Monday, April 16, 2012

some teeth and empathy

Our little bean has entered a new phase in her life...Teething...not fun!  We have found that a little whiskey on the gums, tylenol, and swinging at the park seem to be the best medicine. Along with her newly forming chops comes lots of cuddles which I love love love and late night parties that, let's face it, nobody wants to be at; not even Emma Kate. Being awake at 2am hasn't seemed fun to Adam or I since we were 23.  I'll skip the late night drive-thrus and bar closings for a good night's sleep any day.

empathy |ˈempəTHēthe ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

In the fussiest of moments, Adam and I are stretching our empathy muscles.  It's easy to feel frustrated that the day isn't going as planned, that we've been up a lot at night and all we wanna do is sit on the couch and check-out, that nothing seems to make Emma Kate happy, or that sometimes you can't really make her feel any better and you just have to ride it out.  We can't control the fact that she's teething but we can offer her lots of hugs, naps on mommy, funny faces, songs, and our presence.

One of Adam's friends wrote him a letter about being a dad and said this about empathy, "The Value of this trait is self-explanatory when it comes to being a Dad, but at the risk of redundancy I will add that empathy is so critical in those moments as a parent when you have the choice to conclude that either 1) Your child is simply ridiculous or 2) Your child's experience is worth entering in to. While entering in is the more rewarding choice, it's also the most difficult." Matt, if you're reading this, you are one wise man and a great dad!

I love the part about believing that your child's experience is worth entering in to. We see this now on such a small scale with a six month old.  Thankfully, Emma Kate is a healthy and joyful baby, and we have not had anywhere near the amount of challenges that I know other parents go through with their kids. But I am convinced that this choice will play a more and more significant role as Emma Kate grows up.  Choosing to really engage Emma Kate, and not just try to keep her busy and content enough so I can flip through instagram on my phone for the 30th time that morning, although sometimes hard, is a sweet reminder to me of how God is fully present and engaged in my life whether I am fun to be around or not. My prayer is that Adam and I would be parents who choose to enter in to Emma Kate's life- play, imagination, friendships, fears, stories, heartaches, ideas, joys, challenges, learning, insecurities, triumphs, shortcomings, secrets, accomplishments, excitement.... in a way that she knows she is deeply loved and valued by us and ultimately by the Lord.

Psalm 86:15 "But You O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness."

1 comment:

  1. amy-
    this was a beautiful encouragement to me. thank you. i, too, need to enter into Ben's experiences... be present as he explores and learns and succeeds and fails and grows and the list goes on...
    thanks for this.