Our first born son Caleb turned one last week! What a milestone for new parents! What I had hoped to do was to take some time reflecting the first year of my motherhood through the photos and videos we took over the year, only if we didn’t end up rushing into hospital emergency room with our son 4 days prior his birthday.
Caleb had a 40 degree fever that night and it was his first time being sick. He was diagnosed with having the ear infection on both sides. It was not a very serious condition for a one-year-old but as for the first time parents, we were panicking. I felt terrible when I saw my son suffering. He became very emotional, crying a lot. The only way to calm him down was to hold him tight and gently rock him. And he only wanted his mama. So for a couple of days, I couldn’t do anything else but be with this clingy tired baby. The fact that I was specifically and intentionally sought out and greatly needed was somewhat new to me and made my heart melt. I prayed a lot and did everything I knew to try to ease his pain and bring him comfort. Even though my husband is amazing and helped much with house chores, I was still exhausted from feeling his emotions and lacking sleep (so was my husband). My lower back hurt from holding him and I couldn’t think straight…
Rough days. But thank God it didn’t last long. Caleb got better and better after he took some medicine. By the 3rd day, just one day before his birthday, he was about 90% recovered. He had a better mood and wasn’t as clingy. I took about 2 hours off and went to the local library while my husband’s watching him, trying to catch up with some much needed quiet time. When I was reading with my Bible app proverbs 20, verse 4 caught my attention: “A sluggard doesn’t plow in season, so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing. ” Quickly I realized God was teaching me “parenting 101” through this verse.
Parenting is all about plowing and sowing. The challenge and exhaustion I had felt were from the labor of love. We tried our best to take care of our son. We gave up our sleep and rendered him our strength. We prayed for him and also worried about him (Though the Lord teaches us do not worry). However, any baby can get sick and a fever can also improve a baby’s immunity. This is just life. Parenting life was not supposed to be easy. It’s the labor of love. It’s sowing the seeds of care and love, and so much more… I knew when I was holding my baby in the bedroom alone, singing songs and whispering prayers, it mattered the whole world to him. There might be thousands of other things waiting to be done, but nothing was more important than meeting his needs right there right then. I was the only person he needed at the time and I was right where I was supposed to be. The purpose of my being was fulfilled in that given moment through holding my baby, meeting his emotional needs. That’s what God designed a mother of infants to be. Heaven smiled. There was grace. Just as it is in real farming, in due days, there will be a harvest in the life of our children, through our hard work of love sowing.
I wish I could say that I’ve always done a good job of keeping calm and gracious in the rough times, only my husband knew better that no, it’s not the case at all. For Caleb’s birthday, we booked a nice restaurant by the lake for dinner. We put on a nice outfit for him and went to the toy store and got him a nice wooden pushcart as a birthday present. Then we drove to the restaurant. We were slightly behind the schedule and Caleb was a little tired. As we finally sat down at the table on the terrace by the lake, Caleb started to become fussy before I could take a deep breath from the beautiful mountain-lake-blue sky view. I thought maybe he was hungry. So we quickly ordered him some spaghetti before we ordered our own food. Then his food came, instead of eating it, he started to play with it! He took the noodles one by one and throw them to the ground without any mercy. So I tried to feed him with a fork and that didn’t go well either. Maybe it was not his taste. Whatever. I felt sorry for the waiters who just stood by us and would have to clean the mess later. And my stress level rose up. Without really enjoying the great food and the view, like what I had hoped, we rushed our dinner and got into the car. After 5 minutes down the road, when I learned from GPS that there was a traffic jam ahead, which would cost us 15 more minutes to arrive home, I lost it. Exhaustion, on top of worrying about that Caleb would miss his normal sleeping time when we got home, which meant he could get very fussy and hard to fall asleep…I started to throw my frustrations onto my poor husband… And of course, I didn’t feel any better but worse. I knew the moment I lost my temper, I lost my peace and joy. I quickly asked forgiveness…
The challenges of life test our characters and faith. After the long week of Caleb’s sickness and planning for his birthday, I was at the end of myself. It’s not only that I didn’t have much to give out but also I need to be filled again for my own sanity. I can’t just try anymore on my own strength to be a good mom or wife… I knew well that the impatience and harshness in me need to go. But I can’t really change unless I make Jesus— the perfect model my only pursuit. My goal shouldn’t just be being a good mom or wife, or a good friend or colleague. My goal should be being a good follower of Christ alone, thus I could play well in all the other roles in life. Practically this means, spending time with the Lord and in His words have to be my priority in this busy mom life. His voice needs to be louder in my head than any other voices, from the world, or from my broken pre-Christ era.
Well, I guess that’s all I wanted to blog about this time. To conclude, the two lessons I’ve learned, or been reminded:
- Parenting is to plow in season. Do the hard work in the crucial season of a child’s life with no regret in the future. Because each season is precious and will be gone soon.
- I want to be good and I need to change. But I can’t really change if I just make the good itself my goal. Instead, making striving-to-be-a-good-follower of Christ my sole goal will change the way I walk and talk in all the areas of life.
Dear reader, can you relate to these? Hope it blesses you and let me know what you think. 🙂