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.