I’m thrilled to welcome Danielle Henderson back to guest post today! Danielle and I have been friends since we were seven, and though several states separate us now, I love that we can relate on all things parenting. Danielle has four kids, homeschools and is a work-at-home mom with with R + F. So, she’s super busy. Please comment and share to make her feel welcome!
We were in the hallway at church, dropping off our youngest, Sadie, in the nursery. We had 3 small children, ages 3 and under, and we weren’t having any more. Or so we thought. How did I know in this moment that #4 was on the way? Let me tell you.
As we were handing Sadie over to the nursery worker, a woman in the hallway said hi to us, and I had the sudden urge to roll my eyes, or yell “what is your problem?”. If you know me, you know that I don’t typically get angry at people for saying hi to me; but after 3 pregnancies, I recognized this hormone-induced rage immediately. My husband actually laughed and shrugged it off when I told him I thought I was pregnant until the next morning, when a test confirmed that I was, in fact, pregnant.
Of course we were excited, and surprised! I was sure this would be a boy. Our oldest is a boy, and then we have two girls. My son had prayed and prayed for a brother, and I had always wanted to have a boy named Noah. (Our oldest is named Craig Junior, after my husband.) When we found out this was a girl, our older daughter, Savannah, was thrilled to add another princess to the mix; however, our son was so confused. He kept saying “but, I asked Jesus for a boy.” We had to explain that sometimes, Jesus says no. And I had to come up with a name. I was listening to Pandora one afternoon, and “Don’t Know Why” by Norah Jones came on. It’s one of my favorite songs. And then it hit me. Her name is Norah. It’s Noah, with an ‘R’ in the middle. I asked my husband what he thought, and he liked Norah. I didn’t share the part about this being my way of naming my girl Noah. I didn’t think he would go for that.
I should have known right from the beginning that #4 would be different from the others. My pregnancy was easier over all than the first 3. So was my recovery and her first 12 months or so of life. She was a good sleeper, which my other kids had not been. She was so peaceful. She would just lay there and watch the big kids play, with a content smile on her face, making almost no noise at all. Boy, did she have me fooled.
I have struggled with Norah every single day for at least the past year. She has whined, yelled, embarrassed me in public, pushed her siblings to the brink of losing their patience with her, and definitely pushed the boundaries of my own patience as well. She is the only one of my kids who has ever really made it difficult to do anything in public. She is infamous on Facebook. People tell me almost daily that they love reading my stories about her. She is something…that is for sure.
As I was trying to think of a topic for this post, Norah interrupted me many times, and I lost my train of thought. As I’m sitting here typing this, she is screaming because she is angry at me for not letting her play outside in a thunderstorm. With lightning. How do you explain to a 2-year-old that it’s for her own safety? All she knows is that she wants out, and her mean mama has got her trapped in the house. She is a 2-year-old strong-willed daredevil. Sometimes, I lay awake at night wondering how I will keep her safe and alive until she’s an adult.
I am not writing these things about my baby girl to make her sound bad, because that’s not how I see her. Norah is tough, but also funny, sweet, kind, full of adventure and personality. I am writing this because she has taught me so much about love and grace and forgiveness. She has, at times, acted in very unlovely ways, and yet, I would do anything to keep her safe and healthy. I have lost my temper, many times, but when I ask her forgiveness and tell her I’m sorry, she immediately forgives, and gives me a hug and a kiss. Because of her, I have learned to depend on my Savior, daily. I see my need for Him in all of the mundane moments that I used to think I could handle on my own. I also see His love for me more clearly. I understand unconditional love more with each passing day.
An older friend shared with me that her daughter was just like Norah when she was younger. She said that there were many times where she remembers thinking that they would not both make it through the day. But now that her daughter is grown, she can see that God gave her that strong personality for a reason, it serves her well in adulthood. She reminded me that, while we need to discipline Norah and teach her proper behavior, we also can’t break her spirit, because she will need it as she goes through the life that God has planned for her.
Remember to see the good in your kids, your family, your friends, even the ones that make you crazy. As it says in Philippians 4:8, think about whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, or worthy of praise in that person. You will see them in a different light, and their faults will become easier to deal with, because they will seem smaller. Whatever you focus on becomes magnified, so magnify the good. And keep in mind, when you are just about to lose it with that person, that you also have faults. Think about how you want people to treat you when you are at your worst, and treat that person with the same grace.