We had ups and downs with our almost 4-year-old daughter this weekend. I could blame it on her not feeling well, or a long week at day care, or dreary weather. In reality, it was probably just an outcome of her personality.
I rocked my fussy, tired daughter on a Friday afternoon, cherishing quiet time of closeness which seems to occur far too infrequently now. Early Saturday morning she crawled into bed with me and we cuddled close, talking and giggling about her week. Then Saturday evening, when I could no longer handle the whining and inability to follow directions, I held my screaming daughter tightly and swept her out of the restaurant – before we had even ordered. Sometime after, as she was beginning to reach the end of complete meltdown stage, she clung to me desperately, hugging so tight it felt that we were attached. Finally, bedtime that same night; she is still working to calm herself down from her meltdown. We rest our heads against one another and quietly sing “I’ve got Peace like a River” until her tears subside and her breathing is steady.
Ah, the highs and lows of parenting a dramatic 3-year-old! Thankfully, each high and low with my daughter this weekend came with long, close hugs and strong words of love. Whatever my daughter and I coped with, we came back together in love. But it still makes me wonder what our relationship will be like as she gets older. This girl is independent and feisty. Will she be willing to cuddle in close after a teenage, hormone-induced battle with her mother? I worry, I pray, I dwell – it terrifies me, really!
By sheer coincidence, my husband re-posted on Saturday my writing from exactly 2 years ago. (OK – so I know better than that. Not simply luck! See Little miracles work in big ways.) On May 1, 2014, I was still very new to this blogging, “sharing my personal life” thing. I wrote a post about my daughter, who at the time was about to turn 2. I identified her as loving, but feisty – willing to have a 2-hour meltdown when things don’t go her way, yet staying close to me in the midst of her deepest frustration. Hmmm. Noticing a trend?
Insane how that little personality was already formed before she was even 2-years-old! My beautiful daughter is independent and spirited. When managed, these are amazing traits for a young woman to have. I am eager to see the kind of person she will become, and witness the difference she can make in this world if she uses that feisty little personality to do good and spread her love of God!
Over and over again we will lay out our expectations for our daughter, set guidelines for life, offer support. She will test these boundaries, time and time again. But all along the way we will guide with love. In our home and in our relationships with one another, we will first love God, then be a source of unending love for one another.
This is how our God works for us, right? In my own words from 2 years ago on this exact day: “To God, it must seem like we act out the terrible-twos our entire lives. We disobey, we hate, we scream at God when things don’t go our way.” Yet…”no matter how much we have tormented Him, God will be there to offer unending forgiveness and unconditional love.”
This is what I must remember – again, and again, and again. As a parent – in all relationships, really – God gives us an example of how to love all, no matter the frustration and resentment; even if the expectations and guidelines we lay before us are not met.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
My daughter and I have many, MANY arguments ahead of us. But we have even more hugs, words of love and moments of laughter to experience. Love will encompass all. And we’ll be just fine!