Parenting and Hospitality // A Letter to Conrad

Dear Conrad,
Over the past six months you have brought me so much joy. I have spent hours feeding you, snuggling you, changing your diapers and rocking you to sleep in the wee hours of the morning. Even in my most tired moments I am so thankful for your life and all of the things that I am privileged to do for you. You are already changing and growing up so much. You are sitting up on your own, crawling and even starting to stand up. You are becoming more independent every day. It is so fun and exciting to see you master new skills; but it is hard to let you go to experience life a little bit on your own. 
Your Papi and I read a paper recently by Henri Nouwen, a Dutch Catholic priest, about parenting and hospitality. He writes, 
“It may sound strange to speak of the relationship between parents and children in terms of hospitality. But it belongs to the center of the Christian message that children are not properties to own and rule over, but gifts to cherish and care for. Our children are our most important guests, who enter into our home, ask for careful attention, stay for a while and then leave to follow their own way.”
Conrad, I am so blessed by your precious little life. Already you have given us so much joy and I am so proud to be your mother. There is so much more that I want to do with you and for you. There are places that I want to take you, things that I want to experience with you and accomplishments that I want to see you achieve. I am learning to hold on to you loosely and to trust God with your life. He loves you even more than your Papi and I can; and desires to have a relationship with you. 
“The temptation is, and always remains, to cling to our children, to use them for our own unfulfilled needs and to hold on to them, suggesting in many direct and indirect ways that they owe us so much. It indeed is hard to see our children leave after many years of much love and much work to bring them to maturity, but when we keep reminding ourselves that they are just guests who have their own destination, which we do not know or dictate, we might be more able to let them go in peace and with our blessing. A good host is not only able to receive his guests with honor and offer them all the care they need but also to let them go when their time to leave has come.” 
Conrad, I can’t wait to see where your ‘destination’ lies. I daydream about the things you might grow up to do and things you will be interested in; but I hope that we will be good hosts and will teach you to follow Christ and to go to him when you make any plans and decisions. I will stand by you in your struggles and your accomplishments. I hope that you love Christ and that you follow him first and foremost. I pray that we will have many more years of laughter, hugs, kisses and adventures with you. You are our most important guest!

I love you, sweet Conrad!


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