Annabeth, you are 11 months old today! One more month and you'll have made it a full year, sweet girl. Honestly, I can't decide if it has passed slowly or quickly. One things for sure, with each passing month you are looking less like a baby and more like a little girl.
As with every month, you've knocked quite a few things off of your to-do list. You didn't get any new teeth this month but that still hasn't stopped you from chewing on and putting everything in your mouth. Everything! People make comments about teething, but I think you just like to chew on stuff. You have become even more social, believe it or not! You've learned to say "hi!" and know exactly when to say it. So, now when we go to the store, you don't scream at people. You say "hi" repeatedly until they respond. You've also learned how to say "baby," and use that word often. Sometimes it sounds just as it should and sometimes it comes out at "ay-bee" or "ah-bee." Either way, you make sure to point out other babies with great zeal. In fact, you LOVE being around babies and other children, so I think you will make a great big sister one day.
You began crawling this month, which was a huge milestone. I didn't push crawling with you because I knew what life would look like once you were completely mobile. You've been attempting to crawl for a while now, and the Sunday that you were promoted to the next class in nursery, you decided it was time to get moving. As is the case with most babies, your crawling has led to pulling up and standing. You're doing a great job, but you've taken quite a few spills and bumps to the face. It breaks my heart each time, but I know this is part of learning. I think one of the biggest challenges that comes with being a mother is knowing when to step in and hover and when to let your child learn on their own. I'm trying to find that balance, and it's not an easy one.
Another big first you had this month was getting a little stomach bug. You never ran a fever or cried about it, but you threw up twice and refused to eat for a few days. You're already tiny, so the last thing you needed to do was lose weight. I resorted to giving you Gatorade with a syringe. Needless to say, I was more than glad when you finally took a bottle and downed a few Puffs. Our bottle days are coming to an end, which is bittersweet, so the few times a day that we get to sit together and snuggle while you eat is precious time to me.
I've taken you to the doctor to get weighed and measured each month since you were born. I'm sure it's a "new mom" thing that will only happen with you since you're my first born. (Sorry other future children!) Anyway, I know that you grow each month, but I like to see the numbers. This month wasn't much of a difference from last month due to your increased activity and tummy bug. As we were sitting in the waiting room, you did your usual scan to try and make eye contact with someone. Your "hi" tactic wasn't working that well, so you resorted to Plan B. Plan B consists of you laughing uncontrollably in someone's direction with the hopes they'll reciprocate. Unfortunately, the group you were working on wasn't picking up your signals. You tried, gave it a rest, tried a few more times, and I wanted to say, "Hello people? Do you not see that she is trying to get your attention? Smile at her say hi!" But that would have been rude, so I just kissed your forehead, fed you Puffs, and told you how sweet and cute you are. I'm sure they were thinking it even though they didn't say it.
But the truth is, Annebeth, that no matter how hard you try or how much you hope, not everyone is going to like you and you can't please everyone. That's hard for me to believe because you're as precious as they come, but that's just the way it is. Take it from a woman who spent many years of her life worrying about whether or not people liked her. It's taken me a long time to learn this, but I have finally come to accept it, and with that came peace. From as early as I can remember, I've been a people pleaser. I've wanted people to like me, to think highly of me, and to accept me. I spent more time crying and stressing about the few people who didn't, and I don't want you to do the same. Because sometimes people just don't click. It may be a personality clash. Maybe one person rubs the other the wrong way. It might be rooted in jealousy or envy. Maybe one unknowingly offended the other and a grudge is being held. It might be an issue they have that has absolutely nothing to do with you. Or maybe it's the fact that you're assuming things about each other rather than actually getting to know one another. There are a million and one reasons why you can't please everyone and make them like you, but the goal isn't to do that.
As followers of Christ, we have to look at our lives through the lens of His word. In Galatians 1, Paul says, "Am I trying to win the approval of human beings or God? Or am I trying to please people?" Trust me, it's tempting to do the latter. But at the end of the day, the only one we need to be concerned with is God. He knows your heart. He's not making any assumptions about you. He created you, He has a plan for you, and when you set your heart towards pleasing Him, the pressure is off. You don't have to be accepted by everyone because you know you're dearly loved. You don't have to search for approval because you're confident in who you are in Christ. And although it is quite impossible to please everyone, that doesn't mean you can't kill them with kindness, offer forgiveness, and allow God to teach you and use you through the challenge that comes from the joy and complexity of human relationships.
Sweet girl, it is my prayer that you come to know the love of Christ early in your life. That you understand whose you are. That you rest in the confidence that comes from the certainty of knowing that you are secure in the hand of God and covered by the blood of Jesus. And although you can't make everyone love you or like you, you know Momma is always in your corner. Cheering you on, loving you like crazy, and reminding you that no matter what you face, our God will never stop loving you!