Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Learning from children
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared the many lessons their children have taught them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
I lost my sweet daughter, Bella, when she was sixteen months old. She was born with a very rare genetic condition called Walker Warburg Syndrome. She had hydrocephalus, Microphthalmia (blindness), had to be fed through a feeding tube and had Muscular Dystrophy and that’s just to name a few characteristics of the disease. She was born in January; she’d be five this month. Maybe because five is such a landmark age, I seem to be having a harder time this year than in the past couple years. I think about how she would be starting Kindergarten and how her personality would be blooming.
Having a special needs child really teaches you so much about patience and about not taking things for granted. I realize now how much I just took for granted with my oldest, Big Z. First steps and first smiles are so exciting, and with Bella, we were just desperate for her to lift her arm or turn her head. Over time we realized for her, these steps were never going to happen. So with our newest little one, Lil’ Z, I want to soak up every moment because time goes by so quickly. January is also the month when Lil’ Z, was born. Perhaps this adds to the bitter sweetness of this month?
From losing my daughter Bella I’ve learned that I had to become stronger than I ever wanted to be. I never wanted to survive the death of my sweet baby girl. I really thought it was something that would destroy me. Living with a special needs child is a lot of work, requiring some heavy duty support systems. I look back at all of the appointments, work, exhaustion and I have no idea how I did it all. I learned not to depend on only myself as it became quite apparent I also needed to really learn how to depend on something more. It was certainly a lesson in faith.
In hindsight, another thing I now understand is that you can never take enough pictures and videos of your kids. I thought I took a lot of pictures of Bella. In fact, we took pictures of her every day during her long stay in the NICU. We had friends and family constantly requesting updates, so my DH updated a website every day with new pictures. However, I still wish I had more. I am so thankful that we had family photos taken professionally two weeks before she died. Of course, we had no idea at the time that it would work out that way, but I cherish those pictures so dearly. We didn’t take many videos of her because she didn’t move or “do” anything much. I kick myself now and wish we had captured just a little more of her. The two small clips of video we took have become so precious.
I have also come to realize that memories do fade. Oh, how I wish that wasn’t the case! Right after Bella died I could remember every little fat roll and mark on her little body, now three years later I really struggle to hold onto those small details about her. Perhaps that is the only way that the pain doesn’t eat us alive, if we remembered it all so clearly maybe we wouldn’t be able to go on. Our family works hard to talk about Bella a lot to keep her memory alive. We have a special box of things that remind us of her that we get out and then share Bella stories together. She touched so many people’s lives in her brief stay on this Earth. Sometimes I miss her so much I feel like this giant hole of emptiness inside me is leaving me to be nothing more than an empty shell. Fortunately, I have my two other little munchkins that give me plenty of reasons for getting up the next day and searching for what joy it will bring.
Finally, I’ve learned that there are worse things in life than death. While death is pretty high on the list of terrible things, I strongly feel that in some situations death can be a blessing. I would give almost anything to hold my sweet Bella in my arms again. For the longest time after she died, my arms ached for just wanting to hold her in them. While I know Bella does not have to suffer and struggle anymore, it’s us, her family that are left to feel sad without her. So I guess that’s what else I’ve learned, I’ve learned to have hope. Hope that one day I will be reunited with my sweet Bella again and my whole family will be together as one.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon January 11 with all the carnival links.)
- Affection — Alicia at I Found My Feet has finally become a hugger and kisser, now she has someone sweet and small to snuggle with. (@aliciafagan)
- Learning from Daniel — Amy at Anktangle hopes that she and her husband will always be open to learning from their son. (@anktangle)
ids Cultivate Awareness of Universal Truths — From forgiveness to joy, Amy Phoenix at Innate Wholeness has become aware of deep truths that come naturally to children. (@InnateWholeness)
- What the Apple Teaches the Tree — Becky at Future Legacy has learned about imagination, forgiveness, and strength.
- A Lesson in Slowing Time — Bethy at Bounce Me To the Moon revels in the chance to just be with her baby.
- Learning From My Children: I Am So Honored — WAHM Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey is learning to choose tea parties over work. (@MyMotheringPath)
- P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E — Now that she’s a mother, Danielle at born.in.japan is finally learning about a personality trait she lacked. (@borninjp)
- Top 5 Homeschool Lessons My Children Taught Me — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares what she learned from homeschooling her (now grown) children. (@DebChitwood)
- Learning to Live in the Present By Looking to the Future — Dionna at Code Name: Mama finds the patience to be a gentle parent, because she knows how fleeting childhood really is. (@CodeNameMama)
- The watchful Buddha boy — At Dreaming Aloud, they are learning to cherish their thoughtful, sensitive child in a action-driven, noisy world. (@DreamingAloudNt)
- What My Children Taught Me — Dulce de Leche‘s children have taught her to value herself for the wonderful person and mother she is.
