Baby Fiala, Peace and Contentiousness
When I was pregnant, I admitted to Daja in a comment on her blog that I was — rather selfishly — hoping for a very peaceful child.
When I was a kid, I couldn’t understand why my mom got along better with my sister than with me. After all, I was the one who got good grades, was good at sports, could make friends easily, and had better fashion sense… what wasn’t to love? Ugh. I also LOVED/LIVED to argue, was obviously conceited, was a major fault-finder, and was host to a number of other character flaws and unpleasantries completely unnoticed by me. No wonder she like my sister better. Seriously. I do not blame her whatsoever. In fact, I completely understand why my mom took more pleasure in my sister’s company than in my own. I just wasn’t enjoyable to be around. I’m sure, for a mother, being around myself as a child was an awful reminder that bringing children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord was, with some children, seemingly impossible.
I dearly, dearly love each of my children. And, each has their own set of both admirable qualities, and areas on which we work… “tough spots,” we call them. For all four of my older children, tops on their lists of tough spots would be “contentiousness.” Ugh again. Wonder where they got that??
They didn’t get it from my hubby. In fact, it was my marriage to my generous, merciful, peace-loving husband that clued me into the fact that there were more important things than winning a fight. I quickly learned that being right, which was previously my main goal in life, amounted to a hill o’ beans compared to peace in our home, sweet peace between the two of us. Not that my bad habits of picking fights and “proving” my points were broken easily or quickly… and when he and I were talking about this recently, he semi-jokingly implied that perhaps they weren’t broken at all.
But, I have to say that my values and perspectives in this area have made a complete 180. I hate fighting. I hate the debate I used to crave. It breaks my heart to see anyone verbally deconstruct someone else’s self or opinions in the very same way that I used to, and (to my shame) gleefully so. Not that I want anyone to be a pushover; I advocate for making one’s stand in a polite, respectful way that values the feelings and thoughts of the other person; I attempt to teach this to my children, and practice it myself.
If my husband hadn’t taught me to love peace, having four stubborn, rowdy, strong-willed children who think every hill’s a hill on which to die, would have done so. I grow weary of the fights, yet feel ill-equipped to teach any of them how to be a peacemaker.
All of that to say that I realize that I, by no means, merit a peaceable, gentle child. However, back to my opening sentence, I was encouraged by Daja to pray over the heart and character of my unborn child. Prayer. What a concept. I have prayed frequently for my children, in utero, but I seriously had never considered praying over their character and disposition. But, you can teach this old dog a few new tricks, so I immediately started praying over Fiala.
Only minutes, or maybe hours after she was born, I realized that she was so different from Audrey. Anyone who has read this blog knows that I adore my 2yo daughter. But, from birth, she was never cuddly — she would stiffen even as an infant, and resist being snugged, even eschewing the “burrito wrap” that babies, supposedly, univerally adore. She wanted her freedom. Always curious about the world and its people, even from the first day after birth, she wanted to be bolt upright on my shoulder — the better to see you with, my dear. She’s still like that. She wants to be hugged frequently, but her hugs are given in millisecond speed. It’s like she wants to check in to make sure you love her and that you are willing to give her attention, but she doesn’t want to hang out and soak up the love. Cuddling is stifling to her; she’d rather be on the go. 98% of the time, anyways. She’ll bend her own rules, sometimes, but only on her terms, not on anyone else’s. If you want a cuddle-hug from Audrey, uh, good luck. But, sometimes, she’s bestow one. 🙂
Fiala is cuddly — melty, snuggly cuddly. She’s only three weeks old (today!), but it’s obvious that she absolutely adores human contact. Her favorite thing is to be cradled in my arms, and then for me to bend my head over so that my cheek is on the side of her head… hard to describe, but in that way, she’s virtually enveloped by me, and she adores it.
Actually, in my room at the hospital, when it was only myself and my newborn baby Fiala, I started crying. Admittedly, I cry very easily after the birth of my baby — usually from tenderness, not from sadness, so please don’t fear PPD or anything like that. It’s just that my tears brim close to the surface during this time, and they spill over for things like feelings of love, or thankfulness, or during worship, or just when my hubby was praying over our dinner last night — stuff like that. 🙂 Anyways, in the hospital, I just got a major sense of the presence of God in my daughter’s life, and that she truly was a peaceful little girl, just what I’d been hoping and praying for. At that time, she was barely 24 hours old, so it’s not like I had a full picture of her character… but I just had the sense that God had heard my heart and answered my prayer, and in spite of my undeservedness, had given to me a gentle, loving, amiable, caring little girl. I was overwhelmed with the mercy of God, and with thankfulness for my new baby, and a feeling of eager anticipation of seeing her grow and develop and become who God intended her to be…
Friday night, my mom & stepdad were over for dinner, and my mom said, “I was praying for Fiala this morning, and I got one word… I feel like it was from God. It was ‘peacemaker’.” I’ll take that!!
So… thanks to be to God our Father who heard my heart, and undeserving though I am, has given me a daughter filled with gentle sweetness. And, thanks to sweet Daja, who encouraged me to pray for Fiala.