There are many things as first time parents that you learn as your child grows. There are a ton of promises and oaths you make while pregnant that you realize were unattainable or just down right silly. I have had to eat my words many times so far in the almost 20 months that Zoë has been on this earth.
While pregnant I vowed that I would not let having a child change me, that I would continue on as I had been, working, taking time for myself often, going out with friends, going out to eat (even in nicer places), shopping, whatever it may be, I would keep on doing it or going there. I quickly learned after giving birth to my 9 ½ pound munchkin that I could not continue to do all these things. Some of them I could do at certain periods of her life, others not, but certainly my life did change. For example, I have gotten up twenty or so times already while writing this blog to help Zoë because she wants more “boo” to finger paint with.
Another thing that Chad and I vehemently opposed was letting our daughter watch any screens (tv, computer, iphones, etc) before she was two. We had read the studies, we knew that the flatscreen lcd, plasma, whatever screens were bad for the development of infants eyes. We were going to entertain our daughter ourselves, we didn’t need the TV to entertain our daughter. We lasted until she was about 6 months old. Chads parents took him to see Star Wars in the theater when he was 6 months old and, as the story goes, he sat and watched the whole thing. This was just the beginning of a life long addiction to all things Star Wars for him. Chad wanted to pass on this tradition to our daughter. So at 6 months old she was (indoctrinated) given the gift of Star Wars (whatever the first one is called, or is it considered the fourth? Anyways…). From there it was Baby Signing Times (she needed to learn sign language- our daughter needs to be multi-lingual!) and on and on. Now our 19 month old daughter is obsessed with Bambi and in all honesty while she was sick last week, I let her watch it numerous times a day.
I have eaten my words about many other things in parenthood so far and I know there will be many more, but I am so happy that we are still in the mind set that we can travel with our daughter. Some people seem aghast that we are taking our daughter on a trip to see the world (what about stability?), others think we are crazy for trying at her age (what about the terrible two’s?), others are excited for us and think that Zoë is blessed to see the world and different cultures. I try my best not to respond too pridefully, because one thing these last 19 months have taught me is that I don’t know anything. Only God knows for sure what our future holds and all I can do is trust that His way is the right way. I of course have ideas and thoughts on how traveling with a toddler will be. I can think that Chad and I will be awesome communicators and will never argue, I can even staunchly oppose putting Zoë on a child leash, but I have learned to not to actually assume these things will happen. Life has a very real way of teaching you humility.
So as we prepare to leave this place, I also a preparing my mind to learn the lessons I am given and not fight against them. I think that learning that will make this trip amazing more than anything else, no matter how many times I have to eat my words.
To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. Psalm 25:1-2
(All Photos Taken by Jennifer Mitchell)