Over more than a decade, I have given birth to and taken care of five beautiful daughters. If there is anything that I want to remember when I grow old, it is the time that I spent raising them. I look back and see the sleepless nights, the back-breaking cleaning and endless laundry, and the silence and order that weren’t always possible. These things seem never ending! But now I am being told that it is not safe for me to have another baby, and a feeling of longing often overwhelms me. Having a child in my arms is the way I have pictured myself ever since I was a young woman. I have always wanted to be a mother and I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to be one. I want to hold all my children in my arms forever, but they grow up fast and the years pass by even faster. I have realized through the years that I have learned most of what I need to know about parenting from holding a child in my arms.
Time Flies so Fast
All the sleepless nights spent feeding, changing diapers, and putting children to sleep felt like forever. Not to mention the meals that needed to be prepared, dishes to be washed, laundry to be done – all these things made me ask, “When will all this stop? Because the truth is, these things are breaking my back and I am so tired.” However, when I looked at my eldest daughter and realized she is going to be a teenager soon, I got confused. Wasn’t it just a while ago that she was still my little girl? Then I felt in my heart a sharp pang of regret. I should have held her more often. I should have kissed her endlessly. The nights are long when you have children. It’s true. But the years are short and if we miss any chance to be there in their lives and having them in ours – we are missing a lot!
Hold Close What is Important
I used to feel very frustrated when nothing seemed done at the end of the day because all I did was carry my baby. That feeling that you need to fold the clothes or finish something up in the kitchen, but you have your hands cuffed by a six-month-old – it is really discouraging! I even complained to my Father that I did not get anything done around the house. His wise answer was, “You are already doing the most important task you have.” Holding a child in my arms made me realize that this is why babies need to be carried and held close. It is because they are more important that any other thing that we need to do. So hold your little ones. Carry them close to your heart and smell their breath and savor the sweet smell of their head.
If You Want to Feel Loved and Needed, Care for a Child
Remember how it feels when a child looks at you with puppy eyes? Or when they scream and kick to get what they want from you? A lot of people in the world today struggle with their self-worth. But if you are taking care of children, you will always feel needed and loved. You will know you need to get up in the morning because someone is depending on you. When babies cry, you can’t help but cater to their needs. You somehow forget yourself and rise to the challenge of unselfish service. Then when their cries turn to smiles and giggles, we get the best compensation there is – we feel loved. Children have that magic in them, and it always works.
You Hold the Future in Your Hands
No matter how fragile they may look now, they are the leaders of the future. We may not leave a grand legacy when we die, but in them we can plant the seeds of a better tomorrow. The little hands that cling to our hair and knock down glasses and bowls will soon build families and communities. The little mouths that scream and drool will sing future songs and proclaim truth and justice. Their small and delicate bodies will soon grow to the mold that is their spirit and in no time, they will shape the world that we will be living in. “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world” so they say. Carrying a child in my arms made me feel optimistic about the future. It gave me a greater purpose and motivation to do better and be better as a mother.
I used to wonder why Heavenly Father made us go through birth and childhood when, in all His power, He could send us to Earth as full-grown human beings. The answers became clearer with each child I held. Through the process we learn, line upon line and grow and develop not just physically but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. The experience is a total learning syllabus. These little ones have no idea that, in the process, they are teaching valuable life lessons to unsuspecting parents. So with all my heart, learn from your little ones. Carry a child in your arms and feel the presence of a loving Father in Heaven who trusts us enough to let us take care of His spirit children. It is such a humbling yet rewarding experience!