Thursday, March 31, 2011

bless the little children

oops, i did it again. so, it's been a whole 'nother month since my last post. i've still been super busy, but i do have a lot to share. babylove's first birthday party was this past weekend. since she's now officially a big girl, i might need to come up with a different name for her besides babylove. any ideas?

i didn't have my camera with me as it has been m.i.a. for a little while, so i'm still waiting for pictures from friends so that i can share them here. things turned out really well and everyone seemed to have a good time.

as my little girl grows up, i've been faced with the reality that my illusion of the perfectly structured life that i had for myself was just that, an illusion. i've really had to deal with letting go of my desire to be in control of all aspects of my and her lives. i think it's the chaos theory that states that once an event happens, it sets in motion a sequence of events that in turn affect other things ad infinitum. okay, so maybe part of that was the butterfly effect, but you get the idea. without the benefit of knowing the future, there's really nothing we can do to change whatever the end result of our choices will be.

my first adjustment came soon after giving birth, when i had to turn my newly born kid over to the nurses and doctors for awhile for them to do their nursing and doctoring on her. now, some of y'all might know that i have a slightly overactive imagination (fueled by watching way too many episodes of dateline and 48 hours mystery). but, after 9+ months of being her only protector, this was very hard for me.

i kid you not, i actually searched my baby for identifying features before i would hand her over just to make sure that i could tell if they brought back the wrong baby. hey, it could happen!

then, came the grandparents, family members and well meaning strangers with their advice and traditions and idiosyncracies. i really had to learn to let most of it roll off of my back (a lesson i'm still trying to learn, by the way) and to only intervene when i felt it was absolutely necessary. in other words, pick my battles. but that's going off into a whole other topic which i may or may not get into...

back to my original point, which is: once you pop out your kid, they become a member of a circle of family and friends and the world at large. most of these people have good intentions, but that doesn't always translate to what is best. case in point, babylove's new daycare teacher that loves to try to tame my kid's curls by pulling her hair into too tight ponytails when she gets to school. yeah, i know she means well, but after the third or fourth time in a week...we may have to have a talk soon.

and while there seem to be pretty straightforward ways to physically shield your kids from people like kidnappers and pedophiles, how do you protect their minds from the influence of their future peers, or images on television, or facebook? how do you protect them from people that you YOURSELF have entrusted to care for them?

as a parent, i know i've fixated on things like breastfeeding for the full 12 months, keeping her away from second-hand (and third-hand!) smoke and having her in a rear-facing car seat until she's two. but the bottom line is that despite our best efforts to love and protect our kids while they are still kids, they are their own independent beings who will one day have to stand on their own two feet and make their own decisions.

unfortunately for two families that i've recently learned about, their daughter and son both unwittingly made choices that started the chain of events that ultimately ended up costing them their lives. their stories are just heartbreaking and i can't imagine the pain that these parents must feel.

i really feel that the only defense that i have against the uncertainty is my christian faith. i've always been a believer, but i want to actively show my daughter what it means to have faith in God. just like i try to give her an appreciation for books by reading to her, i want her faith to be something that she will learn from her parents and continue to embrace as she gets older. i say prayers with her every night before she goes to bed and we go to church on sundays. she even goes to a christian daycare, but i want to make sure that i'm doing my part to instill those values in her.

i started a new practice of actually praying for her (and my future unborn kiddos) daily and just speaking God's word and promises over her life. even though i haven't heard any direct messages from God about her so far, i figured that prayer would be a better alternative than locking her in her room for the rest of her life.

has becoming a parent changed your outlook on life and the world? how so?

click on the links for more information about shelby allen and henry granju.

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