It's amazing that something as simple as a birthday can make me stop and remember. If my baby is turning 4, then 4 years ago I had my open heart surgery. We've been through so many changes since then.
As I watch her, it is even more clear to me that she is no longer my baby. She speaks and communicates quite clearly. She has her own feelings, desires, and opinions. I can still sway her, but not as much as I could in the past.
I look at her dance around the living room and I think that maybe that is what "made in God's image" is, not the broken down adult body, but the perfect body of a small child, healthy and strong, and somehow beautiful. Or maybe this is how He looks at us, with so much love in His eyes that He, too, sees a beautiful, dancing child.
As her birthday approached we discussed the fact that she is no longer a baby. But, we've been having this conversation since she was 2 years old and giving up her binky, so I didn't think it was much of an impacting talk. During the day of her birthday I kept thinking I saw something different in her. Did she grow? Was she holding her head higher? Was she walking with more purpose?
That evening she asked me if she could go out to the garage with Daddy instead of watch a movie. My child LOVES to watch movies, but I figured maybe she just needed some Daddy time. For the next hour or so I watched her come in following Daddy, or deliver something that he had found in a box he was unpacking. She was a woman on a mission.
After the kids were in bed I asked Hubby what she wanted to go to the garage for. He said, "I think she just wanted to talk." (WHAT?! I'm the mommy! Why didn't she need to talk to me?) So I nonchalantly asked, "oh? about what?" "Oh just stuff" was his response. (UGH! First she wants to go confide in Daddy and now Daddy is keeping it confidential!) With a bit of prodding he said, "well, she told me that she's 4 now, and she's not a baby, and she's going to act more grown up, that sort of thing".
I find myself having all of these feelings.
First of all, wow, how amazing that my little girl is verbalizing, "I'm not a baby, I'm going to act more grown up". Secondly, as much as it pains me, I am glad that my little girl sees her daddy as her confidante, after all, girls who have good relationships with their daddies are way less likely to get into trouble. But, mostly, I am amazed that not only has she verbalized to her father that she is going to change her ways, but I have SEEN a change in her! AND I had seen the change before I found out about the conversation and have continued to see it since then.
If there is an "age of accountability", does that mean she's reached it? Or is getting close to it? She's older now than when I gave my life to Christ, but, I look at her and I see a small child. Yet, I see a child who is wise beyond her years.
My heart swells with love as I watch this baby, now little girl, soon to be young lady, grow. I am so thankful that God allowed the doctors to patch me up so that I could be involved in her life. I'm also appreciative that I can finally stay with her during the day, rather than leaving her with someone while I work. I hope and pray that I can raise her in a way that is honoring to Christ.
I can also look back now and see the things that I was so worried about, or researched so much, that really are meaningless. The kind of bottle she used, to use a walker or an exer-saucer, organic baby food or normal, did any of those things really make a difference? I suppose they play a small part in who she is, but I think God has taught me that a parent who consciously makes decisions to create a home for a child is more important.
All in all I would say that Christ has blessed us with a beautiful, smart child, and I am happy that I've been able to enjoy this crazy thing called parenting.