Leia took her first steps on Wednesday and she is doing really well walking it seems to me. It was so amazing and weird to see her suddenly start walking around without grabbing on to something. All this right before her first birthday on Sunday. She is becoming less baby and more little girl every day. Since she was born I have often been confronted with an overwhelming sense of parental pride when I look at her. It is like nothing I have ever experienced, when I see her interacting with other kids or doing something new, sometimes just looking at her doing nothing in particular my heart really feels like it will burst with love and amazement!
It makes me think about the nature of parental pride. We all know pride is sinful, it’s even the root of all sin at heart, but clearly there are things that we call pride that are good healthy feelings. I find as Leia grows so fast this sense of love and pride I have for her really helps to balance out the bittersweet truth that hey she isn’t a baby anymore! Paul talks about being proud of his spiritual children too in his letters. I think language must be failing us a bit. Delighting in the success of someone you love and being thankful for them I think is really what I am describing and maybe we just don’t have a word for it, but it seems a Godly emotion if ever there was one to me.
However, how quickly this emotion could turn into something else. I will admit it is hard for me to imagine Leia really being bad. I am sure when she is two this will be pretty apparent that she can be. But now it is very easy when I see other older kids being disobedient or mean to other kids I find my heart thinking, hmm my Leia won’t act like that. We can all think of kids that we don’t like if we are honest, I know this was true as a teacher! Every year I saw kids that clearly were not disciplined by their parents, and whose parents were constantly making excuses for their own children’s bad behavior making them kids no one wants to play with or be around! A healthy parental “pride” can turn into a huge blindspot it seems!
How to remember that sweet little angel baby in my arms is a human being and all that comes with that? She is not exempt from the fall and neither am I. I think the first step is daily working on being more humble myself. Prayerfully being aware of my own weaknesses and blind spots in my life. Try not to fall prey to being prideful in my mothering abilities (I am sure the moment I am prideful about that one of my kids will do something to bring me back down to earth ;).
Then I think seeing her behavior for what it is. I know when little toddlers are naughty sometimes it can be so hard not to laugh because it is so cute! Seeing a little kid try to hide eating that extra cookie, or make up a wild story to cover up for doing something they know they weren’t supposed to can be pretty hilarious and adorable. Lying is lying though! It isn’t just being naughty it is sin. I have to be on my guard about seeing it and dealing with it for what it is so I can help her see it for what it is.
Of course the more humble I am and aware of my own failings, the more compassionate and loving I can be as I help her navigate through hers too. I think it is really important to be real with my kids when I sin too, especially when I sin against them. I think it is a strength and not weakness to practice humility in front of them, so I pray I have the wisdom to do it!
Well, enough reflecting, now I have to make a birthday cake for the most awesome girl ever!! 😉