Occasionally I get those comments, the “you-need-to-put-your-baby-down-you’re-spoiling-her” kind. Sometimes they are subtle, sometimes they aren’t. Its a pretty funny concept to me, thinking that I’m going to spoil my (almost) 5 month old baby by meeting her needs. No matter how many studies come out showing that babies need to be fed, changed, and have skin-to-skin contact frequently to thrive, the notion that we need to put the baby down and do our own thing (keep a perfect house, become a jiu jitsu black belt, conquer the world, etc.) continues to permeate our culture.

I’m not talking about trying to keep your child from growing up–certainly there is a time to let go of babyhood and celebrate your toddler. Neither am I advocating ignoring your other children or your obligations (those things still demand my attention often throughout the day). But while your baby is still a baby, hold him. Play with his little fingers and toes. Soak in those sweet smiles and giggles. Laugh at the unruly hair or bald head. This phase of life is short, there won’t be a re-do.

Last night Toby, James, Claire and I went Christmas caroling at a nursing home with 16 others from church and the international bible study. In the last room where we sang, we met a lady named Mary. Her eyes were closed, but the minute she heard Claire get a bit fussy she cooed, “It’s ok baby. You need to go to sleep. Come over here and I will hold you. I can rock you to sleep. It’s ok baby, you’re a gift from God.” I went over to Mary and touched her shoulder. She told me that she loves babies and had four of her own. “I miss’em so much.”

Someday, if the Lord allows me to live that long, I may be lying in a nursing home. I can’t imagine that I’ll be thinking, I spent too much time holding my babies. So I’m holding Miss Claire as much as I can today. Telling her she’s a precious gift from God all the while.