Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hardwired at Conception

As the fastest eater at our table, Emerson usually cleans his plate and then starts fishing for whatever is left on mine. Our of sheer self preservation, I usually let him get down from the table early and tell him to "go play" or "be happy," my way of hinting that crying is not the appropriate response to being taken away from the food.

Lately, as soon as his feet touch the floor, he toddles immediately over to Wyatt's chair and pulls up, eyes peering over the table's edge as he searches for some unfinished morsels to steal. And Emerson has turned into a stealthy little thief, netting one freshly baked Easter cookie and one unfinished peanut butter sandwich this past Monday alone.

But one night last week, he tried a different tactic, crossing behind my chair to stand beneath Amelia who had only a few beans left on her plate. She looked down at him, but he didn't say anything. Then, grasping one bean between her fingers, she leaned over and placed it in his mouth just like a mama bird.

She turned into a little mother again this past Wednesday. Emerson was having an all-out meltdown because supper wasn't heating up fast enough for him. As I fussed at him for the tenth time to hush and wait, he slumped to the floor in the front of the refrigerator and started to just bawl. After watching him for a few seconds, Amelia walked across the room, sat down with her back to the fridge, too, and put her hand on his shoulder. She said something, and he stopped crying. Mommy magic.

Sixteen months old, raised in a household with two rambunctious boys, trains, tractors, dinosaurs, Clifford, Franklin, and Pooh bear books...and yet she's already exhibiting the characteristics of a mother, characteristics I see and feel in myself.

I agree that men and women are socially conditioned to fulfill certain roles. But the more I watch my children develop, the more I am seeing God-given differences between girls and boys--differences that society isn't stamping on them but that God interwove with care into their DNA at conception.

Knowing that, it makes me feel special that God made me a woman. It is empowering to know that the protectiveness and compassion I feel for not only my children but for others, too--those characteristics are a part of me by the Father's design.

I think the feminist movement has for too long attempted to blur the line between man and woman. Where they promised female empowerment, what actually has happened is a sense of loss as we women have pushed away and downplayed parts of ourselves that society would consider too stereotypically "female."

But God made me a woman. He designed me to be a woman, to act like a woman, to think like a woman...not to live a life where I pretend I'm not a woman but am "just another one of the guys" working up the corporate ladder. What's more empowering than that?

I listened just today to one pregnant young woman get berated over the phone by her boyfriend for spending $7 to feed the two sick children with her some lunch. Then, he hung up on her.

It hurt my heart. I wanted to tell her God designed her as a beautiful creation worth more than rubies, that she deserved to be treated as a precious creation.

God. Designed. Her. What master craftsman could do better?

But I didn't say anything--didn't quite know how to butt into a conversation I couldn't help but eavesdrop on as I stood in line.

Tonight, I wish I would have said something.


  1. Jennifer, your kids are surely providing inspiration for you! I remember my own daugher, being motherly at a young age. And now my grandaughter is doing the same thing.

    Just this past Christmas, her brother Wyatt was asking if he could have a toy out of the store catalog, and his sister Faith quickly replied with a very definitive "Sure Wyatt!"

    Lord, I love it. I love the boys/guys with the toy fascination, and the girls/women with the grown up wishes.

    Isn't God grand?

  2. Jennifer,
    This post is great. I couldn't agree with you more!

  3. Oh how you're speaking my heart!

    Oh that young girls would see that it's okay to delicate at times. It's okay that we are indeed the weaker vessels.

    Yet vessels full of strength and might when He works through us. When we are the women He called us to be.

    How precious that Amelia would instincively nurture her little twin! I love this post more than I could possibly express!

    It just makes me want to scream, YES! THIS is how God designed you!

    Even if you one day slip up and forget to feed your little one. *Wink*

  4. Another heartwarming post, Jennifer. I just love the way Amelia has found her way into her twin brother's heart. You just know they will be the best of friends...each unique, and different, and yet you know that some parts of them are wired in the same way. They understand each other!

    And that pregnant woman you wrote about -- how my heart broke. How I wish you had said something to her, something to comfort her, and to affirm her.

    Thank you so much for this post!