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The Lessons Our Children (“Big Souls on Little Legs”) Teach Us

I first heard the expression “Big Souls on Little Legs” at a Love and Logic workshop presented by Barry Ebert, a wise and warm-hearted youth pastor at Mile Hi Church. This phrase captured what helped me survive and later thrive during  my parenting experience beginning with a c-section at 37 weeks. In order to heal from my son’s birth experience, which was the opposite of what I had planned, I wrote my first blog, “Eli’s Serendipitous Birth”. I decided to continue writing about the gifts I received from even the most challenging parts of parenting and the lessons my son was already teaching me from birth to age 5.

Eli’s Serendipitous Birth & Lessons Learned~

1. Experience is the best teacher
2. The Universe sometimes or possibly always knows exactly what we need.
3. It is still your birth experience and you can make it as meaningful as you would like to. I was able to find power and beauty even in a c-section birth.
4. In the end, all that mattered to me was having a healthy baby and surviving surgery.
5. (Most indelible lesson) Having 5 days to transition to motherhood in a hospital with around the clock nurses to support me was EXACTLY what I needed (since I had little baby experience). I am forever grateful for the nurse’s exceptional care and will always remember their question before they left my room. “Is there anything else I can do for you right now?”

Baby Eli’s 1st Year Gifts & Lessons Learned~ (brief list below b/c there were so many lessons!)

1. Be grateful for the little things! (a walk around the cul de sac versus a 14er hike 🙂
2. Understand the phrase “this too shall pass” (“we will get sleep again!”) & admire stay at home parents! I realize now how easy working outside the home is!
3. Let go of unimportant things b/c parents cannot do it all (especially when they have to hold a baby)
4. I am more than all of the things that defined me prior to becoming a mother & I am enough.
5. Loving a child is more powerful than any other kind of LOVE & my marriage got stronger

1 Year Old Gifts & Lessons Learned~

1. Life is even more of an adventure when you see it through a child’s eyes, constantly experiencing firsts!
2. Sleep is possible! (now that he’s off of cow’s milk formula b/c he was likely lactose intolerant & was colicky- fussy & barely slept- for a year as a result!) & it’s a good thing b/c…
3. We have more energy than we thought possible because we have to have it chasing a 1.5 yr. old boy!
4. Cleaning the house can be fun- just watch how much Eli truly enjoys “cleaning”.
5. Spending time with other parents & toddlers is fun!

2 Year Old Gifts & Lessons Learned~​

1. Children’s cuteness & silliness is the BEST!
2. It’s IMPORTANT TO SAY “NO” & be ASSERTIVE!
3. Unconditional love is natural in families
​4. Huge gratitude for reliable & excellent childcare/school
5. The 2’s can be TERRIFIC! (vs. terrible)
6. Extended family rocks! We love the babysitting help!

3 Year Old Gifts & Lessons Learned~​​

1. Unconditional LOVE & TRUST. Eli continually expresses & shares his heart with family & friends! To a friend he said, “Feel the love going from my heart to your heart!” And to his Mommy & Daddy, “When I grow up, I want to be just like you.”
2. Potty trained!
3. Asking questions is how we LEARN. “I like why”
4. Being curious and imagining “What if” scenarios can be interesting & good for our brain
5. The adorable things he says, “I make you happy when I inspire you. What does inspire mean?”

4 Year Old Gifts & Lessons Learned~​​

​1. It’s good to have a healthy dose of confidence, celebrate your accomplishments, and strive to be a superhero.
2. “How you get stronger is you don’t give up.” (Eli’s song)
3. “Just in case” is what Eli said when he put the AA Big Book and two brochures on “Enabling” and “Detachment” on my yoga mat as I was meditating  🙂
4. Although it’s harder to keep our silliness & freedom to be whoever we want to be, we’re happier when we’re authentic.
5. More adorable things he says, “What is meaning? What is purpose?” After my explanation, “Mine is to love the whole world.”

5 Year Old Gifts & Lessons Learned~

Since Eli only recently turned 5, I prefer to wait to list the most precious gifts and lessons he has taught me this year. I intend to make the most of my time with him leading up to his starting Kindergarten in the fall. I continue to keep a “favorite expression list” so I can recall all of the clever, sweet/innocent, and sometimes challenging things he says, and a journal to remember the lessons my “Big Soul on Little Legs” continues to teach me about life.

If you are a Mom or Dad struggling to find the gifts and lessons in the challenging parts of parenting: Contact Lana Isaacson, LCSW, CAC III, Certificate in Marriage & Family Therapy at 720.432.5262 or schedule your free 30 minute in office consult here