Then, one morning, we awoke to have a six year old.
Our little kindergartener, all the sudden a first grader, & then she flips a switch one midnight & all the sudden wakes up to sparkler birthday candles in a donut. An extra candle marking a beginning to a whole new sparkly year. So somehow in my head, it almost feels like a fresh two week old babe, swaddled in a pastel pink blanket with a big pink & gold headband bow snug around her perfectly round head.
& here’s the best part.
I almost feel like its my birthday, too.
Because one day you become a parent & if you’re blessed you have plenty of years with them for the sixth year to creep up on you. & if you are more blessed, like me, you park your car & walk up the driveway to meet your future four year old girl, & you both have some aquatinting to do. & for two years, you’ve tip toed in circles, trying to figure out how to be this momish figure in her life.
Because you aren’t mom & you’ll never be. & so you teeter back & forth trying to all the sudden trying to figure out all your parenting strategies, knowing when to step in, when to back off, when to just love.
So we are learning slowly, but every night we lay in bed & I want to try again. I want to be the perfect momish woman that she can confide in every other week & some. I want to say our goodbyes on the weeks end with hugs & kisses & thoughts of all the giggles & cuddles from the week before. I want to reflect on the things we’ve learned in the most perfect ways with the most appropriate discipline attached to the most important things. I want her to think of Jesus every time before she eats & every time when she’s walking to her cousins, or staring at the ceiling. I want her to think of Jesus, good & bad, knowing him as comforter, protector, & healer. Boo boos, broken cars, & hurtful words. I want her to talk to him without even thinking of it, in situations where her dad & I aren’t bending knees before her & whispering tiny prayers. I don’t want to be mom, I want to be momish. I want her to know how much my heart swells thinking of her, how much I love her silliness, how much I love her big sisterness. I want her to cuddle in my arms & feel welcome & warm & loved.
Here is the thing. I try really hard, & sometimes I don’t try enough. Sometimes I’m too rule oriented & not enough hugs oriented. Sometimes I allow my emotions to sit before me instead of prayer. I’m so imperfect. I’m learning. & mostly I’m learning how wrong my attempts have been at figuring this parenting thing out & how right a lot of people were when they were trying to tell me the right way of doing things. I’m learning you have to give in parenting. Give a lot. Love, grace, prayers, sympathy, truth. Sometimes its a matter of throwing the rules out the window for five seconds to welcome Jesus into our hearts & minds & ask him to help us make better decisions. Help us to be more kind. Help us to be better at forgiving. Help us to be fearless truth tellers.
So I’ve been doing a lot wrong with a little right. & I feel like its my birthday & I could swing in circles with my arms extended, chanting gracegracegrace because here is the start of year six & here is newness & here is a brand spanking new heart.
Jesus fill this year with your abundant blessings. Remind us when to speak & when to listen. Remind us when to hug & when to discipline. Make the things that matter most to you matter most to us, & the things that are small to you, let them fall away. Make us better listeners, better leaders, & better followers. We love you.
It’s your turn, love. Break the silence. Spill your guts.