You know those rare parenting moments of clarity, when everything suddenly comes into sharp focus and you look into your child's eyes and see something that you had missed before? Admittedly, those moments don't come nearly as often as they should.
I have been quite open here on this (nearly defunct) blog about how difficult it has been for me to parent Renie. I love her to pieces and admire all the things about her that make her difficult to parent: Her courage, her determination, her fierce independence and refusal to be intimidated by anyone or anything. She is a goofball and a ham, but stubborn and a bit prideful.
I have been praying, of late, for guidance in my parenting. Not that this prayer is anything new, but I think I had recently upped the urgency of my pleas for assistance. I wasn't thinking of Renie in particular as I prayed, just for help in my calling as a mother.
Tonight as I played around on the computer, yelling at the girls to quiet down and go to sleep, Renie came out of the bedroom to lodge a complaint about something one of the other girls had done to her. For some reason, (answer to prayer), in that moment, I looked at her and looked so completely through to her sweet little spirit that I was overcome with consuming love for her. I asked her to come sit with me for a minute and she climbed into my lap and let me pull her close. In that quiet, tender moment with her, she immediately confided in me that her classmates had been calling her names and picking on her at school. As her tears flowed down her cheeks and splashed onto my arm, my little girl suddenly came sharply into focus before me. Refer back to the second paragraph of this post, and you may begin to understand why this was such a tender moment for me. She is my tough girl, sandwiched between the two boys in the family, and she does not like to show a weak or vulnerable side. In those few minutes, I realized that I have come to treat her as if she does not have that vulnerable side and that is infinitely unfair. I have felt that at times myself; like people expect me to be the strong one and work through things on my own, or even that things don't bother me or hurt me like they do other people. And I have felt that it was unfair, that I wanted to be the one to cry on someone else's shoulder for a change. But at the same time, I didn't feel comfortable exposing that vulnerability to anyone and so I just continued on in the same way. I don't want her to feel that, in her 7 year old version of it. Not with me. Not with her mother.
I am grateful Heavenly Father knows me, knows my children, and knows what we need. I am grateful He hears and answers the pleas of an imperfect mother. I am grateful that I was given a glimpse of my child through His eyes. And mostly, I am grateful I have been given the opportunity to be her mother, that I have been entrusted with such an amazing, sweet spirit.
I know this clarity will begin to fuzz and blur with time, which is why I am recording it here. I know that coming back to read this again will help to refocus when I need it, and help me to be the mother she deserves to have.