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.

6 Weeks Ago

6 weeks and one day ago, we were a family of 6. Then, our sweet girl arrived, making us a family of 7. Life will never be the same, but that’s a good thing, because she has improved life in so many ways.

6 weeks old has always been a “favorite” stage of mine. I’m not exactly sure why, but I think it has something to do with realizing how quickly time is passing. When my firstborn turned 7 weeks old, I cried because 6 weeks was gone. When the next turned 7 weeks old, my heart was heavy because 6 weeks was gone.

Today starts 6 weeks, and I am marveling at this little girl. I am torn between the fact that she’s only been here for 6 weeks, and feeling like she has forever been apart of us. She doesn’t have that newborn look anymore, she stays awake quite a bit, and still needs lots of cuddle time.

We have as much of a routine as I ever get going. We can concur school, most of the major housework (there are always a few cobwebs that get missed…), and even run errands. The boys are all used to her, and have their own ways of helping with her, or the house.

Time is fleeting though. She is changing every day, and she brings to life the reality of how big all of these boys are. I will embrace this week, as I hope I’ve done well with the ones past, and will do with the future weeks. I will try to not be weepy next Monday, when I realize this week is over.

I will wear this sweet girl in our sling as long as she’ll let me. Because the truth is, for as much as she needs me and cries for me, I need her too. She was my go-everywhere-buddy for 9 months. Adjusting to not having her growing and kicking on the inside takes a little while, just like she has to adjust to being outside, too.

Maybe, one of these days, I’ll finish her birth story too. It truly is beautiful and I think about her grand entrance into our lives quite often.

What is happening in your life that makes you realize how quickly time passes? Are you taking these moments for granted or embracing them?