Mrs. Mom: All You Need Is Love

My baby boy is turning 18 months old...Like this teeny tiny little baby boy...

*tear*   *tear*   *tear*  I just cannot come to grips with the fact that my 7 pound 10 ounce newborn has grown 18 months worth in the blink of an eye.  He can do so much more these days...

He can identify 3 letters {A, B, and C}
He knows 9 letter sounds {a, b, c, f, h, m, p, s, and t}.
He can identify the numbers 0 and 1 and inconsistently identify some others.
He can identify at least 8 shapes consistently.
He can sort by color.
He can identify most of the colors of the rainbow.
He can sort our silverware, help empty the dishwasher, put his clothes in his hamper, and move laundry to the dryer {yay for Mommy!}
He can brush his teeth with help.
He can say hi, bye-bye, mama, and daddy clearly and will attempt to say almost anything else.
He can greet people by saying, "Hi" or shaking hands or giving a high five.
He can give neck squeezies {Melts.My.Heart.}

And he is more independent...
He is still signing a LOT, but is trying to use his words with his signs. He doesn't need me to model the signs anymore.
He can follow 2-step directions now.  He doesn't need me to do it for him.
He still takes two long naps during the day and sleeps 11-12 hours at night. And he doesn't need me to rock him to sleep.
He can use a fork mostly on his own. He doesn't need me to feed him.
He can {and strangely enjoys} cleaning up after himself and others.  He especially loves throwing away trash.  He doesn't need me to clean up all of his mess.
He can go down the big, curvy slide on his own.  He doesn't need me to slide with him on this one.

I think this milestone has been harder on me than when he turned a year. 18 months means he's smack dab in the middle of toddlerhood.  It means I probably need to stop saying his age in months.  It means he is more independent now.  And that means he needs me less... or does he?

These thoughts have been swirling around inside of my head for a few weeks now.

As a teacher, I'm constantly thinking about what Cooper needs.  He needs to learn to use his words instead of whining.  He needs to learn to share with others.  He needs to learn to pick up after himself.  He needs to be challenged.  He needs to learn to love others.  He needs to run outside and play.  He needs to learn to give up that paci!

And as a mother, I enjoy being needed.  I need my son to need me.  And in so many ways he doesn't anymore.  Like so many other moms, I'm constantly trying to figure out how to be the best mommy I can be to Cooper.  How to give him what he needs without taking away his independence or making him feel like what he is doing independently isn't good enough.

A month or so ago, my mom was telling me about an email that my dad {who is a superintendent for Conway Schools in Arkansas} sent to his teachers on Valentine's Day.  It was about the Beatles' hit All You Need Is Love.  We had a short and sweet conversation about his note and then I forgot all about it.  Until I was thinking about Cooper and how his needs are changing daily.  Then, I was reminded of the simple lyrics from the Beatles... Sing it with me!  "...all you need is love. All you need is love.  All you need is love, love, love is all you need..."

No matter what stage of life Cooper is in: newborn, 18 months, or 18 years: LOVE is all he needs.  It's all any of us really need.

In fact, those simple lyrics may legally belong to the Beatles, but they convey a truth that is written all over the Bible.

"If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing..."  {1 Corinthians 13:1-3}

And in my Bible it continues, "If I teach my son of all his abc's and 123's, but don't teach him love?..."  {okay, maybe not.  But it should!}  All of these earthly things are great, but it's nothing without is all we need.  It's all other people need from us.  So what does the love chapter say love is?

As a newborn, Cooper needed me.  As an 18 month old, Cooper needs me.  And as an 18 year old, Cooper will still need me.  He has needed me in different ways and that will continue to change.  But one thing he will always need from me is my love.  I pray daily that I can give him a love that is grounded in biblical truths.  I pray daily that I can teach him how to love others in a way that is God-approved {Remember....he is learning from me...}  I pray daily that he will see God's love for him through my love that I give him each day.  After all, God gave us the best example for sacrificial love...

So, I could stress over what foods to feed my baby boy.  I could stress over what clothes he should or should not wear.  I could stress over the amount of sleep he gets each day.  I could stress over whether he is going to catch the latest sickness going around.  I could stress over the amount of time I'm able to spend with him each day...and trust me! I've thought plenty about some of these seemingly small things!  But, when I take a step back and see things from my Savior's perspective I realize:  All he needs is love.  My love. Love from his family.  Love from his friends.  Love from his Heavenly Father.  All of the rest is just a "clanging cymbal."

So, happy 18 months, my sweet baby Cooper!  I hope that when you look back over all the memories we've made together that you can truly say that the greatest gift Mommy gave you was her unconditional love.

"13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love." {1 Corinthians 13:13}

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