There’s roughly a bazillion things I didn’t know before becoming a mother. And while occasionally I can say, “I wish someone had told me this,” oftentimes that’s irrelevant. Because many of these things simply can’t be learned before parenthood. But above all others that stand out in my mind, one motherhood lesson was hardest to learn (so far).
We’re coming up on Colton’s first birthday. And yes that boggles my brain to no end. But this year has been marked by countless milestones. We thank God every day for our healthy son and the ways in which he continues to develop. This little man is minutes away from walking yet it seems like last week he refused to roll from back to front. As he’s been growing like a weed, I’ve been navigating the unpredictable waters of motherhood (some days like a well-traveled captain, others like a seasick sailor). What tugs at my heartstrings most often is the reality that growth arises from struggle.
‘Rescue’ seems to be a maternal instinct. If we see pain or difficulty, there’s an automatic urge to intervene. Colton would shed tears during tummy time; he’d whine while lying on his back, pining to be in our arms. And I wanted nothing more than to sweep that little lump onto my chest. But I had to let him endure. I still have to let him endure. If I were to constantly interfere then he’d never learn. This motherhood lesson breaks my heart.
We are just at the bare beginning of our journey. Throughout every stage of life Colton will face challenges. Some small yet pesky and others looming or monumental. While I intend to provide him a firm foundation and sound refuge, I have to realize my place. I have to recognize that his character will be sharpened by those experiences. His strength will increase in the face of adversity. I assure you I won’t do this perfectly. I’ll certainly ‘helicopter parent’ a time or two (or ten). But I have high hopes that realizing this motherhood lesson early on will give me greater odds of doing the right thing, of acting in his best interest despite my own emotions.