I’ve birthed seven babies, anticipated each of them, loved each of them before they took their first breath, grieved for one who never got to take that first breath, and delighted in every milestone along the way.
No matter how many babies you carry, how many you adopt, or how many sweet ones you love but never see, the thing that still catches me by surprise every single time, is how different they are.
Beautifully different, crazily unique, insanely their own.
Similar, of course, but undeniably unique.
From the boy who licks ice cream off the concrete floor to the other boy who screams and strips off his shirt if water drips on it.
We have a princess who smirks when she gets in trouble and a girl who apologizes with broken-hearted tears at the thought of hurting someone’s feelings.
We have a daughter who never gets sick and a son who started life with a double ear infection and a respiratory virus.
One child pushes every limit and one jumps at every chance to snuggle.
They frustrate us as parents at 100 points along the way, but they make us giggle inside twice as much, and then melt our hearts to the moon and back. Persistent backtalk makes us feel like slamming our heads against the wall, but then the same kid will turn around a few minutes later and genuinely apologize or do something incredibly kind to a sibling.
Different. Beautiful. Heart-Skips-A-Beat-Precious.
Each sweet life, in their own special way, reminds us how distinct we all are.
Each of them have a gift to bring to the world, to our family, and to our hearts. As parents, it’s our incredible challenge to help them discover their unique gift and teach them to use it love those around them the way we keep loving them, even when it gets tough.
Stick with it, Mama.
Keep it up, Daddy.
Your investment in their diversity will change the world!
This post was originally written for and published by TODAY’s parenting community