And even though we're still teaching him the importance of things like washing his hands after he pees in the potty, how to appropriately say please and thank you and why we should not throw toys in the house, I must admit he's really the true teacher.
I've learned more from this beautiful little blessing about the meaningful parts of life in two years of mommying than I learned during my four-year college education. The knowledge he's unknowingly passed to me surpasses most every lesson I learned in my formal higher education.
1. He's taught me that I am not in control.
Ever sat up through the night with a sick baby who cannot stop throwing up and whose fever is so high he feels like he's on fire? There's no other kind of situation than when your little one is sick and you're helpless to know who is really in control. My faith in God has been strengthened through these mommying ordeals, and I don't think I could have really learned that I seriously have little control over many, many things any other way.
2. He's shown me that the Father's love for me exceeds my deepest understanding.There is a reason why God calls himself our Father -- to show the depths of his love for us. I cannot understand this awesome, deeply rooted love I have for the toddler, but it has given me insight into how much our Heavenly Father really loves us. Being a mommy to the toddler has also given me the understanding that I do not need to worry about my son; God is his Heavenly Father, too, and He will care for the toddler all the days of his life.
3. He's taught me that schedules are for airlines and trains, and that's about it.
The toddler was not an easily scheduled baby, and he taught me to roll with the flow and not stress about sticking to a strict routine. I'm a type A personality, so this was hard to swallow, but now I don't let my panties get all in a wad when the days go off schedule. That's good, because I'm much more likable when said panties are not all up in a wad.
4. Chores will always be there, but babies grow up.
The toddler has given me a wonderful wisdom about what's important to get done during the day. When he was a baby, he wanted to be held all day long. That meant I couldn't accomplish a darn thing around the house or even leave the house some days! But as I look at the secure and wonderfully attached little boy he has become, I realize that the eight months I spent holding him and nursing him for 12 hours a day really has paid off. He taught me that the days when I had done nothing that day except for nurse him and change his diapers were probably my most productive days ever. Dust always returns to the table tops. Babies never grow younger, and you never have a chance to really meet all their needs like when they are little again.
5. Do as I do, not just as I say.
Words don't mean much when actions don't follow. The toddler has taught me that it's important to practice what I preach. That means that if it's not nice to hit our friends, then it's not nice to whack the doggy with a newspaper on the rear end when he's caught in the act of chewing up his ninth shoe during the past week.
6. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
If mommy or daddy are drinking or eating something the toddler cannot eat because it's not good for the toddler, it's probably not good for the mommy or daddy either. So put down that soda and replace it with good old H2O!
7. Grin and bear it, and you'll find it actually isn't so bad.
Life doesn't always go the way we plan. Sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do -- like take pictures with our Grandma Jean and Papa on our birthday. But we can always find a way to make our undesirable situations a lot better. Sometimes it takes as little as making one thing into a another thing -- like a frying pan into a hat.
It's all how you choose to view the situation at hand.
And the list goes on and on, but, oh, thank you, little guy, for teaching me these wonderful lessons. Your mommy loves you ... even when you smear peanut butter all over your body after you have just had a bath or have decided it's a good idea idea to wear the dog's water dish on your head as a hat just before we're supposed to leave for the chiropractor's office and your new "hat" was just seconds ago filled to the brim with water.
Happy birthday, little guy.