Embracing Your Child – Just As They Are

 

Children aren’t born with instruction manuals.  They aren’t programable and you can’t control what they do or how they respond to any given situation.  You can do your best to train them up in the way that they should go, but in the end, every decision that they make is one that only they can make.  This is a wonderful, yet frustrating thing.

My middle child, my darling Bug, is a sweetheart.  She is kind and caring, thoughtful and considerate.  Bug is also demanding and short tempered with a mouth that just loves to backtalk.  She is autistic, which leads to a lack of understanding communication that comes from both her parents as well as her siblings.

I fully admit, I’ve struggled a ton with Bug over the years.  As my first daughter, I had all these visions in my head of how raising her would be.  From tea parties to sleepovers and playing Barbies to dress up parties.  With Bug, most of those things didn’t happen the way I thought they would.  She is different.  She is unique.  And, for years, that bothered me, even though I did my best not to show it.

 

 

I wanted a daughter who wanted what a normal girl wants.  As she grew older physically, mentally she didn’t quite keep up.  Her wants and desires remained at an age that didn’t quite match the number of candles on the cake.  And I became frustrated.  While I knew, in the back of my mind, that she would only be young once, I wished that she would act her age and want the things that other ten year old girls wanted, because I wanted to share that with her.

And then, one day, watching her play with her baby doll in the same manner as she did when she was five, it hit me.  It fell on my head like a ton of bricks.  What does it matter?  Most parents wish that their children will remain young longer.  That they could extend out those childhood years so that they could enjoy them again with their growing children.  Here, before me, I had what so many older parents wished they could regain with their children.  I had a little girl who was taking her time to grow up.  Is that such a horrible thing?

It was at that point that I fully and completely embraced my daughter.  Not the vision that I had in my mind of who I wanted her to be, but I embraced the girl that she was.  Not that I didn’t love her before, because I always have, but I learned that no matter where she was in her development, no matter what choices she made, or how poorly she responded to situations, she was perfect just as she was.  Perfect because she was my daughter.

Does that mean I want her to stay exactly as she is now?  No, of course not.  I want her to grow and become the amazing adult that I know she will be.  But, it does mean that I am going to embrace her, love her, accept her, just as she is, right now.  Yes, there are things that we need to work on.  Yes, she has areas that she needs to improve in.  But, I love her right now.  Just as she is.  She’s perfect.  If it takes her ten rotations around the sun to gain one year of maturity, then that is quite alright with me.  Because no matter how quickly or slowly she develops, no matter how many times I have to attempt to teach her the lesson she needs to learn, she’s my daughter and that makes her perfect.

 

All of my children are.  And all of your children are.  Just as they are.  Right now.  They may have areas in their lives that they still need to grow in.  There may be issues that they still need to deal with or bad habits that they need to break.  But embrace them.  Just as they are.  Right now.  Love them, without condition.  Teach them in a way that they will understand how to learn the things that they need to learn to become the grown ups that they are meant to be.  No matter how upset they make you.  Regardless of how many times they disobey you.  In spite of all the trouble that they cause.  Embrace them.  They are perfect.

Perfect doesn’t mean without flaws.  At least, not in this sense.  Perfect mean they are just as they are.  If the only question on the test is, “Are you my child?” and they fit the description – then they have a perfect score.  That’s what I mean.  They’re perfect simply because of who they are.  They are are children and that’s all they need to be for you to embrace them.  Just as they are.

 

 

When was the last time that you told your child just how special they were to you?

Take a moment today to pull them aside, one on one, each one by themselves, and let them know just how much you care for them.  Tell them just how special they are to you.  Embrace them.

Just as they are!

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