She is bold and unafraid to feel what she feels.
I have to ask her repeatedly throughout the day, “Punkin, is this an emergency?” To which she almost always replies, “…No…”
She says things to her Sunday School teacher like, “Sometimes tears fall from my eyes and I don’t know why.”
When her little sister gets hurt, she cries along with her – usually long after the little one has forgotten the hurt.
My oldest girl – she is compassionate, dramatic, and kind. And sometimes that is exhausting.
She is five, and I am learning so much from her, though. I am learning about myself – how to feel that hard and that long for others. I’ve always been a little rougher around the edges – a little more, “Oh please – get over it.” But also, the childhood her is reminding me of the childhood me – the one who had not yet learned to filter the difference between an emergency and a marker without a lid.
This parenting thing is tricky, tricky business. They say that it doesn’t get easier, the challenges just evolve. I didn’t completely understand that until one of mine, this passionate one, began to emerge from toddler-hood into a thinking, feeling, growing little girl.
So, I struggle to know where to toughen her up, and where to let her soften me, to know when to glaze over the missing marker cap and when to look long into her eyes as she spills out her concerns, no matter how small they are. I struggle to know how to reflect a sweet, loving relationship with Jesus that has nothing to do with performance and everything to do with intimacy.
I know I struggle because when she finds me in the wee morning hours reading His Word and journaling my heart, she wants to know why. “Why do you do that, Mommy?” I find my first response to be, “Because it helps me be a better mommy.” And while that’s true, it does – I wonder if I’m missing the part where I do it because I love to be with Jesus, because He is wonderful and loving and cares deeply for all of my concerns – missing marker caps and all. I wonder if I have missed out on His tenderness all this time because I’ve been focusing so hard on letting Him make me better.
There is a balance, I know. Life is not an emergency. But also, the way God has hard-wired her – so full of passion and emotion and expression – that is not a thing to be tucked away or discouraged. To see each of my girls for exactly who she is and care for those special qualities without squashing them, it’s a new adventure for me, and I am terrified that I’m getting it all wrong. Terrified. I’m also grateful for the lessons I am learning through her, for the way she is opening my eyes to what could be with Jesus, what I longed for when I was five, what I can still have and model for her now that I’m thirty.
Because a marker without a lid is not an emergency, but it’s okay if, at first, it feels very much like one to me.
What is God teaching you through your girl?