First steps, first words, first birthdays and my first experience taking care of babies have all been a part of my life this last year and a half. While I have no kids of my own, the photo album on my phone is loaded with baby pictures, I get sentimental about big milestones like turning one and I'm a mess if they take steps or do sign language. I have invested in many, of all ages, but working with a class of one-year-olds has taught me more than I ever imagined.
I find it ironic that God humbled me to the perspective of His littlest creations to teach me about the majestic greatness of life. These small and wonderful bundles of joy can develop quite the personalities by the time they turn one. Babies think all of life is about them and that you are there specifically for them alone. Most of them do not like to share and they want, what they want, right away. They laugh about things they do not understand. They get their feelings hurt if you get on to them. They want to eat, anything and everything, all the time.
These one-year-olds want your love and they want their independence at the same time. They love going somewhere different like outside or just cruising in the wagons. They're happier when they are fed and well rested and on a schedule. They just want to play and know you are close by in case they need you. And every once in a while, they just want to sit in your lap and be with you.
They can have the best day and the worst day all wrapped up into one single moment. Everything is the end of the world and nothing really bothers them. Sometimes they drive you crazy, but at the end of the day you find yourself wrapped around their little finger.
And as I think about all that my relationship with the babies entails I think about our relationship with God. No doubt, He looks at us like I look at the one-year-olds. We laugh. We play. We don't like to share. We want independence and we want God nearby. We want to just sit in His presence some days. We cry and we drive God crazy, but still He is wrapped around our finger with unchanging love. And oh how He celebrates when we hit a milestone, when we take steps in the right direction or when we look to Him and recite something He has taught us.
I recently was offered another job and decided to take it but the decision means leaving my babies behind. I wanted to take a moment and say thank you to every little soul who has taught me about life over the past eighteen months. I look back at all I have learned and all God has used to teach me, mostly things I didn't even know I needed to be taught. I'm not there yet by any means, but I'm a few baby steps closer. I think the biggest thing these precious little kids taught me was about unconditional love. They didn't love me because I drove a certain car, dressed a certain way or had a certain status. Like Christ, they gave me their love, day in and day out, for no reason at all. Sometimes it is undeserved. All the time it is there for the taking. There is something about an innocent look, a sincere smile, a silly giggle and the unique way a baby has of grabbing a hold of your heart that looks a lot like a Savior with arms open wide.
To everybody from the littlest baby to the amazing co-workers I shared my time with—thank you! I am forever changed. I will miss you.