Few things make me smile more than my 3-year-old nephew. I feel an affection and love for him unlike any I’ve ever felt for a child before. When he runs up and hugs me, squealing, “Mel!”, it makes my heart warm. I remember putting him to bed once when he was very little. I loved the weight of him in my lap and my arms, the softness of his downy head against my cheek as I held his bottle and hummed to him the lullabies that I intend for my children some day. His grandparents said that he slept all through the night that night.
I love listening to Nathan talk, seeing him smile and run and laugh and squeal. I am terrified of being a parent someday, few things scare me more, but I still want it. I want to hold our own little one in my arms, feel the weight of their life there. I want to watch my child sit in their father’s lap, begging for stories and saying their prayers. I want to read them their favorite storybooks until they have them memorized. I want to help them with their homework. I want to counsel them through tough times. I want to watch my children with their grandparents, both sets. I want to whisper to them about nightlights. I want my children to see how much their parents love each other and that we like each other as well as love each other. I know there will be times that are hard, frightening, tearful, saddening. But I know that God will carry and help us through it, just as he carried and helped us and our parents.
I want to tell my children that I love them. I want to teach them to sing and pray, to laugh and be merry. I want to play and pretend with my children, encourage their imaginations and their creativity. I want to teach my children to ask questions, to be advocates for their own knowledge. I want to encourage them and teach them to encourage others, help others. I want my children to see our faith and learn from our lives and our experiences in it.
Yes, having children frightens the life out of me but I still want it. I do.