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parenting

Family

Confident + Kind

October 12, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 7.40.16 AMAs Ainsley gets older I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want her to be. Not about the vocation she chooses or the activities she participates in as the grows, but the important things that make the core of her being. We pray over Ainsley daily, but we always pray for her out loud before bed together as a family. The words that keep coming back to me are “confident & kind.” My prayer for you, sweet Ainsley, is that you’re confident in who God created you to be and kind to people from every walk of life.

Joe says that each one of us is best at practicing that which we struggle most with. I’m positive that’s true. Now that I’m a mom, I’ve become more reflective. I’ve thought about times when I haven’t been confident enough to be the person I feel called to be, or when I haven’t had the confidence to go sit with someone who is alone because I’ve been too preocupied with my own insecurities.

I see kiddos who have differences, both minor and major, and I think about the heartbreak that parents experience when other kids use those differences to make fun of another kid or tear them down. Guys? It breaks my heart. Perhaps it’s because I got a little glimpse already into having a baby that’s “different” with her little skin tags by her ears and her tiny gap that we repaired in the corner of her lip. She was just an infant, oblivious to those differences, and she’ll never remember that as part of her story. But I pray every day that when she encounters children who are different than she is that she is includes them, brings them into the game or group, and can see past the differences to find common ground.

I’m also realizing that this parenting business is weighty stuff, isn’t it? If I want Ainsley to be confident and kind, to include and affirm others, then I need to do a better job of modeling that behavior in my own life. I feel SO convicted of all the times that I’ve fallen short, and so inspired to continue to ask God for the strength and capacity to model these things to my baby girl.

I’ve been thinking of taking these words and using them as artwork in Ainsley’s new room, both as a reminder to her and to me + Joe that we should strive to model true confidence in the form of humility and kindness to everyone we come in contact with.

On that note, does anyone have any great parenting books to recommend? I’m talking less about tactical books and more about general concepts, faith-based parenting and the like? I’m all ears!

Madison

Family

You Light Up My Life

July 30, 2015

IMG_0389Before I had a baby I was very skeptical about motherhood. I read post after post from moms who talked about how fulfilling and amazing it was being a momma to littles, and I worried that I wouldn’t find it nearly as gratifying and wonderful as others described. I wondered, to be totally honest, if I had the “mom gene.”

We walked the road of infertility for two years before Ainsley arrived. Sometimes when you’re in the thick of charting and temping and visiting doctors and searching for answers you start to wonder what the point is, if you really want a baby, if the pain and heartache is worth the physical and emotional toll it takes on you and your family. After our second miscarriage, I told Joe I was done trying. That I didn’t have it in me to keep going and risk more heartache and loss. I was devestated, depleted, scared.

While I was pregnant with Ainsley I became increasingly worried that the expectations I had for her would be too great for any one child to carry. She was our miracle baby, her story and arrival into this world was unlike anything I had ever experienced firsthand. I was fearful that my expectations for motherhood would be too large for any baby to fill.

Our first couple months with this little one? They were HARD. There is no other way to say it. She was, and continues to be, a very easygoing baby, but the adjustment to parenthood didn’t come naturally to me. I was tired, scared and uncertain, questioning myself on almost everything related to baby care. Add a stint in the NICU when she was 4 days old, a scary (but ultimately OK) diagnosis, many specialist appointments and a surgery at 8 weeks old and I was doing my best to keep my head above water.

Being a momma is scary stuff. Fighting for your little one and advocating on their behalf? Gutwrenching.

But this whole motherhood thing? You guys, it’s turned into something wonderful. Around 3 months the haze lifted and the doctor’s appointments slowed down. Ainsley started smiling and giggling and becoming a little person with distinct likes and dislikes and funny quirks. And along the way I’ve been affirming my parenting skills. Am I a perfect mom? Hardly! But I frequently tell Joe, “I think I’m the best mom for Ainsley, and I’m doing a pretty good job!” Not because I want to be boastful or arrogant, but because this whole parenting gig is hard enough as it is, and a little (or a lot) of encouragment and affirmation is absolutely necessary.

So, Miss Ainsley, thank you for lighting up my life like none other. Being your momma? It makes me feel more “me” than anything ever has before. I couldn’t be more thankful for you, sweet pea, and I have a feeling that it’s going to keep getting better.

Madison