Six Lessons from a One Year Old
It happened. My baby girl turned one year old last week. The nostalgia around a child graduating from infancy can make mommas weepy but I am full of excitement and thanksgiving! While starting out in the NICU was hard, one silver lining (among many) is the experience encouraged me to set my mind from the beginning. The first days of Annabelle’s life were spent praying and crying and celebrating every gram gained, every sip of the bottle consumed, and every strong heartbeat. And since those days I have tried to keep the same mindset of celebrating every milestone whether great or small.
I continue to stand amazed at what God can teach us through children. I recounted lessons I had learned at two months and six months of Annabelle’s life and have continued to learn more ever since. Some of these truths we know. But as humans we need reminders and we need them often. And my one year old jogs my memory daily.
Enjoy the journey. If you have spent any length of time around little kids you know that nothing happens quickly. At least when they are really little you can pick them up and hurry them along. While sometimes necessary, sometimes (probably most of the time) we just need to slow it down. Children like to explore and they take notice of everything. Everything. They are not concerned about getting to the destination or how much time it takes. They enjoy the journey.
Be in God’s presence. No matter what I am doing, it takes about five seconds until little fingers are digging into my legs. Children want to be with their parents. The majority of the time, as long as she is close, Annabelle is content. How great would it be if we lived like this? If we longed to be close to God and when He knew was near (and He is always near), we just relaxed?
Cultivate a cheerful heart. Annabelle will laugh at nothing. Much of the time she is stoic but suddenly will burst out with laughter, crinkling her nose and becoming short of breath. For no reason. We are often expected to be serious as adults but sometimes we just need to laugh. And having a cheerful heart makes this much easier. A cheerful heart is good medicine. It’s in the Bible.
Stare at people. Okay, you gotta be careful with this one. This one should probably fall under “actions that are cute for babies and weird for adults.” What I mean is this: take time to see people. Look at them. See what color their eyes are. Appreciate the laugh lines. Know that they are carrying more than you may ever know. Remember they are a soul. And you may be the one person who actually sees them without just seeing them.
Have a short term memory. Babies are like puppies in many ways-chewing on shoes, having trouble with bladder control, getting easily excited, and easily forgetting. This short-term memory thing can be frustrating when trying to teach lessons like “don’t put your hands on the toilet seat.” But it’s great when you have parent fails like putting them in the bouncer without fully getting their legs in only to have them fall head first on the concrete. Ahem. Thank you, God, for rock solid skulls. A couple minutes later Annabelle was playing and laughing and had forgotten the event that I will never will. Kids forgive and forget. Some things we need to hold on to. But most things we need to let go of and move on.
When you fall down, get up. And get up again. Kids fall down. A lot. But one thing I have learned from my daughter is you have to get back up. Sure, there are some tears shed. But kids don’t quit after one failed attempt at walking. They don’t become discouraged and think how weak they must be and assume failure. When they fall down, they get up and they keep getting up.
I suspect if we keep our eyes open, children will teach us more than we will ever teach them. How sweet it is. 🙂