Selah didn’t crawl until she was 14 months old. She finally took her first steps two months later. For the first year of her life she just explored the space around her. She had no desire to lay on her belly to try to reach for something. She would play with one toy for hours at a time. She was always happy, content. When I think about baby Selah, I see a little squishy smile and hear a belly laugh. She was dreamy.
But I was on a mad mission to get her walking. Granted, she was one and only sat. She didn’t roll or reach or scoot. She was happy where she was, and at that point she needed physical therapy. We spent many hours working through our tears and I remember the first time she crawled. She tried to get some puffs we put across the floor, and I cried and felt a rush of relief.
It bothered me so much that she fell below the norm. All of the other babies her age had been walking for quite some time and she couldn’t even crawl. It broke my heart for her. I felt as though she was missing out on something.
She wasn’t missing out on anything.
All of those extra days I got to cuddle her and carry her, I spent them wishing she could crawl or walk. When, looking back, I had then, what I wish for now. She’s two and a half, busy giving her stuffed animals and our family members check ups. She runs around our house building castles like Elsa and jumps on the furniture much more than I like.
She started crawling when she was ready. When she was able. She started walking at her pace, at a time that was right for her. And she didn’t miss out on anything. Honestly, because she lacked skills in gross motor, she gained so much language during that time and still excels in speech. Well beyond “the norm.”
I’ve always had a problem with being normal. It’s honestly one of my biggest fears. What is normal anyway? I don’t even know. But I know there is this push for us moms, for our kids to fit this normal mold. They should dress this way, behave this way, respond this way, do this thing, achieve this by this certain time. There is pressure for us to push them to normal, whatever that is.
While “the norm” helped us identify Selah’s low tone, and eventually led to us giving her resources to help her succeed, often times “the norm” defines our ideas of what is best for our children. When really “the norm” is the last thing we should be concerned with in regards to parenting.
God has made each of our children uniquely gifted for a certain Kingdom purpose. Maybe we aren’t resisting the norm in shepherding little hearts, because this is an area in which we need shepherding. Maybe we have forgotten this for ourselves.
Hear me, mama. God has created you with a unique gift set that doesn’t look like the mama beside you. Your contribution to the Kingdom is something no one else can give. We need each other to stop looking to the left and to the right, but forward to the destiny God has purposed for us. Because that purpose, is something only you can fulfill.
When we begin believing the truth of our identity and inheritance, we are able to live in our Kingdom destiny. Once our hearts wrap around this truth, we can parent in freedom. We have the privilege to nurture and cultivate little hearts to resist the norm and grow in the uniqueness in which God has created them.
During these toddler years, it looks like singing and dancing and princesses and paint. But right now, during these years, I am laying a foundation. One that is sure and steady, built firm in Truth. So that one day, when the norm starts calling her name, she’ll hear a voice that is so much sweeter, so much louder.
His voice will be the one that defines her.
Photos by Rachel Ackerman Photography