- Lessons from the First Year — Having a child made Emily at Crunchy(ish) Mama realize that her decisions affect more than just herself. (@CrunchyishMama)
- Lessons from Loss — Erica at ChildOrganics learned so much from the love — and loss — of her sweet Bella, five years ago. (@ChildOrganics)
- The Socratic Baby — Erin at Multiple Musings has so-called “identical” twins to serve as a daily lesson in nature vs. nurture. (@ErinLittle)
- Learning to be a Mother — Farmer’s Daughter learned the type of patience that enabled her to calmly eat one-handed for months and change clothes seven times a day, before noon. (@FarmDaughter)
- A Few Things Being a Mom Has Taught Me — Heather at Musing Mommy shares the curious, hilarious, and sometimes Murphy’s Law-like tidbits we learn from our children. (@xakana)
- I Feel You — Motherhood has taught Jamey from At the Bee Hive empathy, and it extends beyond just her child. (@JameyBly)
- Lessons From My Child… — Jenny at I’m a full-time mummy shares the inspiring ways she’s learned to expect the unexpected — and have a camera ready! (@imaftmummy)
- My child is my mirror — Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama has seen herself in her children – and it’s not bad. (@crunchychewy)
- There is enough to go around… — Kellie at Our Mindful Life learned that love doesn’t diminish when it’s shared.
- Learning From Our Children, Every Day — Kimberly at Homeschooling in Nova Scotia, Canada is continually inspired by her children. (@UsborneBooksCB)
- Life Lessons From My Children — Kristen at Adventures in Mommyhood has learned that every slug is fascinating, doing the dishes is fun, and sharing a banana is a delight. (@crunchymamato2)
- Things I’ve Learned From My Children — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings uses pictures to share what she has learned from her children. (@sunfrog)
- Beyond the questions lies the answer — Lauren at Hobo Mama stopped wondering and started knowing — loving and liking our children comes naturally. (@Hobo_Mama)
- Learning from Children — Lily, aka Witch Mom, finds out just how enchanting balloons can be. (@LilyShahar)
- Lifelong Learning — Lindsay at Living in Harmony has learned that what works for one kid might not work for another. (@AttachedMama)
- Walking alongside my daughter — Lindsey at Mama Cum Laude is learning to give the clock less power over her family’s life.
- Things my baby taught me about me — Luschka at Diary of a First Child is proud of how she has grown as a mother. (@lvano)
- From my children, I have learned — Mama Mo at Attached at the Nip has a litany of beautiful lessons, from selflessness to sleeplessness.
- The Little Things in Life — In a simple and lovely prose poem, Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children shows how adults worry about the wrong things and forget the little, important ones: watching ladybugs, jumping in leaves, cherishing each moment as it comes.
- The Virtues of Motherhood — Melissa at The New Mommy Files has had opportunities to learn from children as both a teacher and a mother. (@NewMommyFiles)
- My Kids Have Taught Me That It’s Time To Stop Blogging — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! has learned that childhoods fly by too fast to blog. We’ll miss your wonderful online presence, Melodie, and we wish you much peace and happiness. (@bfmom)
- Having Kids Has Taught me a Thing or Two — Michelle at The Parent Vortex learns all day long — from fun facts about hedgehogs to tying a complicated wrap with a screaming child and an audience. (@TheParentVortex)
- We Could All Learn from the Children — Momma Jorje takes time to get on the floor and play so that she can see the world through her child’s eyes.
- Teaching Forgiveness — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog has a daughter who’s taught her unconditional love — even when she feels like she does’t deserve it. (@littlegreenblog)
- Parenting as a joint venture — Olivia at Write About Birth appreciates watching the astonishing way her children learn. (@writeaboutbirth)
- Beginner’s Mind — Rachael at The Variegated Life learns from a child who builds bridges to nowhere, calls letter magnets his numbers, and insists dinnertime is truck time. (@RachaelNevins)
- A baby’s present — RS at A Haircut and a Shave presents a short poem on the differences between a baby’s mindfulness and ours.
- Self-Confidence Was Born With My Daughter — Sara at Halfway Crunchy learned to trust her instincts by responding to her child’s needs — and saw her self-confidence bloom.
- The Importance of Being Less Earnest — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante has one list of earnest and one list of silly things she has learned as a parent. (@seonaid_lee)
- Lessons my children have taught me — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes learned that attachment parenting was the best way to meet the needs of her child and herself. (@Sheryljesin)
- Till the water is clear — Stacy at Mama-Om learns that being present is the best present. (@mama_om)
- I Hold It — Stefanie at Very, Very Fine has learned that the ability to communicate is much more important than the number of words a child knows.
- What My Children Taught Me About Letting Go — Summer at Finding Summer is learning from her kids to laugh in the face of heartache. (@summerminor)
- Finding My Tools — The Artsymama has applied some of what she’s learned as a mama in the classroom, with great results!