Monday, July 5, 2010

For the Third Child

My third daughter is named Kerrington.  I steal moments just for the two of us, moments when I'm not with the older girls playing hide and seek, doing arts and crafts, or disciplining someone for taping the dishwasher shut.

Kerrington is nearing two months now, and yesterday morning she smiled at me.  She didn't just look happy to see me, she looked ridiculously happy to see me.  I actually woke my husband (who was stirring already) so he could see her smile.  He confirmed that it was legitimate.

I enjoy Kerrington in different ways than I was able to enjoy my firstborn.  She doesn't get all of my attention.  She sometimes has her schedule interrupted because of the older girls.  She's a typical third child, shuffled along with the rest of the family, already flexible because she has to be.

There are days when I want to pause everything else and focus only on her.  After all, she's only going to be nearly two-months-old once.  So I cling to what I can.

I breathe in deeply when I nestle my face into her neck, savoring her baby smell.  I caress her soft skin.  I stroke her dainty feet.  I watch while she's having tummy time on the quilt and laugh when she kicks her scrawny legs as though she were swimming, as though she were expecting to go somewhere.  I attune to her noises, those distinct sighs, squeaks, and grunts.  I hold my breath when she yawns -- yawns so big that time stands still until she closes that pouty mouth again.  I marvel that I can cradle her entire body in one arm, that I can cradle her head in one hand.  I stare into her bright eyes, amazed that they're shifting from the steely gray of a newborn to the crystal blue typical of my older daughters.  I kiss her cheeks, which are so full, so chewable, that I almost want to cry as I look at her.

She's beautiful.  I love her.

And the funny thing is that Kerrington hasn't done anything to earn my love.  She caused me nausea during pregnancy and pain during labor.  She spits on me.  She's peed on me.  She's pooped through her diaper onto me.  She won't let me sleep the whole night through.  She has not yet presented me with a fistful of dandelions, and she's never told me that she loved me.  Yet, I'm crazy about her.  Absolutely head over heels.

This is because she's mine.

I am not a perfect mother.  (So, so far from it, in fact.) Yet I love her with a passionate love because she's mine. How much more does God, who is perfect, look at me with love?  Even when I've done nothing to earn his love, he loves me.  Even when I've caused him pain and spit on him, he loves me.  Before I decided to love him back, he already loved me.  Why?  He created me to be his girl.

Today has been a hard day.  As I type, I'm leaned back ever so slightly and Kerrington is resting on my chest, dozing off to sleep.  She's secure.  She knows that she's safe.

Today I need to lean into God and rest securely.  I need that comfort.  I am reminding myself that I am loved, even when I've done nothing to earn it.  Even when I've snapped at my kids.  Even when I haven't figured out what we'll be having for dinner.  Even when my house is a mess and my shoulders are tense.

I'm loved.  That's a good place to be.

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