Saturday, April 2, 2016

When Your Baby is no Longer a Baby...

I write this a week after my littlest's 6th birthday.  With each new season, I give up a past one.  A few years ago, I no longer had toddlers, then the preschool years were gone, and now as she turns 6, my baby is no longer a baby and my heart hurts.  

I write this with less raw and much more peace.  When we first started our little family almost twelve years ago, I thought we would have four children (all boys!) and even after my third little girl was born, I constantly had this feeling that someone was still missing. But God has not allowed us to have another one and for years, it has left an ache within me. Month after month of "no." Yet, how can I complain with three beautiful, healthy children?  I must daily choose joy and count His blessings.  How blessed I am!

So I write this as a tribute to my baby who will always be my baby and to other mamas out there who may struggle too.

To the mama who has yet to hold her first baby...
The desire is so strong, so consuming.  Don't stop holding on to hope and to His promises.  Remember the man beside you may be hurting too.  Let nothing cause a wedge to come between you. When the words and pictures of others hurt, try to remember it's not their intent to rub it in, they simply don't know, nor understand.  I can say this because I once was one of them and may still fall short.

To the new mama...
I know it's tough, it's lonely at times, and you think this season will never end.  I know you're tired of hearing the wiser ones tell you to cling to the moments, that the days are long and the years are short. It's true.  But my advice is to see that baby you hold in your arms, the one that wakes you countless times in the night, that exhausts you beyond anything you could have imagined... see that little one as your first blessing and possibly your last.  Don't just assume you'll have another baby and you can enjoy cuddles more with the next one.  Savor every moment you can.  

To the mama of preschoolers...
They will learn it all eventually.  Every color will become its own one day and not always blue.  The ABC's and 123's will sound less jibberish and they will graduate from kindergarten without pacifiers.  Let them play, really play!  Read good books, even when there is laundry to fold and dishes to wash.  They'll one day stop asking and that to-do list won't seem as important.  

To mamas like me!
Let's give some grace.  Let's encourage each other when we are discouraged.  Let's stop competing and start completing each other. Let's find ways to be inspired and challenged (especially in God's Word), but not at the expense of our families.  Let's look for the fringe hours to fill up our tanks so the primary hours of our day can overflow with goodness to those we love and are surrounded by.

To the mamas with children all grown up & to women who are like mothers to us...
You are so important!  Us mamas in the thick of motherhood still need you.  We need your wisdom and your advice, even if you think we have it all together.  Google and YouTube can't teach us everything.  How blessed I am to have a mother who continually invests in the lives of me and my sisters!  But there are many who still need such motherly figures to speak the truth in love. 

To all the mamas...
Take notice of the little things.  Count the freckles and capture the quiet moments in your mind (and on camera), so you'll remember them when life seems chaotic.  Praise that man of yours every single time he steps up and leads your family as God has called him to do.  And if he doesn't, then just keep on praying.  

"If I cannot give my children a perfect mother I can at least give them more of the one they've got - and make that one more loving. I will be available.  I will take time to listen, time to play, time to be home, and time to counsel and encourage." - Ruth Bell Graham

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