Every so often a picture/quote along the lines of this shows up on my news feed...
I'd be lying if I said it didn't sometimes cut at my heart. I'd also be lying if I said I wouldn't change anything or do anything different the 8 short months we had sweet Nate in our lives. If I knew I'd only have him for such a short time, sure I would've held and kissed and cuddled him even more.
Many of you know that we practice a parent lead schedule in our family. Sleep train from a fairly early age and don't co-sleep. I bring this up because sometimes there is crying involved. Not neglectful, emotionless (on the parent's part) hours of crying. More like intentional minutes here and there. Needless to say the quote stated above does bring Nate's sweet face to mind and a pain of guilt.
But when I really sit down and think about why we choose to parent the way we do, and if there are things we should change ( there are always things that we adjust and tweak as we parent each very different child and age), I also think about the fact that our family was pretty well rested most of Nate's life, which means when I'm rested I have better control of my emotions and feel as though I can function as a mom better and have more energy to play. I think about the very sweet relationship that Ella and Nate had sharing a room. She loves her brother so much. He was a very good listener to all that she had to say as they fell asleep together. Their relationship was so special and she was such a great big sister to Nate. Watching a video of Nate has brought her to tears recently. Their bond was deep and special. I also know that Phil and I having our room and bed to ourselves is one facet, of many, that keeps our marriage strong, our communication open and healthy.
I have not done extensive research or gone to school. But I can tell you. I have not seen any of my kids 'shut down emotionally', nor have I seen any of my friend's babies and children do the same. I know that focusing on caring and loving for them during awake and play time bonds our relationship. I also know that teaching them to self sooth, does not hurt our relationship. *
I bring all this up to say, sure hearing your baby cry is in no way fun. Yet I wouldn't change the fact that I am proud of the mom I was and am to my kids and thankful for the refreshing sleep I had, I wouldn't change anything about the sweet and special bond Ella and Nate had, that, I believe, sharing a room helped create. I also know that the fact that Phil and I work hard to keep our relationship strong and healthy, helped us draw even closer during this last year, instead of tear us apart, which could have been so easy to do. I wouldn't change any of that.
Phil and I know that we aren't even close to being 'perfect parents' we mess up. We try things that don't work, we sometimes disagree on how something should be handled and have to work through many things, but we also truly seek God. We ask Him for wisdom to parent our kids, we watch other families, with young kids and grown ones, and talk to them about what they are doing or have done.
This parenting journey will continue to take on different shapes, we will mess up. a lot. But as I look back, I really don't have regrets. We were working on raising Nate to know that he is loved so dearly by us, to be a lover of Jesus, to have a special place in our family, and hopefully one day an adult that would contribute so society. We just didn't know that it would only be such a short stay. I cherish each and every memory that I have.
*I am fully aware that not everyone agrees with me.