Monday, February 18, 2008

Mr. Independent

If you've read this blog much, you've probably heard me mention that God wired Park with a very independent spirit.

Even as an infant, I noticed his desire to explore on his own terms. From the moment he could crawl he often wondered into rooms alone, thrilled with the excitement of being able to discover the world without help.

Very shortly after feeding him solid foods, he began shoving our hands away and grabbing for the spoon on his own. And when learning to walk, putting my hands out to offer support to his wobbly legs was by and large a COMPLETE irritation and insult to the core of his being. Not to mention that telling that boy "NO" for any reason was equivalent to dropping the gauntlet.

You'd better brace yourself for the ensuing battle. Never mind if I was trying to spare his life by barring him from climbing into a hot stove.

And with his craving for independence came a strong desire to "do the next thing."

Sitting? That's for babies. I'll pull myself to standing and learn to crawl by 6 months, thank you very much. Baby food? Forget about it , Mom. I'll have whatever you're having and I'll do it myself. Baby toys? Don't insult me with such nonsense. The computer, Daddy's hammer, and your cell phone will entertain me just fine. Wait, I want that bat, too! No, not the plastic one. The REAL one. And by the way, don't worry about getting me a stool to help you cook when I turn 18 months. I can scale the cabinets with my eyes closed.

I remember the day we brought him home like it was yesterday. His sweet little newborn head was nuzzled up on my shoulder as I breathed in the precious smell of new life. After deciding that position wasn't working for him, without making a peep, he simply picked his own little head up, looked all around, and finally decided to flip it to the other side. In some ways, I feel like Park was never really a baby. He always seemed like such an old soul.

Well, minus that he slept comparable to that of an infant for well over the first year of his existence, but we'll skip over that since I've found a way to mention it in almost every other post I've ever written.

Clearly, I'm not one to dwell in the past.

Perhaps my current issue stems from the fact that his babyhood seemed so short-lived, because I'm finding myself resisting the changes that must take place to cross over into the next phase of life; namely, the transition away from sleeping with a pacifier and getting a big boy bed.

Despite the fact that Park has climbed in and out of his crib for the last six months as if he is the long lost brother to the Dukes of Hazzard.

I have no good reason for not already putting him in a big boy bed other than the fact I'm not ready for him to be a big boy just yet. And yes, I could have done away with the pacifier, but then I'd have to deprive myeslf of seeing this:

And truthfully, I'm not certain that is something my heart could bear just yet.

The obvious answer seems to be to have another baby. And although that is a desire of our hearts for the future, it is also only a temporary fix. That just gives me one more baby that will grow up, too.

The real solution is something I've known deep in my being for some time now.

I'm constantly having to learn how to embrace the truth of the job God called me into as a parent, which is to cherish the here and now, while growing and equipping Park to leave my care. The time I invest into the next 18 years of his life will be geared toward empowering him to make his own choices and decisions, further leading him down the path to independence. And if I do my job right, that independence from me will lead him into a greater dependence on God.

No, holding on to the symbolic things of childhood won't keep my boy from becoming a man. And when I get past the sentimental feelings of a Mommy in love with her young son, my gut says I don't really want to stop that growth, anyway.

Because I don't want anything to deprive me of seeing my efforts and God's plan come to fruition. Even if that means letting go of the crib and pacifier.

But, I think I'll start by trying to say goodbye to his diapers first. I'm a little less emotionally attached to those particular symbols and the items they typically hold.


Anonymous said...

girl---you certainly know how to hit home with me!!! I'm feeling the same things with russ (my 2 1/2 year old). he's growing WAY too fast for my taste. we compromised on the big boy bed by changing it over to the toddler stage (it's convertible) so it still LOOKS kinda small to me. i'm still trying to interest him in the potty (through bribery, it seems) and his beloved "paci" is used at naptime and sometimes in the car (for my sanity only).

Kelly said...

This is so sweet Brittani!
And can I just say that I LOVE Park's bedding! I wouldn't want to get him out of that cute crib either.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

I agree with everything you've said, but I'm also ignoring it.

LA-LA-LA-LA! (Hands over eras.)

My plan is to keep having babies so I can pretend none of my kids are growing up. Ever.

Kelly said...


We semi-jokingly tease our girls that they are not allowed to grow up... I cherish these days with them. But I know you are right- it is my job to prepare them to rely on their heavenly father more than Mommy. Hard to let go!

Anonymous said...

Ah, that gave me goosebumps! I am going to go love on my kiddos now--I needed that today, because we've had a rough morning and I was not a very loving mommy this morning! Thanks for sharing!