Motherhood is full of lessons
Published 4:04 pm Saturday, May 13, 2017
When I was pregnant, I prayed for the wisdom to teach my son how to be a happy, generous, loving and tolerant person.
When I was pregnant, I thought being a mom was all about teaching someone else how to be a good person. I had no idea that this little person would teach me so much more.
Here some of the more important lessons my son has taught me in my first year of motherhood:
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— Take time to appreciate the small things. I used to spend about an hour every morning with Uriah sitting on my belly. I would talk to him and he would jabber back. Every morning, he was mesmerized by something new. When he began to see the color red, he would stare at something until his little eyes would cross. He would smile at the colorful pillows and laugh at the painting hanging over the bed. I was constantly impressed by his ability to love the things that I tend to take for granted. He would rub a soft blanket for a minute straight and when he started eating solid food, he repeated “MMM” throughout basically his whole meal. I’ve learned to appreciate what it means to be able to see a painting, to smell fragrant flowers, to feel the grass on my bare feet, to taste my favorite meal and how beautiful life would be if I could maintain an appreciation for the small things every day.
— Be brave, even in the face of failure. When Uriah began pulling up on things he fell repeatedly, even hitting his head a time or two. He would cry for a moment and once he was ready, he would try again. Sure enough, he eventually pulled up on the table and now he can walk around it, move from the table to the nearby couch and soon enough he’ll let go and my little guy will be walking. I find myself often wanting to give up when things don’t go my way. If I could only remember to look at every situation with the same perseverance as my infant son, I would find more happiness and success.
— It is OK to be proud of your accomplishments, even the small ones. The other day, Uriah took a plastic stick and stuck it right through the hole in a toy. He slid the toy off, laid it down and repeated the feat. I was a proud mom in that moment. When he caught me watching him, I could see the pride in his eyes, too. He was so happy that he achieved what to most people would seem insignificant. He clapped and danced and laughed and then went back to doing it again. I’ve learned as a mother to not be so hard on myself. It’s OK to be critical or to wish you had done a little better, but it’s most important to be proud of all the things you accomplish each day — even if that just means making sure your child is happy, fed and makes it to bed that night.
— Be curious. My childhas so many toys that there are full baskets he has never even seen. Yet, he maneuvers his way around our house peeking into cabinets, under couches, behind TV stands and even in my purse. He is so curious about everything and, in being this way, he manages to find some pretty fun things. He’s learned how fun it can be to beat on a pot like it’s a drum and that my keys make a much cooler sound than any rattle, among other things. If you aren’t inquisitive and curious and eager to learn about new things, you are doing yourself a disservice. How will you truly know what you love or hate if you don’t take chances and explore new things?
— It is OK to be honest about your feelings. Babies are not afraid to let you know when they need something, when they are unhappy, when they aren’t feeling well and a whole slew of other emotions. As adults, we are often asked to hide or bury our emotions for the comfort of other people. There are some situations where this may be necessary, but for the most part, we should strive to be a little more open about our needs, our feelings and our desires. It’s OK to tell someone if they hurt your feelings. It is alright to make it known that you aren’t feeling well. You don’t always have to pretend to be happy.
— Love unconditionally and be a friend to everyone you meet. This is the most important lesson I’ve gleaned from motherhood. I love to watch my child in a grocery store. He shows love, tolerance and acceptance to any person he sees. He smiles at every stranger. He says “hi” to all who pass by. He doesn’t care if they are overweight. It doesn’t matter to him the color of their skin. The clothes on their back are insignificant. He simply appreciates that there are other people around and takes it upon himself to make them his friends. And it is a beautiful thing to watch someone’s face light up when they realize he’s waving at them, to hear them talking and laughing when they part ways with him. I wish more than anything that all of us could approach others the way babies and young children do. It is true that intolerance is taught. My son has taught me that loving others unconditionally is the most powerful thing you can do.
I could go on and on about the things I’ve learned from my sweet boy, and I look forward to all the lessons he has for me as he grows. Having only done this mom thing for a year, I’m scratching the surface on what a monumental task it is. I have a new-found appreciation for all the brave, strong and nurturing mothers who came before me.
My constant prayer has changed, you see. It’s no longer that I’ll know what to teach him. He knows all the things he already needs to be a good person. My prayer is that I will have the skill and love to cultivate and nurture those already beautiful habits he has as a baby.
Whitney Leggett is editor of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 759-0049.