Bug did bring a new degree of joy and laughter into our world. He was absolutely the smiliest baby ever born. We have almost no bad pictures of him from the very beginning because he always had a smile on his face. If anyone casually looked his direction, they were rewarded with a full-body grin they couldn’t help but return.
After he was maybe a year and a half old, he did develop a sense of caution that seemed completely appropriate. He still greeted all small people with “Hi friend,” but big people with beards or loud voices or an intimidating presence would have to wait until he warmed up a bit. Circumstances such as the birth of Boo and moving to a new state have also contributed to a more reserved nature.
He still runs and plays and laughs with abandon though, and I love to see and hear that. There is no sweeter sound than the unrestrained laughter of a child. I try not to be the one to squelch it.
I’m beginning to understand that a lot of it is up to me whether I have laughing children or not. It’s not always easy to laugh about the messes, the fights, the inconvenience of things not going MY way (and they’re supposed to aren’t they? I am the MOM after all).
But my children do delight me. I have been known to stop what I’m doing to roll around on the floor with them (literally) and to let them jump on my bed or wrestle with me just to hear them laugh.
I need to do it more.
Wherever and whatever it takes to hear them laugh with abandon, I want to make sure they've got plenty of opportunity to do so. I don't think it's possible to laugh with your children too much.
This realization got me to thinking, what else do I hope for them that’s up to me? How can I help them be the best of what God created them to be (maybe more importantly, what can I do to make sure I’m not interfering in that)?
Bug was a really easy-going, easy to manage baby/toddler. People always commented on how calm he was, how good natured, and complimented us on our parenting. I always knew that it had very little to do with our parenting and a lot to do with the nature he was born with. I often said “I can’t take credit for it; he was born with that temperament. We just have to be careful not to mess it up!” He's very sweet and kind and patient and is a very good friend. He even shows some promise in math and engineering-related pursuits. (Where did that come from?!)
Boo is more adventurous and one of those kids who always runs full-throttle. He’s had a fascination with motorcycles and skateboards since he was a year old—-despite some fairly active discouragement from us. He
I know I need to be intentional with them. I need to laugh along with them if I want to see them laugh. I need to spend time both modeling the things I hope to see in them as they grow up, as well as nurturing the characteristics that they were born with.
I’m not sure how it will all play out over time, but I’m hoping that being mindful of the goal will help us stay on track.
In the meantime, tell me, what did/do you hope your children would bring into your life? What do you do to nurture that? Have you ever seen yourself doing anything that will stifle it? What do you do about that? Speak up!