Thursday, June 25, 2015

Things My Daughter Teaches Me

There are a million reasons that Jesus tells us to be like little children. I am reminded of it daily as a mom. It is an honor to share my days and life with such a strong and sweet spirit. She teaches me so much: 

Don't Give Up
When JaiseAnn was around six months old, I hit one of the most trying times in my life. I was beyond sleep deprived which honestly made me feel like I was losing my mind. I had weight to loose, but wasn't doing anything about it. I didn't have anyone to talk to. My husband was working long days and my days felt long and my spurts of sleep too short. Don't get me wrong, thanks to some Heavenly influence, I'm sure, I made it through every day and I was still able to feel such deep love and gratitude for my daughter. I was thankful for her and I still enjoyed her. It was just a very hard time for me.

While I was going through a nightmarish time, I would hop onto Instagram and see moms running races, fitting back into their old jeans, reading books, having lunch dates, and more. I felt so alone and so very inadequate. I wondered why on earth I couldn't keep up. Why was I struggling so much? What was I missing? 

During that time, JaiseAnn was learning to crawl. All day long she'd make attempts to move. When she couldn't, she would occasionally get frustrated, but most of the time not. She is too innocent to know that some other babies could already do what she was attempting to do, but failing at time and time again. All she knew is that she wanted to move and move she would. She just kept going.

Watching her day in and day out was honestly poetic for me. I finally realized that I needed to pretend I didn't know what other moms were or weren't doing every day. (Plus, nobody has the exact same circumstances, nobody.) I knew that I wanted to be the very best version of me and the very best mom for my daughter. And while many days I did (and still do) feel like a failure, I keep trying. Each day I wake up and remind myself that I was chosen to be her mom for a reason and I am going to keep trying until I get it right. (And if I never do? Well, that's okay, too. But I won't give up).

Don't Hold Grudges
My daughter is a pretty happy child. A bit moody, a lot stubborn-- she can definitely let you know when she's not happy.  For the most part, though, she's genuinely pretty happy. Zach and I have come to describe her as joyful. I know there are some babies that are truly not happy, but most are. JaiseAnn honestly spends most of her day smiling. I often wonder if it's because she doesn't hold grudges.

You all know (at length now) that JaiseAnn was/is a poor sleeper. I have had many times that her sleep troubles have pushed me to my limit and I have lost patience with her. Maybe I yelled at her to "go to sleep!" (And maybe I threw in a few curse words in the process) She wakes up, though, every morning, with a smile on her face for her mom. It honestly humbles  me that she loves me so much despite my many flaws and my daily missteps. She shows me that happiness comes from loving others without condition.

Tomorrow is a New Day
We have days where we are just pals. We hang out and run errands and play at the park. I am available to her whenever she needs me and those days feel so good. We also have days where I'm overwhelmed, tired, distracted, working too much, or we are just busy. We don't have time to connect as much as either of us would like some days and at the end of the evening I feel a little sad. I know I can't get the day back and I will mourn the parts of the day I did wrong or lost. But then, she smiles at me in the morning and I realize I get a chance today to do better! Each day is new and my daughter has helped me embrace that. That simple fact allows me to let go of guilt and embrace the fact that tomorrow I get to try harder to be better...and she has also taught me that that is enough.

A Lot Changes in a Month
I can get discouraged with trying to see improvements in myself when I make a change. I start to feel like it's taking too long or I'll never see a big enough difference to make the effort worth it. But I look at my daughter--she's talking, communicating, walking/running/climbing, exploring, and eating a ton. She was barely walking a few months ago. What a difference a month or two can make. She is persistent and determined and it pays off. She learns and grows every day and seeing that happen reminds me that I am, too (if I'm trying to). 

All of these things are things I get to practice daily by being JaiseAnn's mom, all while being reminded by watching her. I learn from her so much and I hope some day that the things I've learned will allow me to be an example to her as well. 

What do you learn from children?

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