This question is coming. This looming question of who is the other half of mommy is coming down the track like a slow moving train speeding up daily. I do not fear because I know her Daddy, and I’m getting to know Him day by day.
Tatum, you see, I was BBB (Blessed Beyond Belief) to be your chosen mommy. Your Daddy chose ME to raise you and wrap you in my arms and nurture you until the day I pass on. You know what? Your Heavenly Father is your Daddy. He loves you that much that He gave me to you and He is there for you always. ALWAYS, unlike earthly daddies. HE will never let you down. HE is unchanging. HE is protecting you and watching over you always even when nobody is there. HE won’t mess up and leave you. HE LOVES YOU MORE THAN I CAN EXPRESS. You have the rest of your life to get to know Him, and so that is my ultimate prayer for you; that you will get to know Him with every fiber of your being and that you will LOVE HIM with ALL of your heart, soul, mind and strength. You know what the result of this knowledge will be?
Confidence, Joy, Peace, and HOPE in a forever future with Him.
Tatum, I will never let you forget this because sometimes you will. Sometimes, I do, and I have to pray and be reminded that He is there. No matter what. Truth trumps Feelings. Don’t ever forget that.
When I imagine a future for Tatum, I dream about a girl with values. No, a lady with values. (I’m training a potential adult, not child) What does this even mean in this society? It seems as though this term has been replaced with wanting one to be happy or healthy. Although being healthy and happy are important, they are not what I desire most for Tatum.
Now, of course most people would never say, “I want my child to grow up to have money, power, fame or status,” yet that seems to be what we value as a society. Fundamentally, we know that none of these lead to happiness, yet they still seem to be solely and “souly” pursued. Sometimes with a vengeance. I do see that the stress we put on our children to be the next big educated or environmentally-correct super hero; we also are so overly health conscious with them (guilty as chard) Sadly, without even trying, these “values” encourage jealousy and resentment. I would also say, extreme unhappiness.
Extreme happiness, I would argue, comes from knowing you have a set of values that are unwavering and grounded. This grounding foundation gives one self-worth and a True North. But how does one achieve these values? Hopefully from parents who teach these values by embodying them.
So, Tatum, this is where I come in and give you the keys to happiness and a long, prosperous life. Your quality of life is based on your values. The “fruit” comes from building on them with help from above. Wow, what a happy life awaits you as you live these.
1. Worship God and only God (not self nor anyone/thing else): Jesus was even asked which commandment was key, and He said, “The most important one is this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:28-30)
Putting her faith in God and loving Him will define who she is. She will appeal to His authority which will guide her life with Love and Truth.
2. Respect Everyone. Jesus wants us to “Love [our] neighbor as [our]self.” He made it evident that we should extend our love to all people of the world, regardless of race, religion, nationality or any other artificial distinction.
Sometimes, she will be disrespected, disregarded, rejected and hurt. However, how she handles it (or reacts to it) and how she treats the “other” is what matters. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Can we say “Yes” to the question, “Would I want that said or done to me?”
3. Stay humble.This quality of being humble is respecting others. This is the opposite of having “high” self-esteem, which is the focus of today’s parent. The prisons are filled with people who have high self-esteem; they believe the world revolves around them, they feel “entitled” and they say they are the victims of attack. Instead, having a healthy self-worth affirms also the worth of others and it allows us to see the dignity and worth of all people.
It will be easy for Tatum to become haughty because so many adore her. Her task will be to have quiet strength; to fail with grace; to love in light of potential rejection.
4. Be honest. Without your word, you are nothing. Integrity takes time to develop, yet can take a millisecond to lose. So, what does it really mean when one says to be honest? It’s a pretty black and white issue, and I imagine that it is about being true to self (and ultimately God). This means constantly keeping a check with motives. Many times things are said or done to protect ourselves; perhaps the same to protect another. But I will argue and teach Tatum that she needs to be able to stand at Jesus’ feet, look Him in the eye, and know she is 100% OK with her decisions, speech, behavior, and even her heart (motives). This means for me, my word to her is my bond. My yes is yes and my no is no.
