Christian stamps his foot hard against the tile floor, imitating his mother’s Irish dancing. He stamps three times in a row and laughs, proud of his accomplishment and the sound reverberating through the air.
Sure, I taught him those complicated dance moves, to eat with a spoon, say please, grunt when lifting, and scoot backwards down the stairs, but during our 21 months together he’s taught me things much more valuable. Because of his toddler tutelage, I have a brighter motherly shine.
He teaches me new ways to love. From the time I discovered that I was growing a baby, I began loving him sight unseen. That love has only grown. His easy smile and charming personality make me want to wrap him in a hug and kiss his fuzzy head, even if he has just colored my kitchen table or spilled the jar of peanuts on the floor. Overflowing with motherly love, I sacrifice my daily desires. What I receive is unmeasurable. The way Christian says, “Momma.” How he kisses my hand and face. When he tugs on my leg so that I bend down and he hugs my cares away. The bottom line is he loves me back. It is not because of what I accomplish–my clean floor, healthy baby lunches, or combed hair–but because I am his mother.
He teaches me to relax and have fun. As a baby, Christian would burst out laughing for no obvious reason. As I began noticing how often he laughed, as opposed to the relatively few times a day I laughed, silliness became a conscious part of each day. We sing crazy songs. Squat and study ants. Shout silly sounds and words. Zoom cars across the floor. To his delight, even place his pants on his head.
He teaches me loyalty. He loves me even when I am gloomy, having a hectic day, or have yelled at him. Christian may look upwards with a confused look and big tears clouding his vision when I disappoint him, but he loyally returns for me to kiss his ouchies, play with him in the bath, and feed him ice cream. He refuses to allow disappointments or anger to cloud his faithfulness and devotion to me his mother.
He teaches me to grow in new and different ways. I now am almost bilingual, fluent in baby talk and interpreting urgent grunts and points. I am a master in removing burp and poop stains, a pro at sleep walking through mid-night nursings, and changing the diaper and clothes of a squirmy child is no longer a challenge. I am learning to live in the moment and enjoy our time together.
He teaches me to have faith in myself as a mother and faith in God. Christian looks to me to work things out. And despite my motherhood induced worries, guilt, and failures, I view Christian as a precious miracle entrusted by God to my husband and me. This clarity strengthens my faith in God, who promises to guide me through every moment of this huge on-the-site training program called parenting.