Before I had children, I can't tell you how many people told me that having kids would change me.  They were both right and wrong.

I have not changed in my basic convictions to try to live virtuously and by the Church's teachings.  Nor have I compromised on the morals I held before I had my kids.  If anything, I've become more resolute in them over time.  But I digress...

It's true that I have changed due to having kids.  I've 'lightened up' in my expectations of others and myself.  This isn't to say I've just given up hope (though that's a real temptation at times) or lowered the bar of my expectations of humanity (which is pure relativism, if you ask me), but I've learned how to become more resigned to reality as it is, and to not punish others or myself when life fails to be as I think it should be.  I still hold people and myself to a high standard, but I suppose that when I see how far we are from doing God's will,  I've become more of a compassionate realist, rather than a tyrannical optimist.  This has also helped me to be less judgmental of people in general, to tell them the truth in all charity as well as be less judging about how my parents raised me.  Although I was the perfect child, of course...

I've experienced God as the ultimate realist and also the most compassionate of fathers. And I believe that parents, spiritual or otherwise, are in the best position to experience what it means to unconditionally love in the same way.

Before I became a mother, I never had such a deep insight into human beings and how they desire and think and rationalize and excuse and scheme and fear and create and grow and mature...because I never had to be there at every single moment of their daily formation.  Now I'm the constant witness of every bump, scrape, triumph, smile, stink, laugh and endearing moment of my children's lives.  A bit like God.

Now, I realize that moms and dads and grandparents alike make terrible mistakes.  I, personally, am frequently reminded of my own human frailty and weakness which makes me anything but Christ-like.  However, being a mom allows me to relate, in a unique way, to the gospel where Jesus instructs His disciples on prayer,  " not babble as the pagans do...your Father knows what you need before you ask him."

As a parent of a babbling two year old, I can tell you, that even without forming proper phrases, I can actually understand most of what my son says, and I can anticipate what he wants before he 'asks' (i.e strings together as many sounds as he knows right now).  This due to the fact that I 'know' my son in a way I never knew anyone before I had kids.

And I truly believe this gives me and all parents a special insight into God as the Father who knew us before we were conceived and who understands our needs before we babble to Him in prayer. Well, maybe that's just me that blathers. I just hope that He still finds me as cute as only a parent could when I do so.

Copyright 2012 Marissa Nichols