Perhaps it’s because most of my children are grown, but I tend to notice little children now more than ever. In the days of five kids in seven years, the only children I noticed were the ones who happened to be interacting with mine. These days, watching a little one at a restaurant, on an airplane, or when shopping, I have these vague memories pop into my head of one of my kids doing similar things.
One memory recently stuck out to me as I overheard two mothers comparing their children. I found myself laughing out loud and then quickly realized I was alone in public. Yet another sign of my age.
It was my second daughter Abby who had begun walking at a very young age, almost skipping the crawling stage. She was bound and determined to catch up to her older sister, Ginny.
One morning, I rounded the corner after cleaning the breakfast dishes and discovered, to my surprise, that Abby had pulled off her diaper and crawled up onto the commode. She was struggling to balance her tiny body, but she grinned from ear to ear. She was barely 12 months old.
That memory, in turn, reminded me of another child’s struggle with potty training and the resulting bed wetting and embarrassment.
Grace Upon Grace
In those early mothering years, I was guilty of comparing my children with other kids as well as with their siblings. If one child set the bar, I expected each to follow. It took time for me to understand the uniqueness God created in each child and that, in time, each would learn what they needed to.
This spilled over into academics as we began homeschooling. It caused me to add increased pressure when I should have cuddled. Oh, the grace children give us as we learn to parent!
Now I’m in the season where I can relax a bit; it all turned out okay. I don’t mean to say my kids are perfect, but the ones who learned to potty train years after the record-setting Abby share the same measure of struggles and accomplishments.
In the thick of it, it’s sometimes difficult to know what to expect, how hard to push, when to back off, and when to walk away. Fortunately, our children aren’t the only source of grace. God grants us grace as well through all of our ups and downs. He sees our own uniqueness, even as He teaches us to appreciate the same in our children.
May you learn to enjoy not only the journey but also the grace that flows through it.