A week ago today, my wife and I brought home from the hospital our beautiful new daughter, Vanessa Marie. Since then we and our two boys, Ethan (5) and Caleb (3.5), have been adjusting to the big changes in our lives. Ethan enthusiastically embraced the idea of having a new baby sister. He just has a few complaints: he didn’t get to see how Vanessa came out of mommy’s tummy like he wanted to, the baby sleeps too much, and it will be a long time before he can teach her how to play video games. Caleb is a little less interested, but he finally did ask to help feed her a bottle like his big brother has been doing.
Of course, I’m very excited to have a baby girl. For some reason I just couldn’t see my family as complete without children of both genders. I’m sure life would be fine with all boys or all girls, and I probably wouldn’t end up feeling like something was missing if that’s how it turned out, but I’m glad I have a girl. Now, if we have more kids, we don’t have to stress about the gender.
My mind has been full as I contemplate what this new life means and as I dream about her future, excited for all of its opportunities and wary of all its challenges. I don’t know if I expected it to be different, but for the most part I find that the internal dialogue I’m having as we welcome this baby girl has been the same as with the boys. The same hopes and fears have occupied my mind then and now. There are a lot of things I want for my children’s lives, but there are a few things that overshadow the rest:
–Most of all I want them to always feel loved by me and their mother and by God.
–I want them to have their own happy families.
–I want them to learn to love as Christ loves and develop their characters to become like His.
The fears that worry me are directly related to these hopes. Each of my children will have to overcome unique obstacles if these things are going to happen and I think the particular obstacles that they face will depend very much on their own unique character attributes and flaws. However, there are a few general fears that loom large:
–That all the noise and mess of the world will get in the way of their seeing and doing what is truly important and their developing faith.
–That they won’t find supportive friends outside the family.
–That their dad will be inadequate to the task of showing them love and leading them by example.
Overall, I have more hope than fear. I’d say my kids have a decent shot: they have devoted parents who try hard; they have a large, loving, and supportive extended family; they likely won’t have to suffer through poverty (if their dad ever gets a job); and they have the Gospel.
One other thing that has been on my mind is a deep gratitude that my wife was willing to go through all that pregnancy and delivery entail in order to bring this new life into our family. All mothers who take upon themselves this arduous task are to be thanked and commended, but I think my wife deserves special commendation, as she’s a petite 5’4″, I’m a big 6’4″, Caleb was a ten-pounder, and she went through with another pregnancy anyways, knowing that this one could be bigger, which she was. Vanessa was 10 lbs., 2 oz. Give that momma a medal! And word to my own momma. Love ya.
Most of all, thanks to God for letting us participate in this miracle.