Announcements, Challenges, Love, Time

We had a baby! What we’re learning about marriage in the first week of being parents

We’ve been pretty quiet on the blog lately, and for good reason. We had a little girl on December 1st!

I wanted to take some time and share explicitly with you (because we love our FM community), and to process through a few things we’re already learning about what it means to be married and parents simultaneously.

Many of our readers have been parents for years, so my revelations will seem rudimentary at best… so please feel free to weigh in via the comments below, we’re taking all the advice we can get!

The quick skinny

Selena’s mom was visiting for Thanksgiving. We had an incredible time, filled with food, memories, and quality time together. All in all it was a pretty uneventful Thanksgiving, just the three of us and a small but complete traditional dinner.

On Saturday morning Selena and her mom went for a semi-routine walk around the block (3 miles). Selena, though 39 weeks pregnant, didn’t think much of the exercise – it’s a walk she’s done dozens of times. I stayed home and did a little work.

That evening, I drove Selena’s mom to the airport (an hour away) and came straight home. I got home around 9pm and we watched our latest Netflix kick and started heading to bed around 11pm. I was browsing some feeds on my phone quickly before turning in when Selena sheepishly approached me, “I don’t want you to freak out, but I think my water broke.”…. WHAT??

As it turned out, she was right! Her earlier 3 mile walk had apparently had some “side-effects”. We headed to the hospital and 11 hours later, Adelaide Grace Rae was born! Here’s a Facebook post with some details and a pic!

In case you missed it in the post above, here’s the meaning behind her name:

  • Adelaide: “of noble kind”, she being the heavenly daughter of the greatest King, and my earthly daughter (Ryan means “little king”), it is my primary charge as her earthly father to steward her heart into the arms of Jesus.
  • Grace: an undeserved, unfathomable gift from God.
  • Rae: the middle name of my mother; a brilliant, godly, loving, and selfless woman.

So what are we learning so far?

This is just to help me flesh out some of the things we’re starting to learn about child-rearing within a marriage:

1: Patience x 1000

There is nothing like a new child to test the boundaries of your patience. We’re in a weird time… Adelaide is in her first week and still very docile.

She pretty much just sleeps, squeaks, and leaks.

I know this will change quickly and things will get more strenuous, so I’m hoping my patience skills grow quicker than her motor skills! Selena and I have been pretty patient with each other, until last night: we had a bit of a fight, with loud arguing and some tears.

Chalk it up to hormones, tiredness, and stress, but it just goes to show we have some growing to do! This actually leads me to my next supremely keen (sense the sarcasm there??) observation…

2: You’re going to mess up

When you’re dreaming of having a child together, you idealize everything. You want to keep things tidy, behave excellently, and teach them all the right things at the perfectly right time… you want things to be perfect.

Five days in, I’m giving up on perfect.

I’ve already had to apologize to our little girl for using words I shouldn’t have. I’ve had to make up with Selena for the same reason. I’ve also already made priority mistakes ALREADY. (sigh)

Bottom line, I know we’re not going to be perfect parents, and we’re not going to be perfect spouses – we never were. What I do know is that I will be quick to apologize and fast to forgive when mistakes happen; I also know that we serve a gracious, loving, and compassionate Savior who will walk by our sides through every dumb mistake and over every victorious mountain (or molehill-turned-mountain for that matter).

3: Just BE

Thirdly, I’ve keenly realized (again) the importance of just BEING present with my family. My favorite moments are when the TV is off, music is off, my phone is somewhere (anywhere) else, and I’m just experiencing the in-between moments with Selena and Adelaide.

I’m learning to cherish those moments dearly, and fight for them fiercely. How do I fight for them? By just letting them happen, uninhibited, and being there to experience them fully.

4: She must grow up

I don’t want Adelaide to grow up. She’s so snuggly, cute, and easy to be around! I want to be able to hold her forever, and kiss her head way too much just because she smells so good.

Yes, I don’t want her to grow up… but if I love her, I realize she must grow up.

She must become who she was created to be, which includes learning to walk, getting out of diapers, and eventually marrying a young man. As she grows, I intend to soak in each precious season, not wishing it away or wishing it to stay. I hope to simply experience each season of her development, and guide her into the arms of her ultimate Father, and her ultimate husband: Jesus.

More to come…

There are many other lessons I’m (we’re) learning as parents, but I’ll have to share them another time. Fierce Marriage will remain solely a marriage blog, but be on the lookout for those posts with lessons we learn when parenthood overlaps into married life – they’re bound to happen!

Question: For parents, what have you learned about your marriage through raising your children?

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