Spirituality

Reflections on my Daughter’s First Birthday

Today, my daughter is one year old. She is a healthy, happy, beautiful child and my gratitude for this gift knows no bounds. I also want to say thank you to my family and friends for your support over the last 12 months. Parenting would be so much harder without it! 🙂

To all of you who are tired of hearing about every miniscule achievement (or momentous b.m.) the children of your friends and family make, I can sympathize. I’ve been there; but I’m afraid I have officially joined the ranks of the baby-obsessed. My post today is an attempt to justify this fascination. 🙂

If you’ve never had the opportunity to watch a baby develop, there’s nothing else like it to renew a sense of wonder and astonishment at humanity. It’s not just in the developmental milestones like smiling, rolling, crawling, talking and walking. Every day, there is some subtle new awareness. Her babbling changes in little ways and becomes more like my husband’s and mine all the time. The rapidity with which her physical strength increases is mind-blowing. Science gives us a sneak peek into just how purposeful and necessary each little development is. I can’t wait to see what her unique talents are, though. I wonder whether she’ll be musical or creative or analytical. Those are the things that seem to set humans apart from other species, aren’t they? The things that aren’t about survival but seem simply to exist to enrich life.

Parenthood has stretched and changed me, too. I respond to things with more patience, even though I’m getting far less sleep! I relish her primal dependency on me, but it is sobering, too. I am responsible for her physical and emotional health. Just a few days ago, I saw her react to something with fear for the first time. It was really pretty funny, but it broke my heart. It is an odd thing – you want them to move forward, to grow up, but you hate to see them experience the pain that inevitably comes with growth.

I think many parents find that they want, with surprising strength of feeling, to see themselves in their children. I love to see myself in my daughter. It sounds so conceited, but true, nonetheless. Perhaps this is a biological thing; we have a natural desire to see ourselves live on in our children. Although I think parallels and metaphors to compare the parent-child relationship and the God-human relationship can be faulty, it occurs to me that perhaps this also parallels our relationship to God. Perhaps in the same way, God (the first and ultimate parent) desires us to be like Him. The other interesting dynamic here is that children often grow up and wish to be different from their parents. We all want to be appreciated for who we are, but we can’t fully realize our individuality and promise without accepting its source.

Happy birthday, baby girl. I love you!

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
~ Psalm 139:13-14

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation– if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
1 Peter 2:2-3 ESV

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One thought on “Reflections on my Daughter’s First Birthday

  1. What a beautiful tribute to your daughter. I think the love we parents have for our children gives us just a glimpse of the unlimited, unconditional, everlasting love God has for us.

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