Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Gift of Children

My sister Monica captured these beautiful photos for us one evening with the most beautiful lighting from the setting sun! I love the warmth of every photo.

When you look at your baby (or a picture of your baby) all the cliches come to mind and are so so so true. You light up my life. You are so loved. You fill up my heart. You are so beautiful. You are the best thing that ever happened to me. You fill my life with so much joy.

However, the cliches must come to the minds of many moms because they are so well-used that repetition has caused less of the emotion to come through the words. The statements you feel so strongly can't portray how strongly you feel them because everyone hears moms saying them all the time. Oh well! I think it takes being a mom to truly understand the love (borderline obsession? haha) you can feel for your little kiddo.

It is so amazing how much they love you back, as well. It's really unexplainable, the feeling of being so completely needed and unconditionally loved by your baby. You and a few other special people are literally their world. In the beginning, when Rose was a brand newborn, the level of dependency was a little overwhelming. I remember lying in the bath on one of the first days with her and hearing her cry from upstairs where Matt or my mom had her. I remember so wishing I could just lie there and relax without constantly listening for a cry that would call me out of the tub for a long and always challenging (at that point) nursing session. This might sound really selfish, but at that point in time hormones were all over the place, my body was healing from a battle (haha), I felt so sore and flu-like but most of all I was exhausted. Of course I treasured those cuddles with my tiny newborn and I already loved Rose so much (although I can honestly say that love was little compared to now! It just keeps growing), but I found the beginning with Rose to really be a challenge in some ways. Some tears were definitely shed, both out of joy and out of complete overwhelm!

Rose and Auntie Mons!

After the first few weeks, though, things became so much more manageable. Now I can really appreciate (most of the time!) being so needed and loved by my lil baby. It's weird to explain, but it's as if Rose's need and unconditional love reaches out to me and pulls at my heart. It sounds so corny but I can actually almost imagine feeling a real physical tugging at my heart when I look at that little face! See what I mean by obsessed haha?

The best kisses

People worry so much about the sacrifice that babies will require of them. I mean, the worries aren't unfounded, babies require so much sacrifice. They also bring unimaginable amounts of joy, love, passion and purpose. You've created a real human with a real life, so of course you want to make sacrifices to give this child that you love the best that you can give. Also, maybe what you have to give up stings a bit but in reality, the selflessness parenthood requires of you is almost definitely going to make you a better person. The shift of focus from primarily yourself to this little munchkin (you have to do this in relationships/marriage as well but it's not quite the same) is probably going to be a good thing for your character when all is said and done (at least that's what I tell myself) ;). It is hard and of course, we all feel sorry for ourselves sometimes (okay well I'll just speak for myself), or maybe wonder what if, but I don't think many people on their deathbeds regret having children or making sacrifices for them. Sometimes it's hard to remember all these things in the nitty gritty day to day, but I really truly believe these things. I wish everyone could see the beauty of children and the gift that they truly are.

One thing I love about the Catholic faith is the way it emphasizes that children are such a gift and blessing, as well as the value of sacrifice and selflessness. Hey, loving children is straight from Jesus :)

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14

All this isn't to say everyone should have kids or to be weird or preachy in any way. I just often hear comments that point to children being a burden or something that is in the way of more important things. Or people's only experiences with babies are the ones they hear crying on the bus so they say things like, "I don't like babies." You hear about how babies get in the way of careers and dreams, how they are so expensive, how difficult parenthood is - all the negatives. I guess I just find it so refreshing to hear about the positive side. To hear people celebrating how incredibly wonderful children are and speaking to the value of children. The love and joy they bring to the lives around them. Someone pointing out that the sacrifices are so worth it and that being the best mom you can be to your children is a really great "career" aspiration (haha) if that is your vocation. I know that I'm probably at the easiest part of my motherhood journey right now, so maybe I'm not the most qualified to be saying all this but it makes me sad when I hear the subtle (or blunt) negative comments so many people make in regards to babies, kids, large families, and parenthood.

I am so grateful for the gift of Rose. There have been challenges, worries, and bad days, and I know that there will be so so many more, but I hope I can always remember what a gift my children are to me and always remember to thank God for them over and over and over.

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