Follow-up #1 to this post: When I said that I'd had "prayers for wisdom and growth very clearly answered", I wasn't making the big announcement that I had finally arrived at Solomon's epic level of wise understanding. Rather the opposite, in fact... What I've experienced in my Christian walk is that when you ask God for wisdom and growth, you will be astounded at what He shows you to make you see the depths and depths of things you haven't even begun to plumb in understanding, and the multitudes of areas in your life that need severe pruning and weeding so you can grow in those areas. What I was saying is that, in fact, God had very clearly showed me these things and was -- and is -- very much in the process of wising me up and growing me up. Amen.
Follow-up #2, to this post: Let me preface by saying that I love Anne Lamott. I read Bird by Bird in college but holy cow, the difference in perspective when you read her as an adult. I'm probably going to go back and read her other work to see what else I can glean from this side of Grown-Up Land. In any case, sometimes she so acutely captures my own thoughts on something that I've begun to think of her as a voice in my head. For example, on page 164 of Bird by Bird, she says: "I have girlfriends who had their babies through natural childbirth -- no drugs, no spinal, no nothing -- and they secretly think they had a more honest birth experience, but I think the epidural is right up there with the most important breakthroughs in the West, like the Salk polio vaccine and salad bars in supermarkets. It's an individual thing. What works for me may not work for you."
I would personally put the epidural up there with drive-thru's, deodorant, coffeemakers...you know, anything that makes your life easier and you can't imagine living without. But her point is, of course, that you are entitled to your experience. You are entitled to doing things the way that you want to do them (short of hurting others, obviously). Nobody should get to take that away from you -- don't let them even try. And that was my whole point with my post in defense of soothing vs. crying-it-out nighttime parenting. I have read so much in defense of crying-it-out that it really put a bee in my bonnet that I wasn't reading about the alternatives, one of which I heartily recommend and stand by with fervor. But on the same token, if you are a staunch advocate of crying-it-out nighttime parenting, I would not take that away from you for the world. Just don't tell me your way is "right" and I won't tell you that my way is "right," either. Children are so different. Parents are so different. Of course there would be a myriad of styles and solutions that work well.
I have to thank my husband for that final thought. And I have to thank Anne Lamott for articulating my own massive jumble of thoughts so well. (Anne, if you're reading, I'd love to get together. Coffee on the California coast work for you?)