You are the best gift you can give your family

tufted titmouse

tufted titmouse – very common around here during winter

Ever since I was a child I knew I wanted to have children. I “mothered” my younger sister, friends, and even college roommates.

D and I were so young when we married. We have crossed many milestones together: college, graduate school, buying a house, vamping up our careers.

Along the way there were babies lost. Four, actually. With each one gone I became a little colder about the loss. This was my way of preparing myself for the fact that children may not be in God’s plan for our life.

I will never, ever forget the morning after my 12 week sonogram. There had been a complication early on in my fifth pregnancy and we went in to see how things were going. The complication had resolved itself and we were in the clear. The next day D greeted me with, “Good morning, mommy of a healthy baby.” Joy rushed through my whole body and I relaxed and really let myself feel that joy until my bones were saturated with it. I wasn’t cold anymore.

Before Rie came along I would cringe every time someone complained about their kids being annoying, energetic, curious, or some other unforgivable adjective commonly associated with children. As times changed and technology became more widespread, I hated to see parents and/or kids on their devices when out to dinner. But Rie is here now and I can focus all of my attention on her without lamenting others’ mistakes as their parenthood to young children slips away.

Yet I still feel the need to bring this issue up. In a twisted way, I am fortunate I had to face the possibility of not becoming a parent, because it makes me a better mother. Yes, I’m tired and sometimes I think I cannot bear another recital of Pat the Bunny, but that does not mean I am not thankful to be reading it for the twentieth time today. I am so very thankful.

Rie is special to me, but she is not all that unusual of a child. She craves my attention and affection. She can play independently with her toys, but her favorite toy is time with Mommy or Daddy, or one of her beloved grandparents, aunts, uncles…you get the idea. The best gift I can give to her is my undivided attention. For that matter, it is the best gift I can give to my husband and everyone else I love.

My wish for Rie and for D is that they will look back on our time together fondly and never doubt how much I love them.This past weekend I ignored social media. We don’t have TV, so nothing needed to be turned off there. We went to the aquarium. We made soap together (while Rie was napping – toddlers and lye do not mix!). We watched birds through the picture window.

Downy woodpecker and chickadee

L to R: male downy woodpecker, black-capped chickadee

It was absolutely the best weekend we have had in months.

So now I have a new minimizing goal: no more social media in the evenings at home or more than once a day on the weekends. Like clearing out the mess that stops us from enjoying our home, I am clearing out the mess that stops us from enjoying each other.

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