When the Toppings Came Off

Today I took my sweet oldest daughter, youngest son, and baby daughter for a treat – we got special snow cones on the way home. These snow cones are like, the best ever. So I’ve been finding excuses to take the little kids while the big kids are at different activities.

Today, my daughter wanted “Ana” flavored snow, and she said it should be pink and red. The kind woman helping us obliged and got R her snow cone. While eating her first few bites, R was twirling about and telling two other little girls about the “Ana” flavored treat. The twirling ended in disappointment when her toppings came off – a cheesecake cube and strawberry slice. Splat!

Often, this is where we cue the crazy mom, who is embarrassed by the mess, and frantically trying to clean it up, all while chastising the once twirling girl. But not today. This other woman showed up, one who grabbed napkins and said, calmly, “See how easy this is to clean up? Let’s not leave our mess behind.” This other, more mature, woman – who surprised me because I don’t channel her often enough, knew that messes can be cleaned up. But broken hearts hurt for a while. She knew that the disappointment of losing toppings is enough to stop most any girl from twirling with her treat again. She knew this was one of those BIG moments – where she could either be there for her daughter and help her daughter solve the problem, or she could push her daughter away and burn a bridge, forever losing a piece of connection.

The messes clean up, Moms. The broken things can be repaired, replaced, or are often forgotten. But tender hearts hurt for a long time when someone we love is unkind, condemning, and mean. Today, I want to make an effort to pave the way for this more mature momma to show up, for her to take the lead, for her to love on kids that make mistakes, and help them solve problems, rather than making them feel like they are a problem.

I drop, break, spill, and otherwise damage things. Sometimes it’s carelessness, oversight, or truly just an accident, but regardless, I clean up the mess, make amends, and go on about my business. I want to help my kids clean up messes they make or messes they see, and go on – not being stuck there feeling like they are the mess.

Until next time,
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A Prayer to Share:

Dear God,
Please cover my mouth, open my ears, and help me see the hearts I’m leading the way You see them. Help me guide them with grace, patience, and gentle lessons. Help me to connect before I correct. Help me show them they can trust me when the toppings come off, when the messes are made, when things are broken. Thank You for giving me these precious little people to lead and teach.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

May You Soar, My Child

My sweet 4-year-old daughter, Miss R, climbed out of an afternoon bath and started drying off. I was about to leave the bathroom, as her clothes were already on the counter, when she said, “No Mommy. I can’t do it.”

Now, this puzzled me. Miss R is fierce and independent. She can do anything, by herself, without me. Her 4th birthday declaration was that she was a big enough girl to do barn chores alone. She dresses herself every day. So why, all of a sudden, couldn’t she do it?

I sat down on the edge of the tub, ready to help her get dressed. I did protest once that no, she could dress herself, and she said she couldn’t. As soon as I sat down, she turned her back to me and dressed herself, with ease. She didn’t ask which way the panties go, or which way to put the dress on. She didn’t ask me to fix her socks (and goodness she is picky about how she wears them). She just dressed herself.

I watched in silence. I’m always evaluating my parenting choices, the direction I thought past choices were taking me vs. where I am, and what choices I can make better. In this little afternoon moment, my heart swelled. I hope my kids always know they are capable. I hope and pray they embrace adulthood, take it head on, and tackle the road ahead. I pray they hear the Spirit’s prompting and are fully dependent on God. But I don’t ever hope they rely on me, maybe because I’m afraid I’ll let them down (which, fact of life or not, makes me sad).

In this little afternoon moment, I was humbled. She felt more able just because I was there. She didn’t need me to do anything for her. She just needed me to be with her. I have a new prayer. I pray my kids always feel more sure of themselves and more capable for having been in my presence. Not because I did anything, or even because I had any advice or answers, just simply because as their mom I am a comfort and a calm and I am empowering to them. I pray that God renews my strength for these small moments, that He keeps me patient, helps me be available, and helps me show, through many small actions, that I will always be there to support, love, and pick my kids up when they need it. But by the grace of God Himself, I pray I am always wise enough to hang back, to let them do it, to give them room to try, to make a mistake, to succeed, to soar. (Another post for another day, I also pray that I don’t lose my identity in wanting them to need me, either.)

It’s funny how writing these things down and putting my thoughts on paper (screen?) broadens my perspective. Instead of fear that I’ll let them down, I’ll add to that prayer that God equips them to overcome disappointments and let downs that come from something I’ve done or said (or not done, or not said). I pray that God will overcome my fear with His perfect love, and I praise Him over and over for picking me to be their mom. I don’t deserve this life He’s given me, or these people He’s loaned to me, but I am grateful to have each of them. Our God gives good, good gifts.

To The Mom of a Daughter with Hair

I am sorry. I used to think horrible things about your daughter’s hair, or your keeping of her hair, honestly. Things like, “Is it that hard to run a brush through her hair?”

Things like, “Is it that hard to wash her hair every day?”

I couldn’t stand seeing little girls with ratty, messy, dirty, unkempt hair. It just really annoyed me. Prior to the birth of my daughter, I had only boys. In our blended family, there are 4 boys before the girl happened. Boy hair is easy–and if you’re in public and a boy gets food in his short hair (and mine always have short hair) you just rub a wipe in/over/around the spot and clean it up.

Well, I am sorry to you. I am sorry for thinking I was perfect or had my act together or could keep a girl’s hair managed. I didn’t expect fancy hair, I swear! Mine is always clean and put up. Not fancy. But still, I’m not making excuses here. I shouldn’t have judged, and I did.

I carry a hairbrush with me. I wash my daughter’s hair daily. And length doesn’t seem to matter, although the longer it gets, the less a wipe can clean stuff out of it. Even toting a hair brush and using water at every sink in town doesn’t get me in and out of anywhere with her hair looking managed!!

In fact, I’ve started wondering if people who have 2 year old daughter’s with managed hair haven’t stuck a wig on their kid’s head, or maybe even tied her hands up while in the car, while eating, while doing anything, really.

I am the mom with the daughter whose ponytail is crooked, whose hair is a mixture of crunchy, crumbly, dusty, and wet/sticky. And if I brush it on my way out the door, it never looks like when we arrive somewhere. And if I brush it when I pull her out of the truck, it looks frayed, frazzled, and poofy.

Why is 2 year old girl hair so hard to manage? It’s impossible, I swear!!!

(Forget bows, headbands, barrettes, flowers, etc!)

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See that hair? It had a clip in it like 3 min before this photo!