December 2, 2015

Baby G: 18 Months and suddenly we’re parents

Me and My SoldierMan

I haven’t done one of these in a long time, and this seemed like a good milestone to mark down.

Baby G is awesome and is doing awesome. Walking and talking (babbling mostly) and coloring with crayons and using a fork and all kinds of good stuff. She likes to help me do the laundry and set up her high chair and helped me stir the casseroles for Thanksgiving. She’s happy and affectionate and in love with her two big dogs. She’s curious and sharp and wanting to understand and have things explained to her. And has figured out that she has a level of autonomy that lets her decide whether or not to follow instructions.

And now it feels like we’re really “parents.” Before, we just “had a baby.” Now there’s, like, actually stuff to do. Not just fun stuff. The important stuff. Actual child-rearing.

You know going into it that it’s a big job. But when it sneaks up on you one day, when the child looks at you and decides not to obey, that you start to worry you may not be up to this. Or maybe that’s just me.

We want her to be a good girl and obey and “do the right thing” and grow up to be a happy productive member of society. BUT – I’m also torn, because I don’t want her to think that’s the most important thing. “Living right” isn’t the purpose of life. The purpose of life is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever,” as it says.

And I feel this heavy weight in trying to help her grow to be a good, moral person – who doesn’t rely on or trust in her morality. To help her understand because we are all fallen sinners in need of a Savior, our eternal security and right-standing with our Creator God doesn’t hinge on how generous we are with the poor, or what religious phrases we memorize, or what church we go to. But those things are still important.

As Daniel Webster said, “Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens.” And it feels like this tightrope balancing act, trying to discern how to communicate and display that distinction as a parent. Because it is important to make good choices for the well-being of our world.

But those good choices aren’t good enough to save us. Only Jesus is.

Yes, these concepts are too big for an 18-month-old, but she’s growing up faster than I can keep up. Last night I was sitting on the floor doing…something…I don’t know, and she came, and sat down next to me, and just started talking. “Gyaddabadalabada…” and ended whatever she said on a question. So I said, “Uh-huh…okay…” (a little worried what I was agreeing to) and then she sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (her translation, of course) and got up and left.

We’re having conversations now. In another language, but still.

It’s a crazy ride, this parenting gig. It’s awesome and fun and confusing and scary and the best thing ever. And I feel like I’m holding on my the tips of my fingers sometimes. I love it.

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