That sweet face belongs to our son, Nathaniel. He unexpectedly entered our lives through adoption just over three months ago. And I have since been on a bit of a vacation, or what some parenting books call the “fourth trimester”. Hence, the silence here on the blog.
For the past fourteen weeks I’ve done little more than hold, feed, rock, sing to, and change diapers for this little guy. My definition of productivity has done a complete one-eighty. My long lists of task items have been thrown out the window. The new look of a productive day is clean bottles on the counter and dinner on the table (or at least near the table). It’s new and it’s hard. But it has been gloriously freeing to learn to live this way.
I truly had NO IDEA how demanding and time-consuming a newborn can be. It was my understanding that they slept a lot, like all the time. No one told me the 18-20 hours they slept came in sporadic chunks with screaming fits of hunger in between. Continuing to pour out love and attention to this boy while running on empty has certainly stirred up new things in my soul. I feel like I have learned more about myself in the past three months than ever before.
The greatest lesson, or more so realization, I have encountered is that I am capable of change. Big change. For years I thought I would be a super scheduled parent because that is who I am, scheduled. Every event and task was carefully planned out. A last minute change in plans would send me down a bad, scary road (sorry, hubs). I have functioned this way my entire adult life, I didn’t think there was any other way to be.
Then he came into my life and he turned things upside down with his gut-wrenching cries and heart-melting smiles. We read parenting book after parenting book and ultimately decided what was going to be best for our family. We decided to do it differently. No schedule. No plans. No task list. Just day by day, meeting the needs of our son to the best of our ability.
It has been hard.
It has been amazing.
By choosing to have no expectations for the day, by NOT having plans, I have found the parent I had always hoped to be. Patient. Kind. Loving. It’s when I start to build my task list that I see another side of me come out. Frustration. Anger. “Why won’t he just take a nap already?!” This child has forced me to slow down, to be present, to ask hard questions and wrestle with answers I didn’t know were there.
For that, I am thankful.
Will we always be able to live this way? Unscheduled. Unbound. Free.
I don’t know, but I sincerely hope so.
As things begin to settle down, I find myself processing through more thoughts and making more time to write. I miss it. I need it. So, I hope to be back fairly regularly to share what I’m learning, what God’s doing in our lives.
Until next time, may you each find rest and joy in the days ahead.
Disclaimer: Since I have ventured into this world of parenting, I have been shocked and appalled at the criticism and judgment that abounds. I firmly believe it is up to each individual family how they will parent their children. My intention in writing about our own lessons in parenting is not to say I have found this one method every person should conform to. I do not believe in a “one size fits all” parenting style. If you disagree with how we choose to do things, that’s ok. If I offend you by something I say about our own parenting practices, I apologize. If there is one thing I have discovered that every single mom and dad need, it is encouragement. And I hope we can all be that resounding voice of love for one another.