Have you ever noticed that the majority of people who stop to admire your baby will talk to them in falsetto? What is it that makes us believe that babies like that? I have a strong feeling that they are sitting there in their strollers thinking, "Who is this weirdo?" That's why they smile, you know. They are thinking "this grown up is half a bubble off plumb!" Of course, my husband always uses his Donald Duck voice to coax a smile or gurgle out of infants and it usually works like a charm so who am I to say? It is so important to begin talking to our little ones early. They will seek our face and respond well because we are their world.
But as they are growing, they won't want baby talk from us every time we engage them! They want us to notice that they are growing up. "So big!" we coo to our infant as we stretch their arms up over their head, "What a big boy" we say to our toddlers as they are taking first steps, "You're a good big brother" we commend a sibling welcoming home a new addition to the family, "Well look who's in a 'big boy bed' now!" to a little tyke finally out of a crib and out of diapers! (Hallelujah!) "Look at how tall you are getting!" we comment to a grinning middle schooler who struggles with being the smallest in the class...and so on ~ it's so important to notice!
Especially when it is the baby of the family, we must be especially willing to allow him/her to grow up. It is one of the toughest things we must do as moms...let them spread their wings and eventually leave our nests. It is bittersweet indeed. We have given them roots and now we must give them wings. Failure to fledge is an decidedly undesired outcome. We must fight the urge to clip those wings and keep them dependent on our love and our provision.
I've seen and heard of moms who can't let go: moms who move to their children's college town to keep tabs on their studies, who go to job interviews with their grown children, who feel it is their duty to give their opinion on marital issues that creep into their grown-child's marriage relationship, or call and complain to their grown children's employer when they are passed up for promotions! These are moms who have totally and unhealthily relied on their roles as mothers for their sole sense of purpose and identity. It is not a good place to be!
We can enjoy our roles and thrive with a very real sense of purpose as we raise our children for God! But for our children's sakes, we must be more than "so-and-so's mom." It is healthy and critical for us to learn who we are aside from our children.We will find it so much easier to settle back into our empty nest without them, once they have grown, are on their own and have discovered that there's a big world out there without mom.
Ann Van De Water
Re-posting from August 2013 ~ in response to a request! There you go!