I thank God for the sweetness of a baby, and the open and easy affection of my younger children. This balances out the seriousness of the decisions that are being made with our older children, and the awkwardness of learning new and different methods of expressing affection and concern. Not only are there issues that are life changing to deal with (what to do for high school? What activities to encourage, which to eliminate, what parameters to draw?), but I am inexperienced at mothering teens, and am "learning as I go" so to speak. The baby, now there I have some competence, some confidence, and a true appreciation for the quick passage of this phase. It occurs to me that the teen years are going to fly by, as well, and then my children will be gone. Just as I have learned through experience NOT to wish away a moment of the newborn and baby phase, exhausting as it may be, I am exhorting myself to live in the present moment with my teens as well, relishing the time we still have together. The confidence and competence will come, but this time together is finite and precious.
I believe this is one reason the blog here has been so baby-centric lately. Besides the fact that she is as cute as can be, there is a groove I know, words I can attach to emotions because I have experienced them many times before. But in parenting the older children, while still quite profound and deep and meaningful, I often have no words, or search for them; due to a lack of experience, my thoughts lack a coherence or elegance I want when speaking of any of my children. To put it bluntly, the teens are dear, complex and all new to me, and have mostly left me speechless.
So, God, in His wisdom and mercy, paired the teens with a newborn, to give us a nice bridge, some cute common ground if you will, where we meet regularly and share our joy. So we have yet another reason to be immensely grateful for Melanie. The love she brings into our family is a glue to hold our family tight during the new and wonderful, though somewhat disorienting time of the teenage years.
By the time Melanie is 15, I'll either be completely comfortable with parenting teens, or completely worn out, most likely a combination of the two. But I am not going to think about that now. Now I am going to feed the baby, say a prayer for my family, and be ever so grateful for the abundance of goodness God has placed in my life.