As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Girl - How I Love Her!

Everyone makes a big deal about my fourth child, and with good reason.  In this boys' land, she is my one and only girl.  And oh, how I love her.  But not just for the reasons you might think.

You see, she is three years old now.  And three has traditionally been an age that has been, shall we say, trying.  And I have not handled it well with any of my three older boys.  In fact, I barely survived it (I am sure there will be at least a bit of time in purgatory for me over these years, Lord have mercy on me.)  And now I find myself here once more, in these beautifully trying years, with a little girl.  And wow, what a difference!

She has proven so far to be the most difficult for me.  I think it would be too naive (and unfair, to be honest) to blame it on her girlhood.  I think (in fact, I know) that it has as much, if not more to do with me.  Because I'm a girl too, and she reaches me in a way that the boys never did.  At the worst of times with them, I still managed to be mostly in control of how they acted.  I could threaten to take something away and coerce them away from the edge.  I never had one of my older boys throw a public tantrum.  But my girl, once she is going that way there's no turning back.  And I think part of it is because she picks up on my subtle cues, that I think the boys are mostly immune to.  If I'm loosing it inside, a cool exterior does nothing for her, because she knows.  She's in my head.  She's in my heart, and so tremendously sensitive to me.

And while I have weathered some of the worst tantrums in the history of my household over the past few months (and thrown more than a few of my own, I am sorry to say), I can see progress on both of our parts.  God in His mercy is giving me a heart for this beautiful girl, and the way that she loves me so much and so well that she is completely wrapped around my own heart.  There's no putting on a show for her - I can't do this job halfway.  I have to push on towards further conversion that truly allows me to love her through these difficult years, without taking every outburst on her part so goshdarn personally.

Yesterday in particular I could see how this time of trial is really pushing me to grow up, and how good it can be when I actually do.  I had a friend over visiting when my darling little girl launched head on into a full-blown tantrum.  It was late afternoon and she had been up two times the night before, so I knew she was overtired.  Let me say this - I HATE it when my kids misbehave in front of other people (I think most people do!) and I wanted to crawl into a hole when nothing I could do could talk her down from it.  But sometimes having people around is good, because it forces you to act the way you know you should when they aren't around.  And so I took a deep breath and remained calm.  I told myself this isn't going to last forever, this is just a season.  And I am going to love her through it.

She screamed through her entire three-minute timeout.  And when it was over, I called her to me and got her to take a deep breath.  I explained, calmly, why she had gotten in trouble, and that she couldn't keep falling on the floor and crying that way.  And she said sorry, and she hugged me.  And I discovered that there is a sweet little girl underneath all that frustration and confusion, and she just needs me to believe in her.  Just like there is a good Mom underneath all my frustrations - and I just have to allow that to be what comes out in me.  Because I have more time and experience in dealing with myself than my three-year-old does.  I have to be the example to her of how to walk through trying times with dignity and grace.

My little girl is three-years-old, and it's beautiful.  She is beautiful, because she loves me in a way that is so much different than the boys.  She does have a way of reaching right into my heart, and pushing all of my buttons.  She knows how to make me angry in a million more ways than her brothers ever did, and she gets under my skin.  But it's not because she's trying to, it's because that's where she lives, she is so deeply connected to me.  She calls me to be a better person, a holier person.  She calls me to love her unconditionally, with my whole being - the way that she loves me.  And my, how I love this little girl!

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