Saturday, May 09, 2009

5 Joys of Parenting

Christy tagged me with this, and I've only just now found it! Right now we've got a small boy who spent a good chunk of the afternoon asleep in the car seat as we ran errands, and now he won't stay awake if we hold him but won't sleep in his crib or anywhere else, so it's a good time for me to remind myself of some things I love about parenting.

1. Spontaneous expressions of affection. Julian is six now, and I know the day will come when he thinks he's too cool for Mama to hug and kiss him, and when he'd rather swallow nails than tell me he loves me, especially if he thinks anyone might overhear. So when he tells me out of the blue, "Mama, I love you!", that just makes my whole day. And he's not too big yet to give me kisses - I took lunch to him at school yesterday, and he gave me a goodbye kiss in front of all his friends. Those spontaneous expressions of affection, given simply because that's how he feels, make up for all the sleepless nights and homework struggles and frustrations that also come with the parenting territory.

2. Watching them learn. Rhys isn't doing a whole lot yet other than eat, sleep, and poop, but Julian learns and changes all the time. When he was a baby, it was so much fun watching him discover that hey, these wiggly things are attached to ME, and look, I can make them move! When he was learning to move around, he didn't crawl first, he scooted on his butt. It was such a joy seeing him figure out that now he didn't need mama to get him from one place to the other. And it thrills me when he realizes, hey, I can do something new by MYSELF!, be it learning how to snap snaps and button buttons or moving up a level in reading or learning to add two-column numbers or taking pictures with the digital camera. OK, I'll admit the trend toward independence also makes me a little misty around the edges, because it means he's growing up and getting closer to the day where he doesn't *need* mama's help anymore, but still. It's a good thing, and he's so excited with himself when he accomplishes something new, how can that not make me happy? I'm so blessed now to have another opportunity to watch a sweet boy learn and grow, too, and I look forward to seeing Rhys reach milestones as he gets bigger.

3. Reading! I'm an avid reader, have been since I was very young. One thing I really wanted to pass on to my kids was my love of the written word. Julian isn't quite as fond of reading as I was - I was never without a book in my hand, and he'd just as soon play video games as anything else. But he does like to read, and we always read stories at bedtime. We read his books, and I'm also introducing him to some of my childhood favorites, like The Phantom Tollbooth (and some more recent favorites, like the Harry Potter books). He's started asking to read stories to Rhys, and I'm hopeful that they'll both grow up to appreciate books, if not quite as much as I do, at least enough to where they'll always enjoy the chance to read a good book from time to time.

4. The chance to play. As an alleged grown-up, I find it far too easy to get caught up in the whirl of "things that need my attention" - the laundry, the dishwashing, the bills to be paid, the car maintenance that has to get done, what have you. There are times Julian wants to play, and he won't take no for an answer. He's not concerned about all that grown-up nonsense, he just wants me to spend time with him. So we'll play Lego Batman on the Wii, or go outside and hit a baseball, or play space rangers and shoot imaginary bad guys, or squirt each other with water guns. And for just a little while, I can reconnect with the part of me that still remembers what playtime is like and wishes there was more of it in daily life.

5. Childlike faith. I grew up in the Baptist church, and became a Christian at the age of eight. Now that I'm older, it often seems that childlike faith was a lot easier to have when I was, well, a child. It was easy to say when I was a child, "God will take care of me" and deep-down believe it. Julian brings that back to me. He doesn't question it at all that God isn't visible to our eyes - it's just how things are for him that we see God with our hearts, and that He's always there, and that He hears us when we pray. It reminds me to take time to nurture my own spiritual life, to refresh my heart and my faith, and to remember that yes, God does hear us when we pray, even if His answers may not be the ones we want to hear or given according to our timeframe.

I'm going to tag Celeste, Melissa, Bethany, and Jenn. Y'all have fun with it!

1 comment:

Melinda said...

The joys of parenting far outweight the stuggles, but it's nice to be reminded of that now and then. Can't wait to see some more pics of your sweet boys.