much better than that. The worldly success is just fluff on top of that amazing core of character.

My youngest is still finding his way. This is funny for me to say, since he's always seemed to have everyone eating out of his hand. He finds favor with everyone wherever he goes. He's charming, graceful, polite, well-respected, and he's a leader. What does he need in order to find himself? He's got it all, so it seems. Yet, I see the young man beneath all the shine, and he's dreaming of more. He wants to preach the Word all over the world. He wants to play sports on an established team. He longs for more experiences than he's had in his life so far. Which is funny, because of all my kids, his skill set is the most diverse. He's manually and mechanically inclined, has a strong intuition for dealing with people, and he's just plain fun. I haven't begun to dream big enough for this boy, and his dreams, I believe, are too small for what God is going to do. He's turning out amazing, and I hope I get a front-row seat for all the best parts.

My son-in-law is suddenly a part of this list, and that's incredible in and of itself. That I would have found room in my heart to love yet another person like my own in this way is amazing, because I really love my kids on a level that I believe few do. Do I show it enough? Not hardly. But it's there, and my prayers and dreams for them are more than any other thing that occupies my heart. So now, this one comes along, and within a couple of years of knowing my daughter without conversing much at all, he decides to ask her out. That day, his simple question, "Would you like to get some coffee?" changed our entire world.

She said yes, obviously, and they've been inseparable ever since. On the day of that first date, my daughter who had never allowed a guy's touch to linger, suddenly walked around hand in hand with this grown man who seemed much too big for my petite little princess. They're an elegant couple, both handsome, smiling, and delighted with one another. I cannot imagine anyone who could appreciate her more, and I don't think any woman would have loved him like my daughter does. It's a truly beautiful story, and it's becoming richer as they walk together through some health problems that each has endured. Some of these health problems she is enduring, and he must endure with her, and his willingness to marry her knowing that it would limit his own dietary options severely is something that still amazes me. (I love food.)

The landscape of our extended family is changing so quickly. Recently, as in over the last year and a half, we have had a sudden influx of baby humans into our family. First a lovely baby girl with a revved up engine from birth came on the scene. This little girl completely strong-armed our hearts into submission with just one smile. Then, we had a sweet, nervous little one who has quickly grown into the center of her own universe. Oh, the ego on that one! Then, a surprisingly sweet little baby boy came along, and he seems like a carbon copy of his big sissy, but he has shown signs of developing his own personality. These babies are the first batch in a decade, and my own kids, along with my nieces and nephews, have become the older ones. The little ones are everyone's darlings, and I don't think I've seen a more loved set of babies in my entire life.

Babies are such a long-term commitment. They make everything smell differently. Their paraphernalia covers every surface of the house. They take up time, energy, and they make us question our sanity. They're such a drain. I remember feeling and thinking all of these things through the years. Yet, babies make the world open up. Suddenly, we can see the ordinary through their shiny, new lens. This view along the journey is worth all the effort. But then, they need us in a way that is stark and desperate, and this knowledge is also worth all the effort on its own.

Beyond that, they grow, and as they grow, our world expands, too. We relive every joy, every pain, and every exciting new discovery as they do. This expanded, refreshed viewpoint is also worth everything we might put into the effort of childrearing. Finally, if we are very blessed, and if we can keep our dealings with them honest and humble, they sometimes become our friends. That is worth more than all the rest combined, when it happens.

My kids are my favorite people. They might not be able to say that about me, but I'm so impressed with them, that I don't need their undying devotion. I'm just thrilled with the amount of time that they give me to intrude into their worlds. I've poured everything I have learned in my lifetime into these people. They learned a lot of it, and rejected some of it. All in all, they are their own people. I enjoy their unique points of view. I absorb their wisdom. I let them correct me respectfully when I'm wrong. I learn, and I grow. Because I took the time to hold some tiny, grimy hands, change some really gross diapers, and walked around smelling like puke for quite a long while. My youngest alone threw up for 9 months straight. And in the end, I've had the most amazing adventure that the world can hold -- raising kids. Don't pass it up if you get the chance. It's amazing.


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