(Being honest means being your true (sometimes silly) self! 🙂 )
5. Practice what you preach; don’t be a hypocrite. This means you walk the walk and talk the talk. Be real. Can one look at your daily life (even when nobody is looking) and see you are who you portray yourself to be? Jesus could not stand the Pharisees, for He saw they were all about “the show”; the image; the flashiness of spirituality. She may not always “feel” spiritual or happy or whatever the moment calls for, but she owes the world a smile, respect and love even when it is hard. That also leads to not ever being “self-righteous” like she knows it all and others don’t. That is the first way to turn people away. Attract, don’t deter people!
6. Be kind. (this means generosity also with self, time and money). This takes wisdom and maturity to develop. Many times she will put herself out there with a friendship or with her investment of time into a person and be let down. Her kindness and love should prevail in light of that. I say err on the side of mercy rather that cynicism. Also, things are just that. Things. Hold them loosely. Moreover, her ability to give of her time to important causes/people/needs and her ability to give her funds as needed will teach her that this is the answer to depression. Giving. It’s kindness with a hand.
7. Forgive. Forgive. Forgive! God is merciful and forgives us whenever we fail or fall short. We must also be able to SEE that we did fail and take ownership of our mistakes. He forgives. Do we do the same for others? In the same way, we must be merciful and forgive other people who sin against us or do us harm. This does not mean she becomes a doormat, but a woman with a heart for others; praying for them but not allowing them to continue to do the same over again. She will become wise as a serpent (in who she can be close to) and gentle as a dove in dealing with the wrongdoings of others.
(so she doesn’t have to crawl into the cage and be pent up 🙂She must ask for forgiveness and forgive others as well ( I also will ask for her forgiveness as I will mess up many times)
8. Be Grateful. Don’t whine, complain, be disenchanted with what you have or do not have. Be thankful, for you have everything. You have life. You have life with your loving Father who will protect you even when it doesn’t feel like it. Gratitude is an attitude. Develop it.
There are many more, but these values I see will build in her a strong foundation as they develop her as a lovely young lady. I can only pray for wisdom in guiding her.
Being an English teacher, I can only hope Tatum loves to read and write. She also loves to La La La and move to the groove. (Her ear for the tune might be off a bit as she has to put up with my car singing!). I have also purchased multiple puzzles, games and those “recommended toys for an 12/18/24 month old.” Her interest in these? Mmmmmm about 2 seconds. Many tell me, “Oh, just let her discover them and she’ll be on them for many minutes!” Not so much. In fact, today when I was in the other room, I peaked in to only find Tatum in Coti’s little house (with the gate closed, so she wanted to be alone!!) singing the words in her Baby’s First Book of Prayers.
When she eventually saw me peeping, she yelped, “Bye!” and waved her hands to me to shoo. Apparently she was in her zone. She was gleefully turning the pages and just singing babbley words intermingling la la’s.
Well, after that episode, we retired to my bedroom so she could continue to play as I cleaned out my disastrous desk. Then, she noticed my travel Scrabble game in a coffee cup and had to see this. I decided to play this with her and she ended up enjoying the dice and saying each letter. “E!!!”… “Mmmmmm”!
So do I surmise that Tatum will be the next wordsmith genius and/or scream, “Hooray!” because she loves books!? All I know is the minute we go to her room everyday, she rushes to her stack and pulls out the book du jour. The fish puzzles? Nope. The stacking cups? For a second maybe. My challenge is keeping it interesting by constantly stocking the variety. Boynton books, Jesus Loves Me, Goodnight Moon and Gorilla are her latest favs. I will keep trying however with various ideas. Usually they are NOT toys so of course my ideas must be safe!
