Monday, March 26, 2007

a baby girl

This is one of those pictures that I want to see on Lily's wall or on her desk someday. I imagine she'll look at it with great fondness and marvel at the amazing relationship she has with her mom. For some reason, it reminds me of a scene in the family stone- which by the way is one of our favorite movies- it's the scene at the end when the insufferable new girlfriend gives all the kids a picture of their mom when she was pregnant with her youngest daughter. The picture is moving- the way the light catches Diane Keaton's smile really resonates the raw emotion and joy of being pregnant. Such was the way I felt when I held my daughter for the first time...

I guess I just always assumed my daughter would be my best friend- with my mom being my best friend, it seemed natural. I know there are no guarantees, so I always say I need to have at least one more girl in case one of them doesn't like me... As I've already expressed, having kids is a pretty powerful thing. And for me, having a daughter seems even crazier. When we found out we were expecting a little girl, I was shocked. Though I didn't tell many people, I was really surprised, I thought- and honestly kind of hoped we would have a boy. For reasons I couldn't quite place. I remember coming home from the ultrasound, and feeling sort of morose. As I considered it further, I realized that I felt such a tremendous responsibility or pressure to raise a daughter 'right'. Immediately I questioned my own representation of being a woman. How do I raise her to be feminine, yet strong- how do I help her to love her body and her physical attributes without it being everything. How do I demonstrate meekness, yet courage. So many things, and so much responsibility. I knew having this daughter would be like this ongoing accountability... one I wasn't sure I was ready for.
After we had had our son home for about a month, we were giving him a bath one night and Brandon and I got to talking. I had noticed that Brandon wasn't as taken with Oliver as he had been and currently was with Lily. For awhile I just dismissed it as it being because Oliver was still so little, and really all he did was nurse and sleep. Whereas Lily was at the prime of cuteness- discovering the world anew each day. I figured it would just take some time for B to be on board with Oliver in the same way he was with Lily. But as we got to talking I realized he was going through much of the same feelings as I did with Lily. He began by saying, "Lily could grow up and be anything- a doctor, a hairstylist, a mom- anything and I wouldn't care- whatever she does will be perfect and I will be happy and proud, but with a son it feels different." He continued on by saying, "you know how when Owen (Blackwell) was born, so much emphasis was on how one day he would surf just like his dad (and mom), I realized that when you have a son, everyone has all these ideas of what sort of an athlete he will be- whether it's baseball, or surfing, or skating - whatever the dad does the son will naturally do- it's sort of intense. I feel like there is all these expectations on him to perform- and I feel like how he turns out is so dependent on me..." It was ironic to hear his thoughts, as I flashed back to how I felt and still feel raising a daughter, and how having a son felt so much different, almost easier.
As my daughter enters a new realm of development... she'll be 2 in may, I am wrestling more than ever with how to raise her "right"- or what i think is right... The crazy thing is I can do, and say all I want to her about being the perfect girl. But really, God taught me this right away with kids- we can talk all we want, but if we aren't walking the talk- it's futile. As Lily grows more cognisant each day, I realize how more than ever the importance of my love and representation of Christ in my own life is what will make her into who she needs to be. May God bless the broken road which leads me back to him....

9 comments:

esther said...

Wow Holly, that's exactly how i feel each day when i look at my girls. I wonder, am i doing this right? I pray for them to be so in love with the Lord and strong and humble, etc... but am I being those things? the weight of it can bear on me, but the Lord knows my frame, my limitations and faults ,and still gave me two beautiful girls to raise...and i think some if it is the daily, sometimes hourly, reminder of my own desperate need for Jesus, and to stir up the desire to be more like Him in every way. And some of it is to bless me beyond expression! what an awesome experience this is! glad you decided to blog about it. : )

Sheila said...

You are so open and honest with your thoughts. Can I link your blog to mine? honorthymother.com?

Jennifer Schlenker said...

Not yet a mommy yet....... Someday I hope I will have girls. Lily is the first little girl I have really bonded with from birth on.... there is just this spunkiness about here, her inquisitive nature and her love for her mommy and daddy. It is amazing how you can have all these dreams of being a mom and what you child will be like, but we really never now how intimately we will be effected when we are a mother. I really can't wait, but I am still praying for a honey first. Right now I think of my kids being like me because I don't really have someone to blend them with. Funny how I can do that...... What a honor to diciple your children and show then the Love and Reality of Jesus in this world that desperately needs him. I pray for Lily- Jesus Give her a gentle heart and spirit to have the heart of you. Use her personality, smile and eyes to draw people to you. She is a total reflection of you!

lynn ingram said...

