“Just wait til your second one”
I heard this statement so often while I was expecting our second child. I couldn’t understand why anyone would say such a horrible thing to a young mom who was so excited about the arrival of her baby. It seems like I must have heard it a hundred times during those months leading up to his birth. Our first son was easy, compliant, said “yes mam,” and “no sir,” went to bed when we wanted him to, stayed in bed in the mornings and called my name to ask if he could get up. He ate what I fed him and really just slid easily in to our lives without any disturbance for the most part.
When I found out I was pregnant again shortly before Landon turned two, I thought I had this whole mothering thing figured out….but everywhere I went I seemed to hear those cruel words that insinuated that I was going to have a wild child, an out of control, totally opposite, little hellion…that’s what I felt like they were saying, and often I would say things back to them like, “I don’t receive that or I’m not planning on having a bad child.” When Elijah was born, I remember calling him my “joy bringer” day after day. He was happy and playful and I wanted the words I spoke to him and about him to be positive to combat all those negative ones that people so freely threw around…. I don’t really remember whether he cried much. I am pretty sure he was a great sleeper and eater, but he didn’t walk until he was about 17 months old and by that time his baby brother was 3 months old. Imagine for a minute if you will carrying an infant carrier on one arm, a 25 lb baby on your opposite hip and a three year old holding your hand in the parking lot, in to church, treks to the park, in to the chiropractors office who said it was clear just by looking at my awkward stance with those three little guys why I was having back trouble! Those were sweet days for which I will always be thankful for but you will surely understand why much of his early years were a blur…3 little boys under 4….”do you know what causes that?” Just another one of those things that people felt so comfortable asking me. It didn’t matter whether they knew me or not…how rude!
A few things I remember about those years when I spent my days changing diapers, cleaning the kitchen 5 times a day, Buzz Lightyear and Spiderman costumes, nursing a baby while potty training their brother, having bible studies and accountability groups with friends during naptime or late at night after our babies were sleeping, and crying with each other about how we believed we had failed our families that week, encouraging each other that God’s grace was for us AND our children…times like this were a life saver during those years!!
When life was happening, I would hear those voices that said “just wait til your second one,” when he figured out the child proof lock on the front door a month after he learned to walk and wound up in the culdesac near a very busy road. And when he dumped a bowl of spaghetti on his head as I was making a bowl for someone else, and the time that he disappeared during nap time and I was sure he had run away at 2 years old but thankfully found him IN my bathroom sink, sound asleep, with a concoction of soap, toothpaste, and lotion in a cup and he had painted a masterpiece on my mirror with my toothbrush. His sweet little fingers were all shriveled up because he had fallen asleep with them in the cup of toothpaste stew…
….”just wait til your second one.”
The next few things I remember aren’t so comical to think back on but they give even more meaning to those words that have come to mean something so different to me than what they meant to the people who said them…I remember being angry A LOT at those sweet little boys. I read every book out around the turn of the century on raising boys and I learned about their need to create and destroy, their need to be outside and explore, that there would come a time when they would need their daddy’s approval much more than my hugs but none of them really addressed the real issue I was dealing with. It wasn’t those boys that were the problem, there were things in my heart that needed some tweaking….those things couldn’t have ever come to the surface and I would have never realized the need for them to if I hadn’t had to “just wait til my second one.”
Lots of opportunities to trust the Lord for wisdom, and strength, and grace, and mercy came over the next decade plus a few years as we realized that over half of what worked with the first boy didn’t work for the second and probably weren’t going to work for the third…ha-ha, our fourth child was a girl, so everything was different with her. The thing I hope to leave you with is that if ever you hear me say, “just wait til your second one,” it would be said to encourage you to look forward with great expectation and what I mean is that you will have amazing-grace moments to surrender your ways for His ways…that little girl or boy that might challenge you in more ways than you thought possible is part of a beautiful plan, not just for their own life but for yours. That you will continue to have moments when all you can do is trust that God is for you, He loves you completely, and He loves that second one even more than you do.
In honor of my joy-bringer, Elijah Parker, for whom I am so thankful. Without him there are so many lessons that I wouldn’t have learned, so many parts of my heart that might have stayed hard, so much grace that I would never have received. It’s hard to give what you have not received, so I can thank him and my sweet Jesus for allowing me to receive grace upon grace upon grace so that I can be a giver of grace and not much brings more Joy to a momma than to know that her children walk with God in truth and grace-3 Jn. 1:4
Just wait til your second one!!!!