My latest ideas which I have stolen from many:
poker chips and putting in cups
playdoh (just the container right now)
play phones (but she loves my “wowo”)
purses filled with erasers
crayons and paper
Little people from Fisher Price
but what trumps them ALL???????
Babeeeeee! (and the crowd goes wild!)
My dearest father would love this girl. Maybe he’d love me even more because of my being her mommy. This weekend, so much happened.
Friday, she comes right up to me gesturing madly and telling me something very important! Sadly, I had no idea what she was saying, but her tone, facial expressions and up and down hand gestures making a point were extremely clear! The only thing missing? Words. She babbled with the heart of a fluent talker. The past couple days, she continues to gesticulate in the air and communicate. Moreover, we have these full on conversations where I ask her a question and she says, “Yeah.” or “No” but appropriately; she understands everything hence I watch everything I say around her, and I know that every minute is a teachable moment. IT NEVER LETS UP!
Sometimes, I wonder...Am I doing this right?? Tonight, I came to the conclusion that I am. I will make MANY mistakes, but I am doing the best I can with wisdom I can only pray for, and I do…DAILY! It is minute by minute. At one point, she’ll throw me for a loop and disobey me, and I have to think fast…what will I do? How can I handle this appropriately and not emotionally respond. This is my darling girl, and I want to make sure she knows HOW MUCH I LOVE HER, but that she needs to learn what is allowed and not. She needs her boundaries…shoot, that’s my job; to be her spiritual guide, her mentor, and biggest fan! So, I bought her a new baby to hopefully help her learn some kindness to another.
I mentioned that her baby might need a diaper change, and next thing I know, I find her in her room trying to put a diaper on her baby! She totally got the concept, yet needed my assistance putting it on.
Coti got so freaked out by her antics that he hid under her bed. Now, she cannot be without her audience, so immediately she called for him and crawled under her bed to retrieve Coti.
He needed to be part of this family endeavor apparently!
Dad, you would love this wonderful little family of mine. It may not be traditional, but it is FULL OF LOTS OF LAUGHS, a WHOLE LOTTA LOVE.
Watching her grow boggles my mind. I’m constantly in awe of the littlest things she does, and I wonder where she gets it? I realize she watches me, but it’s curious how her mind works. Today, she discovered the high chair in her room and carefully put baby and Tata in there to read them a book. What I enjoyed watching was how she had the two of them react with each other. She had them kiss and share. Then she had them listen while she (piled) read books to them.
Then she responsibly put her books back as she has been modeled and taught. Her kindness and ability to share that with others is what I continually try to capitalize on. Her skills can be taught, but her character needs to be not only taught but caught. How? By me modeling it for her constantly. This comes from the books we read, the consistency of my expectations, and how I act in public and with my loved ones.
Sometimes, it does not go so well. The minute she swings her hands out of anger or frustration or she throws something out of the same, I have to rectify it by telling her it’s wrong, giving her a time out and showing her what IS expected. Her egocentricism is completely apparent as she discovers the world should revolve around her as it has for the past couple years (and it kind of has!) When she does not get something when SHE expects or the WAY SHE wants it, then DRAMA city. Sadly, I know many adults who still have not grown out of this narcissism. But she will. She will learn patience, kindness, sharing and respect. Also, humility, not high self-esteem, but a healthy respect for herself and a respect for others. How? Time, hard work, consistency and LOTS OF LOVE. And more LOVE.
and I wondered, hmmmm what could she be doing in there? As I entered her room (which faces west), I expected a pile of books on the floor, or her toys strewn amok, or all of the kleenex piled to the ceiling, but nope. There she was, quiet as a mouse, paging through her book.
She looked up at me and said, “moo!”, as she pointed to the (thankfully) cow and not the duck. It did not last long as she saw me holding my phone. “Wowo” (which means phone in Tatum speak). I showed it to her, and as usual she took it over. Somehow, she managed to contact Siri, and when I asked for it back, her answer was her new word…….”No.” Aaaaah, yes…the awaited word of N…O. Siri heard this of course, and responded.