I have entered a new phase of motherhood.
I'm not sure what it's called, since this is my first go-round with motherhood, but I think the long name is "The Phase Where You Are Simultaneously Impressed With What Your Child Can Say & Embarrassed By It". (It might also be referred to as "Toddlerhood")
Before church today, Madigan kept repeating the same word over and over, and I had no idea what she was saying. Finally she stood on the pew, pointed to the band area, and proclaimed "Bio-LIN!" Indeed-she was pointing to a cello and declaring that the man was playing a giant violin. We were as impressed as everyone around us, and then quietly asked each other "How did she know that? We don't ever see violins!" Sadly, we realized how she knew what a "bio-lin" even was: Elmo's World. What a true proud parent/embarrassed parent moment.
After church I was speaking with an Indian woman, who was the mother of a little boy who had just been baptized. Madigan and this boy, Valentino, are almost the same age and seem to be as good of "friends" as kids this age can be. As I was speaking with her, Madigan points and says "Tino's Mama!" and we both acknowledged that she is 'Tino's Mama. Then she proclaims, "Tino's Mama is BROWN!" I just kept chatting but Madigan grabbed my face, turned it so we were looking eye-to-eye, and said again, "Tino's mama IS BROWN!" I didn't really know what I was supposed to say to that, except that I obviously had to acknowledge it or she would just keep repeating herself. "Yes, honey. She is." was all I could manage to say. I have never been so proud that my daughter knew her colors and embarrassed by it at the same time.
I have a feeling it's only the beginning for us... This is one observant kid!


Ramblings on Faith

Two years ago, I delivered a girl, and was delivered into the world of motherhood.

"If You just let me get pregnant and carry a baby to term, I will never ask for anything again."

This was a phrase I desperately (and often) repeated to God during our attempts at starting our family. I am fully aware that bargaining with Him doesn't work: by defining what I was willing to do, that only assumes that there was a limit to what He is capable of. He doesn't need me to outline what's in 'the deal'. He's the one in the driver's seat! It was futile, but that seemed to be my middle name. Besides that, He already knew that was a big, fat lie on my part from the get-go.
God would (and did) fulfill my requests, not because I asked but because He had planned it that way all along. And you better believe that I didn't keep my end of the bargain: I asked for a healthy baby, for a safe delivery, and for several other things since then. Some of those things happened too; not because I asked, but because He had it planned that way all along.
So is prayerfully asking Him for these things in vain? I believe not. He knows our hearts, but that doesn't mean he doesn't want to hear what is weighing on them.
Being a parent has affected me many ways, but my faith has maybe changed the most. I know I only have a small sliver of the parenting-know-how that God has. I can only imagine that the frustrations I sometimes feel with a 2 year old, He feels with all of His children on a daily basis. My child knows right from wrong, but sometimes chooses to disobey. I know what she wants before she even asks for it, but I make her ask me anyway. Sometimes she asks for things and promises to share and be gentle, and she isn't. Sometimes she shuns me in frustration, refuses to hug and kiss me, or screams at me angrily. It is in those moments when I feel deeply frustrated that I always think about my own actions as a Child of God, and realize that she comes by those actions very, very naturally. In turn, God has planted in me a small seed of Himself: in spite of those actions and behaviors, I love her anyway. Unconditionally.
It is through grace that God gives us what we need but do not deserve. God's grace has been abundant in my life, most notably in the last two years. It is His grace that I try to model my own parenting after. I strive to do for my child what God has done for me: patience, security, unconditional love, guidance, and grace.
Very soon, we will be asking him for another child. (Proof that I am incapable of keeping up my end of that 'never asking for anything again' bargain.) I will ask, and He will answer in His way, in His time.
Not because I am asking, but because He has a plan for us all along.

God's grace.
We are undeserving, but so deeply grateful.