I'm due any day now with our son and our daughter, Emory, will be 2 in June. With that said, Holls, I so appreciate you thoughts. I too thought for sure our first would be a boy, and that would be what I'd want. Then when we found out #2 was a boy I was almost let down. I was kind of hoping Emory would have a sister. How thankful I am that it's not up to us! Now of course I love having a daughter and am so excited to have a son too. I do hope that we are close through the years. There are few people I'd rather be with than my mom. It is a desire of my heart to have a similar relationship with Emory. Just the other day Eric and I were talking about the demands of being parents right now. It's not that Emory's needs or issues are that big of a deal (frustration when she can't get her shoe on by herself), it's just that they are CONSTANT. But then thinking down the road in her little life and how much ways we handle situations now can effect her responses later it is easy to feel an intense amount of pressure - am I doing this right? From things that seem important, to things that may not matter at all. I often pray that God would show me what is of most value - and how to focus on those things.

How interesting what Brandon was saying about being a dad of a boy vs. a girl. I've wondered how different it will be watching Eric with a boy. He's definitely taken with Emory. And I've wondered how different it will be for me too. A friend recently had a boy and said she can't put her finger on what's different, but something is.

I think of my own mom and how she raised us - beginning each day on her knees every morning for as long as I can remember. There must have been so many days when she said, Lord, I can't do this (especially when I was about 13-14). I feel like I say now that at least several times a day. Which is exactly what He wants me to say right? And his response could be, no you can't, but let me be the one to lead you and let me have your kids fully and see what I can do! What freedom would come if I were able to be in that place.

I didn't think I'd write such a lengthy response, but Holly I guess you got me thinking - you're so good at that!

Benjamin said...

wow this one was too deep for my liking....keep it shallow please!
(ps this is jessica) and personally I love Zeke way more than Zaiah!!!

Anonymous said...

Holls, you know that I am working through all this gender stuff all the time...hence my need to buy "Baby Love". The most wonderful thing about children is that they were God's first. He has so perfectly set in motion who He designed them to be. They fall into our arms and somehow we spend this life leading them back to Him. I know you and I know Brandon and I KNOW that your children will be the most radiant reflection of who Jesus is within you.

Holls said...

Linked you up Sheila, thanks for the encouragement, have always felt a special- unique connection with you.

Nicole Viola said...

I loved reading about your feelings Holly, as I'm about to step into this realm of parenting, and specifically parenting a daughter! I feel some of those same preliminary feelings. Thanks for putting yours into words!
Nicole Bennett

ganyofamily said...

Hey Holly,
Dont know if you'll read this cuz I know I always forget to look for new comments on past posts. This is Erica, we were housemates once for a few months years back.....premotherhood. If you dont already know, we have a son, Hayden who will be 3 in July and a daughter, Halle, who is 15 months. I really loved your thoughts on sons and daughters. I have been using some precious free time to surf around some blogs and came upon yours. I really relate to your feelings of inadequacy and deep desire to do things "right" when it comes to your supremely influencial role in your daughters shaping. My greatest consolation to this ever present burden are a few words that a dear missionary friend from Peru would always say to me..."God is so faithful to make up for what we lack." Obviously, we dont stop striving to be our best but OUR best is plain horrible compared to God's. Yet, that's what he offers our precious girls, HIS best. Thanks for keeping it so real on your blog. It's neat to read stuff from the heart rather than just little comments tagged to millions of photos of the kids (that's exactly what our blog is....even writing this is too much for my brain!). Anyway, I TOTALLY realted to your experiences upon returning from Scottland as well. It's been 3 years now since we returned from Peru and it is CRAZY to think of how quickly my standards changed, my possessions increased and my threshold for satisfaction sky-rocketed. I am equally as deperate for help in this department. A good read on the topic, "Simpler Living, Compassionate Life" by various authors. I could write forever because it's been like a decade since I've been this articulate...I really just wanted to say Hi.