Tuesday, July 17, 2012

When I grow up...

Of all the blogs I have waiting in the wings to finish, this is the one that seems the most important.

As our daughter grows up before someone else's eyes, I struggle with the reality that I am her mom. Little things remind me and encourage me, such as: when I realize Paul and I change more diapers on average, the strained "Mama" I hear at 6:30 a.m., and the fact that no matter how recently she's eaten, she is always hungry when I pick her up at the end of the day. On the whole, though, I am usually fighting the feeling that I am simply a night-watchman, a babysitter, or a wet nurse to this precious child.

A major source of encouragement comes from those loving hearts that are watching her grow and change: my parents. Not just the couple that raised me, but the couple that raised my husband as well. When I say something particularly discouraging, they endeavor to express to me that what is happening is normal and assure me I am doing OK. They always talk about how delightful she is and share stories of her day with me. Although they each have had their experiences raising five children, they always ask me before they expose our daughter to something new, be it experience or food (which really is an experience in itself). The most amazing thing is that when I start talking about what I'm learning and how I want to do this or that, they listen and don't rush to say, "I know" or explain why I'm off my rocker (and believe me, they know everything I'm telling them and they have their opinions). Between them they've raised 10 kids, and they patiently listen to me tell them how to raise our daughter. For a know-it-all, this is a humbling realization that literally (right this moment) brings tears to my eyes.

So here I am 30 years old still learning from my parents. I am so thankful to have them to learn from and always serve as an example of how I want to be when I grow up: patient, understanding, loving, knowledgeable, teachable, giving.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Have a glass of wine and a laughter-filled conversation and call me in the morning

In a recent class my husband watched a video about stress. In this video they talked about the health benefits of community. Not only do company, compassion and laughter reduce stress they also release hormones that rebuild the telomeres of your DNA, which are shortened by stress, decreasing your ability to replicate DNA and increasing your genetic aging. So the biggest enemy in the midst of stress is that we isolate ourselves when we feel overwhelmed. In reality we need people. We need to serve others!

I found this an interesting lesson, especially in America where our busy schedules make even meeting together in community a thing to stress over. When our stress often gives us excuses to avoid situations where we may serve others. We do not typically sit for hours at a community table every day or find ourselves in easy company by chance. We eat on the fly, rushing from one thing to the next. We fight for hours if not days trying to set up times that work for everyone to get together or even just one other person to meet for coffee. And then when we succeed typically there is something else to get to or a cell phone constantly reminding us of the time, etc., so the time we spend in company is less relaxing than it could or should be. We are also so focused on our own schedules we miss seeing the needs of others.

Maybe it's just me.

I do find it fascinating that God designed us for relationship. So much so, it would seem, that community not only makes us feel better emotionally but physically as well. I knew my crazy schedule was missing something.