by Christi Straub
I always hate that inevitable new baby question from well meaning friends and strangers alike, “Is she a good baby?”
It infers that some babies are inherently good and others are inherently bad.
No, she’s not a bad baby. But she is difficult.
I’ve learned there are two basic categories of babies: easy and difficult. For some reason, the good Lord has given us two of the latter. Our last few years have been the hardest I’ve ever known. Just when I thought I couldn’t take anymore, more came. When I thought I couldn’t give anymore, more was required of me.
The details of my “difficult” are likely different than yours, but I’ve learned that very few little ones fall into the “easy” column. Sure, some babies sleep, smile and eat well from birth. And we moms of difficult ones, look at you with a mixture of jealousy and spite.
But then babies grow into toddlers, and eventually teenagers—that’s when all of us are on a level playing field.
Being a parent of a difficult one is hard. Some days, loving them is even harder. Not feeling love for your difficult one is the worst of all.
Out of one of the most demanding moments, at the end of myself, in tears, exhausted, crying on the bathroom floor, not knowing how to love my difficult one, I wrote this letter to my daughter. I’d like to share it with all moms of difficult ones, whom I believe at some point is really all of us.
I hope it encourages you.
I sit here and listen to you fight—for what I’m not sure—to sleep or not to sleep. You fight like a champion. My girl, you have the tenacity, determination and perseverance of an Olympic athlete. I pray the Lord uses it mightily.
These first six months of your life have been very hard. You are a difficult one, my love. I know you will never remember these days or years. But Daddy and I will. Forever.
I know lots of mamas want their babies to stay little—but not me. My girl, I want you to grow up.
I want you to run and explore and talk and learn about the beautiful, scary and wondrous world around you. The world is all those things—and so are you.
You are beautiful and scary and wondrous.
You are beautiful. I call you my beauty—because you are. There is a beauty in you that the world has never seen before. I pray you will steward that beauty with dignity and class and awareness and confidence.
You are scary. Stuck inside your baby body you can’t tell me what’s bothering you. You can’t crawl up on my lap and ask me to hold you because your tummy hurts. You can’t run to me and tell me what you’re afraid of. And so, I’m left to guess. Whatever could be wrong? Or maybe nothing is—maybe you just have a feisty, determined spirit that would prefer to be doing something else. But I don’t always know, and that’s scary.
You’re scary because you hold so much power and potential in your little body. I want to shepherd it and honor it and love it and care for it well. But I’m human—and I fail. Give me grace, my dear. Give me grace, my Lord. It can be scary to be your mummy.
You are wondrous. Wondrous means to be in awe, to be full of mystery and adventure and so many surprising, intriguing and wonderful things. That’s how I feel when I look at you. My girl—you are wondrous. And that’s why I want you to grow up. I want to see and hear and discover all the wondrous parts and sides and gifts and talents in you.
My girl, I can’t wait to know you. These first six months have been quite an introduction. I feel like we might be cut from the same feisty cloth—but that’s a great and wonderful thing. Your Grandma says God often calls difficult people to accomplish difficult tasks. My darling girl, you may just be called to accomplish something great and difficult. I will cheer and encourage you every step of the way.
But on nights/wee-early mornings like this one, where you scream and assert every feisty ounce of your being, I feel helpless and afraid. In these moments, I will pray for you. I know there will be many beautiful, scary and wondrous moments down the road when I will feel just like this—helpless and afraid.
So I will begin to practice now—investing all my love for you in prayer. Because I know that lasts forever. My prayers for you will never die. My prayers for you will matter long after this season of difficult is over. My prayers will hold us both through the next season of difficult.
I can’t wait to know you, my girl. To know your heart, your passions, your gifts, your fears, your talents. To know you at your deepest level. I want to hold your heart. I pray that you will always feel safe enough to share it with me—for all the years and decades to come.
You are beautiful and scary and wondrous, my girl. Steward it well.