It is said that with each additional child, parents become more and more “relaxed.” Age combined with fatigue combined with a “zone defense” simply yields lower standards…at least for this parent. While child number one’s pacifier was sterilized in boiling water every time it dropped to the floor, little Norah’s (#4) is dropped, stepped on by her brother, coated in floor crumbs, and then gone for a roll under the couch. Yet, I have never boiled that pacifier. It might get rubbed against my pants on a good day. Let’s just say I believe it builds character. Last week, as we celebrated Norah’s first birthday, we celebrated another milestone – her first steps. I’d like to say I was waiting with a video camera. I’d like to tell you that I was holding her hand and urging her to take that first step by herself. I wasn’t. I was replying to email on my iPhone. In fact, it took my 7-year old’s excited squeal to startle me into remembering that this was a moment worth remembering.
In my all too frequent guilt of being more focused on my phone than I was on my children, I thought about the other “small steps” I might be missing in the lives of those I lead as well as those I love. Do I diminish someone’s accomplishment because I’ve seen it before or accomplished it myself? Am I valuing an individual’s growth in terms of their journey or my own? Norah’s three older siblings didn’t change how challenging it was for her to take a first step. Why should it change my support? Here’s to always marveling in all our steps that allow us to “realize that Jesus is already there, waiting for us with open arms.”