Stop Making It So HardOct 02, 2023
Do we sometimes make parenting and relationships harder than they need to be?
I Know I have.
I am working on a keynote address entitled “A Hero’s Two Journeys”. The message is centered around the impact of choosing love over fear regardless of our circumstances or how life is putting the squeeze on us.
As part of the process, I have been revisiting some of the stories I have written in the past. The goal is to find one or two that I could include in this new talk. Today, I am going to share one of these stories because I love the message.
It’s a girl.
It was September 13, 2001, and it was a beautiful day to have a baby. This will be our sixth child, and I have to say that the pregnancy has been a rich and enlightening experience for our whole family. For the most part, the kids have been very patient, but the last few weeks of the pregnancy, the anticipation really started to build. There were lots of questions. Was it going to be a little brother or little sister? What was the baby going to look like? How does the baby get out of there?
All of the kids have expressed their views on the benefits of having a little brother or a little sister, but our ten-year-old son, Jimmy, had been the most adamant. He had his heart set on having a little brother. This started a few months ago. One night, after he had been in bed for ten or fifteen minutes, he came in to see my wife and me with a very serious look on his face. He said, “I have been thinking. I hope the baby is a boy so when Jake, [Jake is his big brother] goes to college, I won’t be the only boy left in the family.” From that day on, the picture of a little brother and all the things they could do ran continuously through Jimmy’s mind. They could play catch together. They could rollerblade together. They could share Jimmy’s room and play Nintendo all night. The possibilities were endless.
It was finally time, so off to the hospital we went. As my wife and I left for the hospital, I couldn’t help but notice the hopeful anticipation in Jimmy’s face. It was as if he was saying to me, “Come on, Dad. Work some of your magic and make sure it’s a boy.”
Well, thanks to the help of modern technology, we survived the day. At 6:37 that evening, after several hours of labor, a visit from the anesthesiologist and countless ice chips, we finally had the newest member of our family. A beautiful baby girl named Isabella Rose White. After my wife and I had a few hours of private time with our new daughter, it was time for the rest of our children to meet their new baby sister.
As all the kids were standing around Mom’s bed getting their first look at Isabella, I noticed a confused look on Jimmy’s face. How could this be? He thought he had made his desires perfectly clear. After a few minutes, he discreetly came over and asked me to do something for him. He said, “Dad, would it be OK if we checked one more time, just to make sure she is not a boy.”
Not knowing exactly what to say, I asked Jimmy if he would like to hold Isabella. He was a little reluctant, but he agreed. So Jimmy took a seat on that half-couch/half-bed thing you find in today’s labor and delivery rooms, and I brought Isabella to him. As I lay Isabella in his arms, the most amazing thing happened. I could see him just letting go of all of his expectations and disappointment. Then, in an instant, right before my eyes, I watched him fall in love with his new baby sister.
We tend to think of love and relationships as being very complicated and hard. Yet, when I saw these two souls joining together, I realized nothing could be easier, nothing could be more natural, and nothing could be more beautiful. All you have to do is clear a little space. Get rid of the clutter we know as opinions, expectations, and judgment, and then just let love fill the void.
Here is your challenge for the next 24 hours.
Clear a little space… Get rid of the clutter we know as our opinions, expectations and judgements and see what fills the void.
Your family enrichment coach,