Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dream Weaver

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., Emerson's first grade class was asked to write about a dream they have for their life. The only parameters given were that the dream had to be nice. Well played first grade teachers. I mean who wants to read 22 essays on the dreams they each had of potty words (which is, naturally, the funniest thing any six or seven year old can possibly imagine.) So Emie brings her work home today for me to read. I was ready for it. For the words about her dream to fly with a unicorn or grow her own fairy wings. All fine dreams for a seven year old girl. But what I found instead was a dream I could only hope to be brave enough to have for myself. It read:

"I have a dream. As a leader I can help people believe in the Bible. I can go around the world."

She included this picture of her holding a Bible and apparently sharing a word:

If you can get beyond the fact that she looks like a raging heretic in this depiction and remember that she really looks like this:

it makes more sense to see that her little protege looks pretty happy with what she's hearing. I mean if someone with this much peace and joy told me how she got it - I'd listen too. I'm pretty sure my heart grew three sizes today. I am overcome with love and admiration for this precious girl.

I just heard today that parenting is the only job you'll ever work where you don't get your first real performance review for 18 years. For so long the jury is out on whether or not the effort you're putting in is indeed resulting in a job well done. You just don't get to know until they're a little more cooked if what you're trying to instill and teach is getting through and making a lasting difference at all. Perhaps it's one of the greatest displays of faith there is. To trust that all of the work and sacrifice will bear a bountiful harvest. That God's grace will cover all of the areas in which you've missed the opportunity, said the wrong thing, tuned out. Believing His faithfulness to see you (and them) through even on days you don't see a single berry on the vine.

But every once in a while you get a little sneak peek into the future. You get to see that something along the way, some of your passion, some of your effort, some of your prayers have paid off in a big and eternal way. That indeed the job you've been doing is alright. Better than alright even. Today I got that little peek. I got to see that in spite of my own shortcomings as a mom something's getting through and a beautiful selfless child is emerging before my very eyes. The heart of this precious child is as pure as the driven snow. So much so that when asked to come up with any amazing dream for herself the first thing she thinks of is sharing the truth and love of Jesus with others.

"Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness."
Martin Luther King Jr.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

"Gorgeous hair is the best revenge." - Ivana Trump

So just two weeks ago I wrote an entire post about Ainsley's hair. How it often becomes a family project but I just can't let it go. Well, I think the universe was listening or reading. I mean, not really because of course God's the only one listening or reading my thoughts or this blog for that matter. Oh, that's such a good thing for so many reasons. The thoughts part not the blog, I mean, I wouldn't mind another reader besides my husband. Any old way, if I felt that the universe was a listener then it would make sense that after I tempted fate, I fell and fell hard.

There I was praising that thick mane of tresses of my little lov when....Wham! My cheeks were reddening as the preschool director told me that the "unexplained rash" they found on my darling's little ear was most likely from (gulp)... wait for it...head lice. Take me now, Jesus. Just come on that white horse and get me out of this office. Good Lord. Bugs? And bugs in my baby's hair? Suddenly the memory of what I called a "family project" to care for Ainsley's hair looked like a walk in the park. A really short walk on a really pleasant day. It's hard to feel like Mother of the Year when someone else is pointing out that your child would benefit from a flea dip.

I have, however, been more than a little encouraged to learn that the little vermin like some clean hair. So there you have it. All of the work I've been doing to keep the dear love's crown in sweet order was perceived as an open invitation for every louse in town. Signals crossed - buglets - wrong idea! Go back where you came from! I do so wish I knew where they came from so I could ensure that none of us ever go there again. Ever.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I got to read a book to the first grade class that this little darling is in. As Ainsley and I sat at the lunch table with her before we went to class she looked across the table at us and beamed: "I can't believe it's our big day!" You know when there's so much love inside of you for another person that you cannot simply hold it in? There's no chance that you can contain it. This was that. My cheeks hurt from smiling so big. I am so overcome with love for this daughter of mine and her little sister friend. I know the simplicity of my company won't always constitute "A Big Day!" but today I'm so glad that it did.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

When asked recently what she was most thankful for, Ainsley, age four answered: "My hair and my sister." Now this may not have been a postable moment for most moms. I mean, she didn't say, "My eternal salvation and my out-of-this-world-amazing mother." But she did say she was thankful for two things for which she has held mixed emotions in her short little tenure on earth. I was pleased indeed.

Her hair can be a bit of a family project. Her curls are a splendid cascade around her darling face. But they spend most of their time in a state of entanglement. Like a big wad of matted dreadlock entanglement. But I just cannot bear to see them go. I truly think even after a substantial haircut (as her father has insisted suggested) she'd still have tangles. She likes to wrap her little fingers in it and would likely do so no matter the length. So I work it out. With wide toothed combs and leave-conditioner, and chamois towels, and a touch of magic. It's amazing that hair of hers. But I just so very much want her to know that. To not feel it is this big messy part of her that is a bother. And so indeed it was a day of gladness when she gave first fruits of praise to those spectacular tresses.

And as for her gratitude for her sister, well color me happy. I have been praying since this girl was in my belly for her to love her sister well. For the two of them to be each other's greatest source of encouragement. Some days it looks nothing at all like that. It looks like too many cooks in the kitchen. Like too many engines and no caboose. Like two leaders who are desperately looking for a follower in one another. It doesn't always work so well. But at the end of the day they are there for one another and are united through and through.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

"For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.”

Oh how I love a fresh start, a new page. January's generous this way and it is most welcome in our home. 2012 was a good teacher and I think we were pretty good students. We learned an awful lot, that's for certain.

We've now been in Texas for one year. It feels good to be able to say that. I think we all feel like that was a good hurdle to clear. The first year in a new place can feel a bit like an opponent. Like you have to fight a bit to be victorious. And Gandhi (who's said a couple of smart things over the years) says this: "Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love." Jesus said something similar and the truth is undeniable. If we want to enjoy some peace and comfort in this world we must continuously strive to love. Love does not keep a record of wrongs. It rejoices in the truth. It puts the needs of others above itself. So may it be with me.

I'm excited for the new year. The Christmas break proved to be shockingly restorative. For all of my concern that we might all be climbing the walls after two and a half weeks of togetherness it's proven to have been an incredible time. The girls did so well to encourage one another and find ways to play well together.

Three years can seem to be quite a span when their two ages are but four and seven. Like when Emie wants to play Headbandz, a game in which the players but a card on their forehead with a picture on it. They don't know what is on the picture and ask the other players questions to try to guess who or what they are. Emie excitedly asks clever things such as, "Can I be eaten?," or "Am I in this room?" and before she gets too far along in her inquisition Ainsley pipes up, "You're a spoon!!" in a fit of giggles and the whole thing's over before it begins. As one might imagine, this is not Emie's favorite outcome. But somehow they find the middle place where they can play well together and truly enjoy the magic that is family at its best.

Yesterday they made a tent with a sheet draped over their two beds and secured it with ponytail bands. They closed the curtains, shut the doors and brought flashlights underneath their new-found hideout. Emie read stories to Ainsley and their dolls and they made up songs to sing together. I walked in to overhear Emie apologizing for an earlier offense to Ainsley (for which she had already asked forgiveness) only to hear Ainsley quickly say, "Oh, that's okay." I wanted time to stand still. I wanted to press pause and just sit in that moment for a good long while. This is the very best of it all. Love conquering a foe turning her into a friend. A dear, dear friend.