This idea really hit me hard this pregnancy, but once I thought about it I realized it’s not something that you need to do only when you find out you have a child with special needs. We as parents all need to accept the child we have and let go of the child we want them to be.
When I first started thinking about this with LB it was because I felt like the child I had been envisioning in my head for 12 weeks had died
and I had to grieve for her. I wouldn’t have a “perfect” little baby anymore. It wasn’t going to be as simple as going to the hospital to deliver our new baby and bring her home. Our daughter wouldn’t be following in her big sisters footsteps like I was imagining. They wont grow up and travel the world together (random, I know, but it was something I pictured them doing). I had to let go of all that. That baby I had been dreaming of was now gone.
But then I realized, that’s okay. I already love those chubby cheeks we’ve seen on ultrasounds and I can’t wait to kiss them continuously! I already love her determination and strength. I already love her so much- not for who I am imagining her to be, but for who she actually is.
Plus, despite what I think she may not be able to do, there is still so much she WILL be able to do. And she may actually be able to do some of the things I’ve let go of her doing. She has already been nothing but surprises, so who’s to say she wont continue to surprise me for the rest of our lives?
I know she has such a big purpose in life- it was just time for me to let go of what I wanted her to become and accept what God has made her to become.
And that’s the truth for all children.
Before I had kids, when I thought about how my daughter would be I just knew she was going to be a sweet little princess who always used her manners and was the picture of perfection. How silly of me! Then I had Ry and to be honest, even after she was born and growing into her own little person, I still held onto that vision and I would punish her for not being like that. I would get upset with her for not being so sweet and polite all the time. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t run over to her brother immediately when he would get hurt. Instead, she would tell him to “suck it up.” Where is my sweet little princess?
Then it hit me: this sassy, bossy, and extremely opinionated little girl is exactly like her father. A man whom I love and admire with all of my heart, but not who I thought my little girl would act like. He is strong, guarded, and tough to break through- but also compassionate, confident, and selfless.
Now, when I see my daughter, I understand why she acts the way she does. When I see my daughter, I see him.
She is so smart and is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in, or believes to be right. Now, also like her father, they cannot accept that they do not in fact know everything… but they have the utmost confidence in themselves, something I truly admire about them.
She is not my sweet little princess, but a beautiful, strong little girl who has determination and a backbone.
Do I wish she could politely accept when she is wrong? Yes! But I have realized that this is who she is. However, instead of just letting her be, I am trying to teach her how to nicely express her opinions and listen to what other people have to say. So instead of “fixing” and molding her into that sweet princess I thought I wanted, I have accepted who she actually is and am trying to teach her to enhance those qualities.
I do not want to change her; I want to help her grow.
And I think that is what we should do with all of our children. When we can realize that they are not these perfect molds we picture in our heads, we can move on to loving and helping them become the best person they can be.
I am not saying embrace the bossy and rudeness. Not at all! I am saying, how can you help them use that? How can we teach them to turn these qualities into useful tools? How can we help without getting frustrated because they are not who we wanted them to be?
It may take some thinking outside of the box, but try and think…
Are they bossy? Show them how to kindly lead. The world needs great leaders and there is a big difference between LEADING and BOSSING.
Are they opinionated? Show them how to listen to others and respectfully tell their side. Having your own opinions and being able to express them is a great quality, but it’s even better to be able to listen to differing opinions without immediate condemnation.
Are they quiet? Show them how to comfortably express themselves. Quiet thinkers can revolutionize our world if they feel there is a way to express themselves comfortably. Singing, Writing, Painting- there are so many ways they can convey their emotions and ideas while still in their comfort zone, help them find that.
The best thing we can do as parents is not try to change our children into who we want them to be, but to love them for who they are.
Growing up is hard, but it’s so much easier when you have someone in your corner who believes in you. Who is there to help you become the best you as possible, not critiquing you for who you are not. How much easier would life be if we all had someone like that in our lives? It’s one of the best things we can do/be for our children.
To not be the nagging voice making them feel worthless, but the encouraging voice helping them grow into who they are meant to be. The person who God has made them to be.