Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Maddie: 56 Months

Dear Maddie,

Somehow the 14th came and went this month, without me remembering your monthly update. Suffice it to say that it's been an unusual month for both of us. Busy, with unexpected moments. Difficult, with unexpected emotions. Such it is with transitions in our house, and boy, has it been a month of change!

In just a short month, you've gone from Summer to five days a week of school. You lost a great-grandfather and traveled to Oregon for a long weekend. You've spent many a Monday night with sitters and every Sunday afternoon running around with church friends. You no longer have morning play dates with best buddies or cozy mornings in pajamas. That's a lot for my sensitive girl.

And so, there's been some adjusting going on, some changes, most of them really, really difficult. You are emotional and clingy, questioning and unsure. Whereas you've always been the type of kid to head in to a new situation with both feet running, eyes smiling, we've seen lots of holding back this month. One day at preschool drop off I had to peel you from my arms, crying, and leave you with a teacher. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.

And so it goes with parenting. Just when I think I had some major elements of your personality figured out, well, you changed. And I'm totally okay with that. It's just taking some getting used to. My girl who was once so self-assured and confident is needing more reassurance, longer hugs, closer snuggles. This is definitely not a bad thing. I've treasured our special dates, our one-on-one time to ground you in love and adoration and relationship. I can't get enough of those late-evening snuggles where I spoon you in bed until you tire of the closeness, ask me to remove my arms from around you, but still want me to linger. And almost every morning your little footsteps proceed the crawling under the covers and snuggling up to your dad, the resting close and secure in his strong, capable arms before embarking on your day.

You're learning how to handle changing relationships. We don't see each other in the mornings while you're at school, and it's been hard. You and Nicole get to ride together in the car 3 days a week but it's not enough. And instead of being excited and joyful in the moments where you get to spend time together, your couplings produce conflicted, head-butting confrontations. It's painful to watch, but us Mamas know that with any change, we have to trust that you're going to work it out. Transitions have been really, really hard, but we're getting by.

This month there have been heart-wrenching, gut-clenching moments as a parent in which I absolutely wished I could take all the pain away, scoop you in my arms like a newborn babe, and "shh shh" the tears away. Yet it's not so simple anymore. Part of you learning to navigate this broken world is learning to navigate change, learning to grieve the passing of times known and understood, adapting to times that are filled with unknowns. You will come out the other side of these difficult changes with more character, a deeper sense of who you are, and a greater sense of how God takes care of you. If it only weren't so darn hard.

And even through the difficult transitions, there have been moments of sheer joy. I've been praying almost daily that you would know and experience the immense joy and peace of God within you. I've prayed that he would make himself real to you, that you would see him at work in and through the changes. You are learning SO much at school, like writing your name with one capital letter followed by lower-case ones. You clap out syllables and make up songs. You are still silly as can be, wearing jammies on your head, socks on your hands and scarves around your waist, dancing and shaking your booty in an effort to make us giggle.

God is so good. In the midst of all this struggle, I still see in you the amazing, fun, smart, sensitive, creative, imaginative, generous person he's created. I recognize that my desire to shield you from pain comes with the territory of being a mom as much as kissing boo boos, tying shoes, and breaking up fights. And so I will continue to dance this fine line of protection and letting go, trusting my Father to take your hand when I can't, to soothe your heart when my words and arms fail, and to create in you the person he's made you to be.



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