“A Day in the Life…” My favorite Beatles song and the subject of today’s entry.
Okay so it’s really not a post about a day in my life… I just thought of it, thought it was clever, and chose to name my entry for today after it. After all, what’s in a name?
I thought it might be interesting to share what has been the most challenging aspect of parenting so far, and what has been the least challenging. My son turned nine months old yesterday and I must say, it has been a surprising journey.
I suppose the most challenging aspect of parenting so far has been the daily decisions on who we are as parents and how we’re shaping Virgil. I’m fully aware that at nine months old, he is hardly conscious of our attempts at infantile disciple. Albeit mellow, they are at least, a start in our eyes. Lance and I both want to make sure our children know that we are in charge while at the same time leaving them plenty of room to safely and healthily explore the world around them. Up to now, and for a bit more time into the future, we are fully aware that Virgil does not understand discipline or have a grasp of what’s right or wrong, safe or dangerous. So really, the discipline is more for us at this point and less for him. We are setting our own precedent here, learning how we will face challenges with our children, and deciding now how we will handle them.
It is very important to both of us that we are fair and balanced; just and gracious; strict and liberating. I want my children to know who is boss and who makes the decisions and yet I never want them to feel restricted or confined from trying things, meeting challenges, and exploring the world. And so each day I think (perhaps too much, as my mother would point out) about what that means for us as parents and what choices we should make to set up a healthy environment for our kids. (I speak in the plural sense here because, Good Lord willing, Virge will be the first of many.)
The challenge has been to learn how to think critically and apply our best judgement on all things, right from the beginning, so that we form the right habits now. That way, when he does begin to understand discipline and accountability, we won’t have to change our habits all over again.
That being said, what has been the easiest thing about parenting so far? I would have to say, hands down, it has been loving our little man despite the frustrations that inevitably come with parenthood. See, I’ve been an aunt for almost twenty years, and while I love my nieces and nephews deeply, I must admit there have been numerous times when I wondered what planet they came from and why we can’t send them back. I was concerned, admittedly, that with my own children, living with them 24/7, I would develop a sense of resentment to their very natures, simply because the daily task of dealing with children can be overwhelming. But I’ve learned what unconditional love really feels and looks like through my sweet boy. And even though he can be a pill, I never, ever feel like I would be better off without him. I never feel like I wish I could “take him back.” This has been a sweet surprise to me because I never understood unconditional love until now.
It brings a whole new respect to my own parents and what I put them through. Wow. They deserve a medal. And moreso, it brings a whole new perspective to God’s love and what it means for me. I never knew He loved me that much. In fact, he loves me more than I love Virgil, as impossible as that seems.
So there it is, what I’ve learned so far and what I know I will continue to learn as Virgil and I grow up. We’re both learning valuable lessons. Amen to that!