When Anna was a wee one, she clung to me, and me only.
I remember cooking dinner with her in the front pack,
canning and sweeping with her in the backpack,
and holding her nearly every waking minute,
or else she would be "in the depths of despair."
Looking back, I can see even from the earliest days the path I would take...
I had not grown up loving children, baby sitting,
or having any knowledge of childhood development.
When Brian and I married, we wanted to have children right away,
and when our first was born, I knew not what to do,
so I rocked him,
danced him to sleep,
co-slept with him,
held him all the time,
and spoiled him rotten.
Well, another baby came along, and another, and my methods didn't change.
The baby would grow up on my hip,
sleep with me until they were two,
and, be delightful toddlers; very responsive and easily trained.
About the time we had Jim, number 5,
I had evolved to believe my mothering style
as an over achiever nurturer
was not such a bad deal,
and I liked the way my relationship with our children developed
from the first days on, to those who were then becoming teens.
A few years ago I came to the realization that this nurturing style,
that we had not conscientiously embarked upon,
was God given,
and I stopped analyzing myself
for not having babies that would sit in their car seat for hours contentedly,
or sleep through the night, or passively watch life go by from their blanket.
I also became aware that not only did I have the desire to nurture our children,
but a great compassion and sympathy came upon me as I watched children,
of all ages, suffer loneliness from neglect,
and I wanted to bring them under my wing,
bestowing the love of Jesus on them thickly,
like a child spreading butter and jam on toast...dripping off the sides, and oozing out all over.
This desire surprised me, and wondered where it had come from.
I think... the more I understand God's love for me
the more I wish to mimic that loving-kindness upon children.
I have changed.
Evolved so slowly over time that I did not recognize myself.
God made women to nurture, to uplift and beautify life.
I was despairing over Bethany playing with a giant T-Rex of her brothers,
and packing a plastic lizard with her everywhere
until I stopped to watch HOW she was playing.
I noted that she had wrapped the T-Rex in a blankie and was singing it to sleep in the hallway,
and practicing nursing her lizard.
It is natural, inborn.
The call to us mothers is to encourage our daughters to nurture and beautify.
The world sets forth to harden a girl's heart and un-learn the God given.
I recall being mocked for playing with dolls in the fourth grade.."childish!"
My peers prompted me to instead be interested in boys.
Watch out and be wise, O mothers.
Is there anything sweeter than holding a newborn baby,
or rocking a small child to sleep?
"Reading a story aloud with children tucked in all around me," as a friend says,
is one of her great delights in life.
Such fondnesses are the mark of biblical femininity.
Let us shamelessly embrace it.
May God give us grace that overflows our cup,
that we may model it,
passing on a love of nurturing to the next generation.