31 December 2012

in which I am not Fate.

I would like everything to be perfect for my daughter. More than that, I want to make everything perfect for my daughter.

Sometimes it seems to me that the course of her entire life rests on my decisions, and that if I mess something up when she's 6 months old she'll still be dealing with the scars at 46. After all, I'm going to be the most important person in her tiny existence . .  so it follows that I bear the responsibility for who she is, what she believes, and how she lives until the end of time. Right?!!

Freakout material right there.

My dad is really good at counteracting this type of thinking. He has often reminded me that God reigns, regardless of the unwise choices we may make or the foolish things we may say. Of course those things matter. But they shouldn't cause us to despair. The fear of mistakes shouldn't deter us from living freely.

(Besides, though parents do indeed shape their children in infinite ways, it's not as if I'm spinning the thread of my daughter's life like all three Fates wrapped up in one. Perhaps overestimating influence is just as dangerous as overestimating it?)

All right. So I'm going to live life. I'm going to love our baby and do what I think is best for her. I'm also going to keep learning, keep thinking, and keep believing that God will be faithful to reveal the truth to me-- and to this child.

Freakout over.


  1. We've run into a similar freakout at bedtime. Callan tends to throw a fit for 45 minutes before he'll fall asleep. Sometimes we can tell he's really scared and I want to pick him up, but then we don't want to pick him up when he cries at night because he'll learn that all he has to do is cry to prolong bedtime...etc.

    Basically, all the training will not happen in one night, and if I decide to hold my 3 month old til he falls asleep a couple of times a week, he'll be better for the cuddling than the screaming. He needs to know that when he's upset, we will be there to comfort him. And a lot of "bad training" can be undone when he's older and able to understand consequences.

    1. "He'll be better for the cuddling than the screaming"-- I agree. Good job, mama. :)

  2. It's a mercy you've early-on seen this tendency that parents have and acknowledged it for the misguided impulse that it is. But it's oh-so-hard to let it go! My husband was just trying to Fix Something for one of our (adult) "babies" the other day, but I stopped him.
    We don't even know whether all the many choices we make regarding our children are good or bad in the long run, even on matters like what foods they eat. And in this perverse world we so often run up against the reality of our interconnectedness with people and institutions and societal patterns that are all imperfect - damaged or corrupted or downright evil.
    Well, you have got me thinking! I don't know that you are even talking about what I'm thinking about...but one important thing we are instructed to do is: In Everything Give Thanks. If we can guide our children to do this, and receive their lives and every day as a gift, not as a human creation that someone botched, maybe they won't blame us or God when things don't turn out perfect. :-)
    God bless your family! Happy New Year!