Do you ever look at your baby girl and wonder what kind of young lady she will become?
I do, almost daily. I remember when Whitney was born, like it was yesterday. She had porcelain light skin, and big eyes like blueberries. I knew right away that she would look like me, and whether a mother tells you or not – that makes her happy.
I laid her in the white lace bassinet in my bedroom and dreamed of what she’d become. We lived in a tiny one bedroom house, and so it gave me a perfect excuse to keep her near me longer. She was quick to smile when I tickled her cheeks, and I was so happy she was mine. I was young, only twenty-two. I remember holding her, smelling her sweet baby smell and wanting her to stay little forever.
Somehow, I knew that when she grew up she’d be a dancer. Call it mother’s intuition – or whatever, but I knew. And, I was right. When she was eleven months old, she began dancing to any beat or rhythm she heard. Once, we were standing in a grocery line as she began shifting her head side to side to the beat of the food scanner… beep. beep. beep everyone around us was laughing. When she was around three, Jon decided to walk around the hallways in church, because she didn’t want to sit still. He let her hang from the coat racks with her tiny hands grasping for dear life, and she loved it! I couldn’t believe that someone so little would have so much strength and be so brave.
Soon after, I started her in gymnastics because it was all too perfect for her. The first time they asked her to try the splits, she sat down in them without any pain or stress. She seemed to be made for this sort of thing and they called her gumby. Over the years, she developed her skill and took third in state, even though I refused to take her to over twenty-five hours of practice a week like they recommended. It just seemed like way too much for a girl that was six.
Over time, it just became life controlling and we switched her over to dance. I don’t know why I was so surprised when they asked for her to be on the competing team. Eventually, she began cheerleading for her high school and now she’s back on a dance team. She’s always been very involved – but here is the thing…
Where did the time go? We spent everyday running here and there – and she grew up so fast. They all do. I’m now watching her march toward graduation in only a year and a half – and I just can’t believe it! If I think back, I wonder if I would have changed anything to a slower paced life – but I don’t think so. Maybe that’s because I don’t know how to be slow paced.
What I do know, is that I’ve loved our talks. No matter what crazy things were going on in our lives – and there were MANY – we took the time to talk. Sometimes, it was in the car and a lot of time when I tucked her in bed at night. Sometimes it was in my bed when we snuggled and read a book or in the kitchen when we ate. I know I was not a perfect mom to her, but I did always try to keep our line of communication open. I know my kids. I understand what makes them happy or sad. I get it when they walk different or talk different. I’ve studied their mannerisms and worked to be relevant in their lives. And soon, she will have a family of her own. Hopefully, not too soon.
It’s always crazy to me when I think that we make the biggest decisions of our lives during our twenties and thirties, but we really don’t even begin to understand who we are until we are forty! I can say that now that I’m thirty-nine. My self realization is just really beginning to settle. I’m not as confused about who I am – even though at the time I didn’t realized I was. The truth is that we actually are children with our children. We are learning and growing right beside them. We are children of a Heavenly Father that loves us and it is a good thing that he is patient with us not only as we were little children, but as we are as parents.
It is not easy to parent. We all fail. We all have hard days, and that is okay. If we beat ourselves up over it, we become weaker – not stronger. Think of your small children and how much you love them. They make mistakes, but you still love them. They drive you crazy, but you wouldn’t trade the experience of raising them, for the world.
That is exactly how we are in God’s eyes. He sees your beauty. He sees your pain. He sees your trials and successes and he knows you by name.
Have a beautiful Sunday. Hold on to your children and talk with them…really talk. They are such a blessing in our lives and they grow up before you know it. If your children are older, still work to have a relationship with them. You will be glad you did. My poor parents try to keep up with me, which is almost impossible, but they always try and this means the world to me.
Family is all that really matters and it is always worth our time.
written by: Janae