Raising tiny humans is hard!
Yeah, yeah, we know. Sleepless nights, whether they’re two months old or twenty-one, and whatnot. But it’s not just the snotty noses wiped on your shirt or the mounds of laundry that multiply prior to folding. It’s not even worries at every sniffle and fever, or how you never stop putting your hand on their chest at night to make sure they’re still breathing. I kinda wish it was just the sibling bickering, repetitive calling of my name, or how they never hear you when you need them to, but catch every word if you don’t.
No, it’s harder than that. The hardest part is that you’re raising smaller versions of yourself. So you question every step you take, wanting to leave out the parts that scarred you, but add in the things you wished were there. Do you know what I mean?
It’s like you want to not make the mistakes you may have felt were made in your upbringing, make the kinds of memories that you personally still hold dear, yet go above and beyond the best you ever got. We want to be a better version of our parents, even when our folks did an outstanding job. Our dreams for our children are huge, insurmountable even, yet we still work towards making their childhood great. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but can make parenting all the more difficult. We desire to raise better tiny humans, learn from our mistakes, and most importantly, not totally mess it up.
This topic really came to my mind this past week.
My daughter said, “for example, one time at Chick-fil-A you said we could trade in our toy for an ice cream. So I traded in my toy. But Izzy and Bailey didn’t want to trade theirs in. But you got them an ice cream anyway. Cause you knew they’d cry. It’s hard cause of stuff like that.”
I nodded slowly, a truckload of thoughts spinning wheels in my mind. This had been her example of how being the oldest child is hard. It had been her example of how it was often unfair. And while, as an eldest child myself, I totally understood her plight, it didn’t escape me that this example had been over three years ago!
Had it really hurt her so badly that it was etched in her memory?!
Like, how good memories from childhood were the ones that came to mind in middle age, was that how bad memories were too? Did my kid seriously have a cavern full of times I had failed her as a parent?
The conversation had come about after she was punished for hurting the middle daughter. Ahh, the middle child. I remember when she was still a toddler an elderly patient warning a pregnant me to make her feel loved.
“The middle ones. They’re the ones who often feel forgotten. I made that mistake, so don’t you do it too,” he had warned.
She was the one I worried about most. Her heart was so kind, but also it was fragile. You could crush her spirit with a cross look, so I made sure to lift her up frequently, telling her how special she was. And apparently, I realized as I sat on the bed with my eldest, I had more often chose her side in sibling rivalry. Because she was so tiny, she was the one we guarded. Her tender soul needed our gentle touch, but I wondered if in my cultivating I had made my oldest girl feel less. I mean, she certainly wasn’t the baby.
Sigh. The baby. My sweet, precious, adorable youngest daughter who shined brighter than a thousand stars. My baby girl, always getting into mischief, but always winning me over with a mischievous grin and clever quip. She had us all wrapped around her chubby finger, and she knew it. Heck, we all knew it, and not a week went by without me worrying I may be raising a spoiled brat as my last child. Oh, Lord, help me.
Between worrying I was spoiling one, not building the uniqueness and confidence of another, or neglecting the first, I was in for a challenge. I contemplated if I was putting too much responsibility on my eldest, being too coddling with my middle, or lenient with my last. And that’s when I muttered to myself, raising tiny humans is hard.
And that’s when God spoke to my heart, “it leads them to me.”
I nodded in understanding, yeah, God, I get it. Parenting was tough, and yeah, I probably messed it up frequently, but praise the Lord, I didn’t have to get it perfect. Where I fell short, He picked up. I had devoted myself and my family to Him, and He was faithful to take care of us. I could try my best, but with my human hands I might fumble. Thankfully my girls were His girls. I could relax in the fact that I wasn’t raising serial killers with my mistakes, and my God drew my daughters to His heart. Even if I failed, they were His. I was His.
Raising tiny humans was hard, but my God worked all things for our good. He placed them within me, and before they were even a spark He knew I could parent them well. He has given me a task, and He equips me each day to do my best. And when I do less than His best, He is faithful to draw my daughters closer to Him. Maybe it’s hardest when I try to do it too much on my own, but when I can release my worries to Jesus, He can smooth out the rough spots and fix my focus. Instead of seeing it simply as hard, instead I can count it all as joy.