Today is your birthday. Twenty-three years ago on this date, they placed your sweet little body into my arms. You were perfect. So small (in comparison to your older brothers)! Such a sweet little face with perfect eyes! And then you opened your mouth. And that mohawk tuft of hair on the top of your head came to attention. You squawked like a pterodactyl.
Every time you cried it was a sound out of a horror movie. But the good news was that as long as you were distracted, out of the house, hamming it up for your adoring fans, you didn’t cry. It was just when we were alone, the two of us. It was as if you were trying to tell me something. ME! The one person who should have listened to the baby cries and figured it out.
But I’m sorry. I missed the messages. I think I was sleep deprived. Three kids in five years does that to a person. I also listened to experts who thought they knew you. I was young; I took their advice. “Don’t let her be so demanding.” “A child centered house is a bad thing.” “If she controls you now, just think what it will be like when she is a teenager.”
And so I stuffed that nagging feeling down. That feeling that something was wrong. A few years later, frustrated and still without answers, I came across a book. It described you. I was sure you had allergies. We visited another expert called an allergist. He said there was nothing wrong. Again, I trusted the “experts.”
Finally a couple of years later, with mounting evidence that your behavior was not just a strong-willed child demanding her way, I found a doctor (ironically it is the doctor you now go to) that confirmed you did have a dairy allergy. I still didn’t put some of those behaviors together with the allergy. The undressing all the time, never wearing socks and shoes, hating how clothes felt. But slowly you got better. And I got to see your true self for the first time since I had you.
And I learned something about myself. I learned we are so much alike. I learned that I like myself. I learned that the small voice you hear – trust it. I learned that the experts are usually a bunch of people who have no clue what is going on, and their own children aren’t what they portray to the world.
I also learned that I knew so much more than I thought I knew. I learned how to be a better mommy. I learned that all those people saying “let your child cry it out,” or “they are just trying to manipulate you,” don’t have a clue about children. And I found my stride. And I am so thankful that you have forgiven me for my mistakes. I love that you still come to me when something is wrong.
My message to mommy’s everywhere is. . .when that child cries only for you – she/he is trying to talk to you. They trust you and want you to help them.
And my message to my daughter on her birthday. . .Continue to walk with God. Trust the Holy Spirits guidance. And Go seize the day!