Sweet Jacob is growing up beautifully. He takes my breath away. Sometimes Mike & I just look at each other and laugh. Last night on the long drive home at 9:00 p.m. Jacob, awake despite our best efforts, was unusually noisy. The inflection in his little voice rose and fell, long sustained baby words. We are almost certain he is singing. Why wouldn’t he? It’s what his mom and dad do.
I’ve heard two different common sentiments expressed by parents recently. It seems we moms and dads are either not ready for our kids to grow up or impatient with anticipation to see them do the next thing. It’s hard to just be in the moment and I think moms especially, depending on their personalities, choose one of those two places to live. Either we try to hold on to the stage our children are growing out of or we are already ahead of them and eager for them to catch up to our imaginations. I’ve been guilty of this, dressing my boy in those pajamas one more time even though he can’t quite straighten his leg in them anymore. I seem to be more of a look-back mom than a look-forward mom.
Jacob had his first drink of plain ol’ water the other day. It was clear he needed it but in my mind this was a monumental occasion, one which I had delayed for 5 months, an achievement I felt strongly was to my credit. I’m not a militant breast-feeder, but I am thankful God’s let me nourish my boy the best way, and I’ve reveled in the simplicity. I caught myself trying to talk myself out of that drink of water: No, he doesn’t really need it. And then I realized why I was protesting: Because my boy was one step more grown up. I did the same thing, the same week, with lowering the mattress in his crib. What is my problem?
As a mother I’ve been gifted with complete responsibility to act on this child’s behalf. But he is not my possession and I am abusing my power if I choose for him for my sake. It’s easy to think that way, especially with babies, because we’ve been charting their development since they were completely contained in our own bodies. But that’s equivalent to the most twisted kind of manipulation in more grown-up people. No matter how powerless, he is a person, all his own (all God’s own, actually) and I need to treat him with requisite dignity. A good mother makes choices and takes action for her child in his stead, because if he had wisdom and power to choose well for himself, that is what he would do. Not for the sake of nostalgia. I want to do this as a mother. I want to respect my kids. (One lady I know set a beautiful example.)