The road from university to home was familiar to me by the end of my first semester. Take Monticello Road, onto Highway 26 for an hour, another hour on I-95 til the beloved and familiar exit for home. Homesick for the oak trees, afternoon shadows, and mama's home cooking - I came home as often as I could. I could travel that road blindfolded. (And, sometimes I kind of did... cramming for a Western Civ test somewhere between Walterboro and Orangeburg).
That road never changed while I was a student. How unlike the road I travel everyday now as a mama! It is a nonstop journey to a new place everyday. Everyday, the kids and I are changing, learning, and growing. Who says the life of a housewife is mundane?! (Routine yes, but never the same.)
For the first two months after Catherine was born, Erik was looking for work, but was unemployed. We had countless hours to talk to her about everything... "It's time to eat! I'm going to change your diaper now! This is your pink dress!" And she looked at us with her knowing eyes, I believe understanding far more than we imagined. When we moved to Ravencrest, Catherine would quietly observe what was going on around her.
Enter Camille into the scene. We soon learned that Camille was a unique soul that God had given us. From the time she was tiny- not even rolling over- I was across the house and felt someone looking at me. I found the set of eyes boring into me belonged to Camille. (Arent' you supposed to be looking at pastel colored stuffed lambs and ducks dangling above you from your mobile?) Mama and Daddy came from South Carolina to visit over Christmas when Camille was three months old. To this day, I don't know who had whom laughing, Camille or my parents. Camille could have beat Santa Claus hands down when it came to "shaking when laughing like a bowl full of jelly."
Whereas Catherine would observe activity, Camille would create it.
Catherine has an affinity for reading. We'd look at countless books from the time she was tiny. Camille seemed frustrated by books. What good were they unless you could eat them? Take these initial differences and fast forward them to today - linguistically, socially, physically, emotionally.
I can't sit back and press cruise control (or even get out my old Western Civ textbook for a nostaligic read along the way) when it comes to parenting. What worked for Catherine doesn't necessarily work for Camille.
Erik and I recognize and relish the unique individuals God has given us. Our challenge as parents, in celebrating and caring for each one of our children, is not photocopying what worked for one child to another, is not resting on our "laurels" ("Oh, I've already been a parent to a 1 1/2 year old. I know what this is all about."), but is having a sensitivity to the Lord for how He would have us love and teach each one of our children.
Lately I have found myself at a loss as to how to relate to Camille. Sometimes how she reacts to me baffles me, leaving me frustrated, confused, and helpless. Sometimes how I react to her baffles me, leaving me feeling frustrated, confused, and helpless. Please pray for me!
How do I speak to ... in a way that she'll understand?
How do I discipline ... in a way that means something to her?
How do I love on ... in way that means the world to her?
How can I support ... in a way that encourages her for where she's at today?
This verse has given me hope when it comes to relating to Camille right now: "Call unto me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3 Thank God that He wants to be involved in our parenting... that it's not up to us to figure it out! What a relief.
While our expression to each child may be different, we hope that in those differences they will both experience consistency and love. We pray that our eyes will not be on what worked yesterday, on a technique, on a book, or on another family's example but on the Living Lord who can guide us for our children this day.