August 19, 2019


I read something last week that I've read probably 50 times.
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

A teacher shared "When I look around my classroom I couldn't tell you who crawled first, who walked before one or spoke in sentences by 15 months. I can't tell you if their parents breastfed or bottle fed....
You know what I an tell when I look at my kids? I can tell which families value kindness and manners in their homes. I can tell when a child feels loved and secure. I know who has pizza and movie Friday nights and which Mom reads in different voices for bedtime...
When I look at my little friends, I don't see their milestones, i see who they are: their hear, their actions, their inner voice, their struggles and triumphs, and I see you; and all the love your pour into them."
It's beautiful and something we all need to remember. 
I struggle sometimes deciding what Bella and Ethan aren't doing or doing. I hope that the things we do at home matter later in life when they are living in their own homes, raising their own families. I pray that they understand that no cell phones at the dinner table means that I want to hear about everyone's day and what made them happy or hear about something they are struggling with. I know that their belly giggles are genuine and something no-one can ever take from them and hope that those moments are ingrained with them forever- us crying from laughing so hard at something ridiculous together on the couch.
Bella didn't walk until after she was a year old and she didn't start getting teeth until about 7 months. You would never know that watching her run around (everywhere) and eat everything in sight. So many people comment that she's so small, but little do they know that she's been determined from the start. I like to think of her being a preemie as wanting to make her entrance to the world sooner- she's full of excitement and wonder each day, and she wanted a head start ;)
On the flip side, I wasn't there to watch Ethan's first steps and don't know when he got his teeth...I wasn't in his life yet. To the tall young man who just got his braces off, it simply doesn't matter. It's just a part of life.
First teeth and first steps are exciting things to document in the baby book, but in the grand scheme of things, these labels don't matter. We don't need to define a person by their first word, or the amount of words they say by what age. We all are doing the best we can-parents, step-parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents. 
I've done it before, before I've been in the position and I have labeled someone. The lesson "don't judge a book by it's cover" is a good one to learn, and sometimes it slaps you in the face when you're least expecting it.
Labels aren't important, the love you give each and every day IS. Making someone feel loved, comfortable and special is the best gift.

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