Something happens when the cooler breezes of fall begin to whistle through my hair; when the falling leaves stir across the pavement and the greenery takes on hues of gold, red and orange. I find myself reflecting more and feeling a bit nostalgic at times. Perhaps this is because the year's end is so steadily approaching now. Perhaps it is because my little girl was a baby during the holidays last year and now she is so active and independent in so many ways. I cannot be certain what triggers this season of reflection but, I truly do enjoy it.
We had a lovely park play date this morning with some friends and Daisy had such a good time climbing, exploring and at one point falling down a huge tube slide head first which sent the "act without thinking" mom in me into full gear and I dove in after her rolling the whole way and getting quite a soaking because it was early in the morning and the dew had not dried out of the slide yet. It was amusing to say the least. I love watching the way my little girl takes in her surroundings and the other kids around her. I love when she tries to engage other children by bending down and looking them in the eye and babbling some sort of baby talk and making gestures with her hands to tell her story. I love that she tries to hold other kid's hands and give them hugs. She really has such a sweet spirit about her (not always for the record but, a lot of the time!).
At one point Daisy was in a little closed off wooden fort like thing at the park and I was observing as another little girl who was about 3 came in and tried to push Daisy into the wall of the fort, cornered her and at one point tried to smash her hand into a small hole. Daisy was so happy to have someone showing interest in her that she didn't seem to mind the rather older girl roughing her up a bit. I felt it though...the twinges of wanting to protect my daughter and never wanting to see her get bullied or left out. So I reflected on that. Who I am now with a one and half year old is not who I was with a newborn, nor is it who I will be with an 18 year old etc. Over the past 18 months I have become stronger, less sensitive, less protective in some ways and more in others and more willing to let my little girl learn without as much interference.
(This is my friend Elissa with 2 of her 3 boys. She is an awesome momma and I am always gleaning from her parenting experience. Visit her sweet blog here)
As mother's we are constantly growing and learning and I recognize that a mom with 3 grown children is going to have a much different perspective on motherhood than I might with one small child. Extending grace to one another is so important. We all raise our children differently and that is okay. Our kids learn things at different paces and that is okay. We discipline differently and that is okay. We have different fears as parents and that is okay. There really are SO many right ways to do the whole parenting thing. My way is no more right than anyone else but, I think we can all agree that the most important ingredient in parenting is love.
My little girl is changing and growing older with each passing second! The world can be a tough place for our little ones at times and there is no medicine quite like a mother's love to encourage, nurture and guide them. Our children area a priceless gift and we never know how long our time with them may be. We may be given 70 years or 7 minutes more. Cherish them. Protect them. Encourage them. And love them like crazy!