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Capturing the context of contentment. Every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

Sister Stinky and I took advantage of the beautiful weather and went to a county park that houses a number of farm animals! Sister Stinky loves animals (or, more accurately, loves PICTURES of animals) so we had a lot of fun.

She's entering the world of toddlerhood. She still holds on to Mommy or Daddy's hand, but it's less out of necessity and more for reassurance. This little one takes her time building up confidence, but once she has it...there's no stopping her!

Toddlerhood is a funny stage, isn't it? Half babies and half children...and something else all together!

(Sister Stinky LOVES slides!)

One of the marks of toddlerhood is this strange new desire for independence. I suppose that babies have that desire in some way, but not anywhere near as much as toddlers. They want to have adventures! They want to try things that make your heart stop beating! They keep their parents going, going, going! Thankfully (and surprisingly) Sister Stinky is a total mama's girl and it is pretty difficult to get her to completely leave my side. Still, if I am within eyesight or earshot she is perfectly comfortable with trying all sorts of new things. 

This, of course, is a joyful thing to see as a parent. It makes me very HAPPY to see her growing from a tiny baby to a little girl. It is so much fun to see her personality get stronger, and her ability to communicate improve. It brings me so much joy.

But it is also one of the first big "letting go" moments for me as a mother...letting her "not need me," even when I still sometimes wish she was still a babe in arms.

(This horse was HUGE! Sister Stinky kept crawling into my arms because he made her so nervous!)

Of course, even though the letting go is difficult, it makes the "coming back" so much more meaningful. When Sister Stinky was a newborn I used to joke with the Abbot that I was pretty sure she didn't like me because she never reciprocated any affection. (This improved somewhat when she revealed that lovely smile of hers for the first time.) The exact opposite is true these days - she is bubbling over with affection and is quick to give the Abbot kisses and her mommy lots of hugs. These hugs and kisses mean so much because they are so intentional. Sister Stinky knows how happy we are when she hugs and kisses us, and she wants to make us happy!

(She has some older toddler friends who like the rock climbing walls at the park. Can you tell?)

We can learn a lot about ourselves from toddlers! Most of us are much like toddlers in relation to God. God is always watching us, lovingly within eyesight and earshot. Yet, like toddlers, we are convinced that we are perfectly capable of "doing it by ourselves." Anyone who's ever actually known a toddler knows that there are very few things a toddler can do completely independently. Yes, as a huge fan of Montessori thought, I'll concede that toddlers can do quite a bit...but they can only do what they do with the assistance of a parent! Can they self feed or even prepare their own snack (in the case of older toddlers)? Definitely! Can they go to the grocery store and purchase the food themselves, then return home and decide the correct organizational system necessary to ensure that each food item will be in an accessible and logical location? Certainly not! So yes, toddlers can do things...but only with our help. They can make decisions...but only when we allow them to. They can enjoy their day and be convinced that they were able to do exactly what they wanted...without knowing that we were behind the scenes, silently orchestrating things so that everything fell in to place.

Do you see where I'm going with this? This is what our relation to God is like. Like toddlers, we are absolutely convinced that we can do whatever we put our mind to. But also like toddlers, we typically need help doing what we do, and yet God is a loving parent who quiet helps us to do what we must do. We are convinced that we know the best course of action, but God is the loving parent who actually has the whole day figured out - including meal times and nap times! - in order to ensure that we have all we need and everything gets done that needs to be done.

This isn't to say that we are mere puppets and we only think we are capable of doing things. No! Rather, it is more like the relationship between a parent and a toddler. The parent wants the toddler to be able to do things, and is happy when that little one is capable of something new. The toddler is genuinely capable of doing a number of things...but always with the parent's help! Yet, the parent wants the toddler's help and truly benefits (at least on occasion and most certainly in the long term) from the help the toddler gives. 

Yet, the toddler isn't restricted by this; the toddler is truly free! The toddler can blossom and grow under the loving care of his or her parents.

As we celebrate Laetare Sunday this weekend, let's take time to remind ourselves of our total reliance on God - and also of His absolute love for us. As we complete our Lenten journey let us, like our toddler friends, be open to the guidance and assistance that God gives us on a daily basis.


  1. Great reflections on God for Lent - as He sees us as children, so should we ask for a childlike faith.

    My own toddler is getting to the affectionate stage. I'm a huge breastfeeding advocate, but I have to confess that when she weaned, it was a little nice to know she wanted me for me and not for food, lol.

    -Gwenny @ countrycatholiccitycatholic.blogspot.com

  2. I need to think about this myself. Thank you!

  3. Thanks for joining! Your little girl is adorable!


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