Justyce in the Youngs Family. An Ode to the Wild Ones.
If Justyce had been born first, we would have had a much smaller family!
As a mom with six kids before Justyce came into our world, I thought I had seen it all. Each one of our children offered their fair share of challenges and were unique in their own right, so I thought I was prepared.
After all, I had learned some tricks along the way and was sure I could handle another baby… as long, of course, as this one was compliant and easy going.
You know, just like you order up.
Well, Justyce was born in 1 hour and 45 minutes start to finish, and with the midwives barely arriving on time this should have been my first clue as to what was to come.
Right from the get-go Justyce was very determined and demanding, and regardless of what was happening at the time, was surely going to be heard!
Let me back up for some context.
During this season of my life, I was working full time in our book business and running a Canada wide school program. Scott, was just as busy running other aspects of the business that he oversaw. Yes, the other six kids were “manageable” and could do most of their schoolwork independently. So, for this last baby, I just needed a child that would just “go with the flow”.
Justyce didn’t go with the flow.
Nope. She reorganized our lives and took over.
So maybe you are thinking right now “Autumn, you just needed to read Baby Wise and adopt some structure or routine.” I already had. Way back when our parenting journey started. So that wasn’t the issue.
Raise your hand if you’ve given birth to a tenacious, strong-willed, wild child. Now nod along with me if, like me, you wanted to throw books like that in the toilet!
No rules, strategies or clever “how to’s” worked. All I was thinking was, “Gosh! I already had one like this (You can read about my firstborn Chayden here!) how on earth am I going to live through a second one?
How am I going to survive?”
Well… here’s what I learned.
We may think we know what we need, but often… we’re dead wrong.
For me, I thought I needed calm and order.
What I got was learning to let go of control.
In so many ways Justyce was God’s perfect timing.
We weren’t waiting for Justyce. Justyce was also waiting for us.
I was the one who needed to learn to go with the flow. A consistent theme in the journey I’ve had as a mom.
And if I would have had Justyce 10 years before, there would have been way more yelling
and a lot less understanding. If she would have been one of my more easy-going kids, I know I would have overlooked her need for time and attention, and she would have been lost to my busy days.
I had exactly the right child at the right time.
Of course, proper constructive discipline is important – but more than anything, Justyce needed my love and attention. And I needed to learn to give it.
She needed to be heard. I needed to be willing to listen.
Justyce wasn’t satisfied with a passing comment from me but instead asked for my undivided attention. I can’t tell you how many times I heard this not so gentle reminder from her, and it was wisdom from above delivered from below.
“Mom… look at me!”
It was a lesson I wish I would have known when my other kids were small. I know now that I would have paid more attention to them, looked into their eyes, and listened with intent.
So friend and fellow parent, if you feel stretched thin, exasperated and you’re wondering if you’re going to survive and what is it all for…
This is all for you and it’s all for them.
You’ll make it… and as you do, embrace that this season is also making you.
Remember, the child you have is the exact one you were created to parent and you have what it takes.
Now, as I think about the future I take comfort in the thought that one day when I am old and grey, Justyce will be my greatest advocate and I relish in how much joy I will have in watching her take the world by the ear to tell it to “look at her” as her determination and drive helps her make a mark on it, just like she did on me.