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Monday, September 10, 2012

Relaxed motherhood

The other day I looked down from my reading and noticed my toddler taking a pair of kiddie scissors and cutting her hair. She didn't even seem to mind that I was watching her as she was doing it. 

If this had happened years ago, I probably would have been mortified. I would have had to scold and correct, and then I would have worried about how I would fix the mess she created, what others would think, and on and on...
My precious Anna at the age of 20.

But these days are different. I've been to a lot of places with my children and have dealt with more childishness than I sometimes like to recall. It was 20 years ago when my three-year-old Gracie decided to take my sewing scissors and play "beauty shop" with her two-year-old sister. Anna had such gorgeous blonde hair, and I hadn't touched her wispy baby curls. Gracie had decided to crop her hair off in the back, gouge a few clumps on top, and leave the sides alone. I almost cried when I saw the results! 

But we lived through it, and Anna recovered to become a lovely young woman. 

It was the perspective of 29 years of mothering that helped me when I gathered up my little Patience and took her into the bathroom. As I was taking some hair scissors and evening things up, I questioned her as to her motives for trying to become her own barber.
Patience before her haircut.

"It was because I didn't want my hair in my face," she said, and I couldn't help but acknowledge that it made sense; her golden locks had grown evenly long all over, and I had been putting it out of her face with barrettes, but sometimes these fell out, and she was constantly pulling her hair back from her eyes. Of course I dutifully chided her, saying that cutting one's hair was not a smart thing to do, since she was bound to do a bad job of it. She seemed to understand, said she was sorry, and life went on. 

If you are a mother with young children, there is a lesson here for you. Some things you should really, really pay attention to, and other things you should not stress over. All children will try you; they will put objects up their noses and flush toys down the toilet. They will try to defy the laws of physics and cause your heart to race straight into your throat. 

If you are wise, you will look past the crisis, and into their souls. You will hold them in your heart with grace, and look for the best in them. Although some days it may seem as though you are chasing down one disaster after another, you must never allow yourself to lose perspective. 

If you are dealing with a child who is constantly causing problems, do this; wait until he is asleep at night and go to his bed and stare in wonder at his beauty. Remember his tiny newborn sounds, how soft his skin was, and how you would have moved heaven-and-earth just to be near him. Then bend down on your knees and pray for him. Pray for his safety, for his education, but mostly for his soul. Ask God for the grace to forgive him, as well as the grace to forgive yourself for the times when you over reacted in all of the wrong ways. 

And as often as you can, ask God, the Parent of parents, for insight, wisdom, renewed love and admiration, just as God rejoices and delights over all of His children:
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)


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