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…..just because this is something every mom does whenever they hit their child’s birthday…lol!

My daughter turns 3 years old today. It’s amazing how quickly and how slowly the past three years have gone by. It’s quick because children develop at amazing rates during the first years of life, but extremely slow because I’ve walked and lived through every one of those agonizingly slow development stages.

I remember when she only slept for three hours at a time, would wake up to eat, want you to hold and rock her until she fell back asleep, and not lay her down until she was knocked out (that awake time lasted about 1.5-2 hours each time).

I remember when she would have quiet blowouts in her diaper. And you would always smell something awful, go to change her, and come back to realize things have fallen into the carpet, car seat, chair, or your own clothes.

I remember when she refused to walk around me….just because I’m mom….but she would walk around other people. And when they told me, I just had to shake my head because yes, that is exactly how my child would act.

I remember her first epic tantrum. And I remember my first epic response.

I remember the first time she said ‘mommy’ at 2 a.m. when she was supposed to be sleeping but kept hollering so I would open the door and tell her to go back to sleep. It was a sweet moment that lasted exactly 3 seconds until I remembered it was 2 a.m.

It’s crazy how many things I’ve experienced over the past three years just by having her in my life, and I thank God for every single one of those moments. They have forced me to grow in unbelievable ways. They have challenged my thinking and reasoning, and they have grown in me a much stronger backbone too. When you have a precious child trusting you, depending on you, looking to you for guidance, trust me, you can quickly become a person you didn’t really know before. You will have opinions and not be afraid to voice them. You will not allow yourself to be bullied, no matter how scared you are in the moment. And you make every decision in light of their best interest and more to your own personal sacrifice more and more as time goes by.

But in the course of the past three years, I have also noticed how society responds to children. It’s amazing to me how people view children today, and it’s even more interesting how much they value them. I will never forget walking into the women’s health clinic in Colorado to let the nurse know that I was pregnant, and she handed me a folder of my ‘options’ so quick that I had to catch my breath before I could tell her that I was going to have this baby, and that I needed a list of doctors in the area that I could see. The look on her face was one of embarrassment, and she took that folder away from me to give me actual health information for having a healthy pregnancy.

I’m not sure why we have progressed to hating and despising children so much, but it is truly unfortunate. But even if we deny hating them, we don’t value them. How many women are sacrifice years of time to push back having a child so they can pursue careers or other ambitions? Granted, I was one of those women, so my thoughts come from reflecting on my own behavior here. But why sacrifice the prime of my life for companies and organizations when I can spend my best years raising a child? And if I spend the best years of my life raising my child, have I really wasted my potential? Wouldn’t my potential be best measured in its longevity and durability? If my child continues to do and promote the lessons, values, and knowledge that I have given her…wouldn’t that mean that my potential has outlived me to impact another generation? Is that great enough? Have I done enough with my life?

I don’t know. But the one thing that I do know is that I am recognizing the brevity of my time here, and the time that I actually have to train and influence my daughter. She’s already 3 years old. In another 15 years, she’ll probably want to leave the house. In another 7-8 years, she’ll probably have a lot of other influences in her life, and my influence in her life will begin to decline as she develops her own ideas, thoughts, and opinions about matters in life.

Knowing this, I’m challenging myself not to despise this period of time in my life. Yep, it’s gets pretty frustrating to hold tissues so she can blow her nose, or cleaning up the water all over the floor during bath time, or telling her she has to finish eating her vegetables dozens of times during dinner, or taking deep breathes so I can respond to the tantrums, whining, tears, and attitude in a way that does please the Lord even when I feel like popping off. I mean, being the mother of young children doesn’t last forever….at least, I do not have a need to have a dozen more kids and keep this up into my forties….but it honestly doesn’t last forever. It’s short. Here today, and gone tomorrow.

So I figure, I may as well enjoy this time of my life and thank God for this season. A season where I have learned to slow down, take care of my priorities, be more giving, love more intentionally, and build many many more bridges over myself than I ever thought I needed. I love my little girl, and I am incredibly thankful to God for bringing her in my life when He did to challenge me, mature me, and bring me joy in a capacity that otherwise due to my own stubbornness, I may have never known.

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