This is the third post in a series of sorts, titled Lessons I’ve learned from my Kids. While I’d like to think I would be the one teaching them everything, it turns out I have a lot to learn. Hence the title of the series.
Lessons I’ve Learned From My Kids #1: Dropping the Baby on Her Head
Lessons I’ve Learned From My Kids #2: On Busyness
Wanna know a secret? Some things aren’t as exciting with the second kid as they were with the first. (Sorry, second borns.)
With our first, every tiny accomplishment was surprising and amazing.
First accidental smile.
First real smile.
Grabbing my finger.
sitting in a bumbo
sitting by herself
grabbing a dangly toy
putting a toy in and out of a bucket
I’m not sure what it is about the second time around. It’s not that things are less cute. It’s still fun. (Perhaps even more fun since you’re more relaxed.)
But it’s all a little less ‘amazing.’ Maybe it’s just that you’re not so surprised. You expect them to figure all that stuff out because you’ve already seen a baby turn from a squishy helpless blob of a newborn into a walking, talking, opinion-expressing child. So, when each milestone, small or big, comes around, it’s less like “OH MY GOSH YOU ARE MY GENIUS OFFSPRING,” and more like, “aw, that was cute.” (Are we firstborns more narcissistic because of this?)
For me, though, there was one exception. One thing that melted my heart right down to the same amount of lovey dovey mommy mush with each kid. One thing that was 100% just as surprising, amazing, and special the second time around as it was the first.
When she said, “Momma.”
Something about them saying my name. [Of course, this is true for dad’s too… but I’m not a dad, so… ]
That you are Momma (or daddy) isn’t new to your child. A baby knows you’re Momma long before she says it. She lights up when you walk in the room and bursts into tears when you leave. She wants you when she doesn’t feel good. She wants to show you all her accomplishments, doing the same thing over and over because it made you laugh. She wants to test all the boundaries, doing the same thing over and over because you said no. She already knows you’re Momma.
But when she says it for the first time, somehow it’s so precious… to hear her finally say your name.
I wonder if that’s how God feels when we pray?
When we say His name.
I wonder if this is what He’s getting at when he says, “call to me and I will answer you.” (Jeremiah 33:3) Or if this is what David meant when he wrote, “His ears are open to your cry.” (Psalm 34:15)
Because like I couldn’t wait for each of our kids to babble, “momma,” He longs to hear His children utter his name. God, my Father. Jesus often referred to God as “Father,” and said, “I and the Father are one…” Then, when asked how to pray, he started by saying, “Our Father…”
My mushy gushy heart, the one that melted when she first said “momma,” still loves to hear her say it even though it’s old news. The first-time milestone has come and gone but I still like to hear them call me “momma.”
Of course, sometimes hearing “momma,” all day is exasperating. Like when it’s whiny – Momma I need milk. Momma I spilled it. Momma she’s poking me. Momma play with me. I have a feeling this is where my analogy breaks down… where it becomes clear that God is a much better parent than me. (Captain Obvious.) Psalm 103:8 says, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love.” God’s ears are open to our cries. (Ps. 34:15)
I wonder if the lesson here is really simple though. If it boils down to praying as Jesus taught us, going to God often as a child to her momma, and calling Him by name. “My Father.”