Now that I'm officially out of the fourth trimester and I have a three and a half month old, maybe I can get back in the swing of writing a little bit here and there. That's a big maybe.
Last week Blythe had a birthday party to attend. She was unbelievably excited to get to go and do gymnastics since the party was at a gym...and eat cake. Best day ever. I was looking forward to taking her, as I enjoy finding little moments here and there to do one on one things with the girls [even though she asked if Brent could take her because it was a day that started with an "S" and that meant he was home. I get it. He's more fun than me. No. I'm taking you. You will have fun. Now get in the car. ;)]
So there we were, driving down the highway. She was in her car seat, strapped in in the very back of the van. We stopped for gas and I accidentally pulled up to a pump that only had diesel. When I backed up to a regular pump this prompted questions, so we spent the next ten minutes looking for big trucks that used diesel. She talked about Nini Pat being in heaven. She asked what heaven was like. I told her she wouldn't cry in heaven, and that she wouldn't ever have to eat or drink because she wouldn't be hungry or thirsty. We talked about how heaven will be perfect because God is perfect. And she said, "I'm perfect." I quickly reminded her she isn't, and that's why we need Jesus. To which she said, "I meant I'm perfect when I pretend to be God." Oh. Got ya.
And that's when it happened. To my left a car passed. I glanced over and saw a mom with her hands on the wheel and a teenage daughter all slouchy and comfortable looking in the passenger seat.
As their car made its way around me, I looked in the review mirror at my beautiful, inquisitive little four year old. And I saw us in that car in not so many years.
And I wondered what our conversations would be about. I wondered if she would rather be on her phone than asking me about gasoline and heaven. I wondered if she would have asked me before getting in the car that day if her shoes looked okay with her outfit, or if we would have spent the time arguing about the length of her shorts. I wondered if she would still enjoy time with me in the car. I wondered if she would look even more like me. I wondered if she would be a true follower of Christ. I wondered if I would still be exhausted. I wondered what our relationship would be like.
Today Blythe wanted to put on some dress up clothes. Most of our dresses fit her pretty snug now, and she was having a very hard time. By the time she put on her fourth dress, which was actually the first dress she had put on and had now re-put on, she was in full melt-down mode. I was pretty exasperated, but God gave me grace in that moment to see two things: 1) as her mother it is my responsibility to help her walk through her emotions and point her to Christ. And 2) how I handle these moments now will greatly affect how that slouchy teen will respond to me in the passenger seat then.
So I scooped her crying four year old body into my lap. The folds of her gold Belle dress fell over my legs. I reminded her and showed her how to breathe through her mouth [why this is so difficult for her in these moments, I will never know]. I asked her what was making her so frustrated. We talked about how the sleeves were scratchy and droopy. I reminded her about the Fruits of the Spirit that she has been learning about, particularly self-control. I asked her what it looked like to control her self.
It wasn't perfect on either of our ends. Her crying lasted entirely too long. My patience not long enough. But when I tucked her into bed tonight we laughed together and when I was walking out of the room she said, "Mom!" I turned around and gave her that look. You know the one. The one that says "this-is-it-it-is-your-bed-time-and-it-has-been-a-very-long-day-you-better-make-this-worth-it."
"I love you, Mom."
My heart bursts for that girl. But I also know my heart cannot lead that girl unless I lead my heart to Christ. If I don't, if I let moments of dress-up meltdowns turn into ugly yelling [as I often do], those moments will add up. And after years of addition, those moments will equal a teenage girl who doesn't know how to handle her emotions, has not seen Christ in me, and who definitely won't enjoy riding in the passenger seat next to me.
These little years are hard. And in the monotony of breaking up fights, and wiping up spills, and putting on bandaids, and figuring out why someone is crying I don't always see the addition happening. But when that car drove past me, God whispered in my ear, "This is what your days are adding up to. This is the holy work you are doing. They will grow. Help them grow towards Me."