Okay, I don’t mean this in a generic “I’ve learned more patience through parenting” way, I mean this in a “There are lessons that only Tamasin could have taught Remley” way. In fact, some days I’m convinced that she teaches me more than I teach her.
Here’s a just a small sampling of the things she has taught me over the last few months (in no particular order):
1. Joy is contagious (and should be amply shared with others). It’d be an understatement to say that I’m not a very expressive person and some of this is because I’ve always had trouble understanding the place that expressions of joy (and other emotions) should have in my life. Tam has shown me through her selfless happiness that uninhibited expressions of joy are good, enrich others, and have a very vital role in the body of Christ. We are called to rejoice with one another and she gets it in ways I didn’t and still struggle with.
2. Enjoying “girlie” things doesn’t mean you’re being prissy. Okay, this one I’m a bit embarrassed to admit but I always figured that if a woman knew how to dress well, use the right makeup brushes or enjoyed wearing pink or sparkles that she was probably a “miss priss” or high-maintanance. What I didn’t realize until having my own daughter was that this was more of an indication of my own insecurities and struggles with feminity and less rooted in reality. Tam is very much into all things “girlie” to a degree that’s almost frightening since I know I was never that way and her love of the pink, frills, sparkles, and fluff has really challenged my understanding of girl “types”. I knew women shouldn’t be squeezed into convenient stereotypes but, in practice, I only applied that to women like me. Which leads me to…
2 1/2. You’re more than just how you look or the things you like to do. Style can be an expression of who we are but it’s an incomplete expression just like the activities we participate in. You wouldn’t know from Tam’s very pink wardrobe and sparkly necklaces that she loves trains, is fascinated by knives (though she hasn’t handled one, yet!), and thoroughly enjoys watching the slugs slide across the sidewalk. I’ve been surprised at the amount of people that are shocked to find this out but in all honesty I react almost the same way when I find a new thing that she likes that’s a little “off” from my guesses about her tastes. And how often have I done this to others?! Too many times I’ve wrongly pigeon-wholed others because of something I assumed based on their age, style of dress, color of skin, place of origin, or religious leanings. People are unique creations of God with many, intriguing facets that don’t fit any stereotype completely.
3. Waking up in the morning is not a good excuse for being grumpy. I married a morning person and apparently birthed one, too, but while I could generally shrug off my grumpiness in the morning with my husband by thinking, “That’s just who I am. Now get me my coffee.”, I can’t do that with my daughter. I can’t deny the biological fact that I move slower, can’t carry on conversations, and can’t see straight in the wee hours of the morning but I can face the very uncomfortable truth that if my daughter, who has spent the night up with me sick, still manages to smile and say “hi” to me when I go get her from her bed then I need to readjust my entitlement attitude of It’s-okay-that-I’m-a-total-bear-to-you-because-I-just-woke-up-and-that’s-the-way-I-am-so-get-me-my-coffee-and-don’t-talk-to-me.
4. Trains are awesome (and giraffes are, too). Seriously, I never took a second look at a train but they’re pretty cool and I’m glad Tam likes them so I have an excuse to play with the toys and watch YouTube videos of them. Maybe we’ll build a giant miniature train set some day… Same goes for giraffes. I was too busy enjoying my own favorite animals at the zoo that I was never impressed with them but her excitement about giraffes is infectious and I’ve now added them to the list of animals I will go out of my way to see at the zoo.
5. Prayer is a blessing and should be enjoyed. Tam loves to pray and by “loves” I mean that she will pray with us before a meal and then, less than 5 minutes later, want to pray again. She also loves the part of our betide routine when Anthony whispers the Lord’s Prayer into her ear and smiles, claps and declares “Men!” when he gets to the end. I know that this is mostly because she enjoys the handholding and the uniqueness of the activity more than the part about communing with God right now, but every time she wants to pray again I feel a pang of conviction about how that’s what my attitude is suppose to be. Prayer is something that’s only possible because of the great gift of Christ and I should do it eagerly and with understanding of what a marvelous blessing it is.
This isn’t an exhaustive list but it’s marker of some of the things I’ve been taught in the last few months through Tam. I have lists like these in my head for everyone who has played a significant role in my life and I hope that they’re lessons I never forget.