We are a few days removed from Callie Grace’s birthday. She is 5 years old. My eyes were glued to a heartbeat monitor five years ago as Callie had a bit of a challenging birth. My eyes are still glued to her today, trying my very best to cherish every one of her heartbeats. Here are a few things that came to mind as we celebrated her 5th birthday.
1. I adore my wife. I know that might seem to be a strange way to begin when reflecting on my daughter’s birthday, but it really isn’t. The deeper I fall in love with my children, the more I am reminded of the priority of my wife. I’ve never met anyone like her. My hunch is I never will. The way for me to be the best parent to my daughter is to be the best husband to my wife. So, when I look at Callie Grace on her birthday, I think…see your mom? Be like her.
2. I don’t deserve her. I haven’t “earned” Callie Grace. God had no obligation to give her to me. Goodness and grace are written all over her precious little face, which is why we thought the name “Grace” was appropriate.
3. Gratitude compels me. Gratitude for what Christ has done on the cross is what compels us to take up our own cross and follow him. We pursue holiness because we are grateful. I feel the same way about my parenting. I am grateful to God for Callie Grace and that compels me to be more, to be better, to be present, to be all that I can be for the sake of her future salvation and growth in Jesus Christ.
4. No one else understands. This is part of the mysterious way God has made us. It doesn’t matter if you have a daughter the same age who is in a Christian family of 5 – you don’t understand mine and Callie’s relationship. And I don’t understand your relationship with your daughter or son. We will have points of reference and can share experiences, but the way my heart feels when I’m around my daughter is uniquely my own. No one else will ever “get it.”
5. My appreciation for my parents increases. When Callie Grace was born it radically changed the way I understood my own parent’s love for me. It also deeply impacted how I felt about God’s love for me and his children. As the years go by, my appreciation increases for the tireless and consistent love my mom and dad gave their children.
6. Time is a shadow. “My days are like a lengthened shadow.” Psalm 102:11. Time is a haunting thing. So much of what we will cling to at the end of our days are the memories we have made through the years of active living. So I tell myself, make good memories with your daughter, Philip. Make good memories.
The list could go on and on. I will be reflecting on these things again this time next year – it will come much too quickly.