Two months into your sixth year of life on earth has ushered in the "dramatic" phase. We are barely past your fifth birthday but it as if the production staff from a daytime soap opera have moved into our house and started writing scripts for you and coaching you. The drama involved in small, everyday hurdles, conflicts and desires has completely taken our house by storm.
Scene One: The Kitchen
Maddie: Enter stage left. "Sam kicked me," said with great emotion, a flourish of the arms, and tears forming at corners of eyes.
Mama: At sink, washing dishes. "Do you think you can work it out with your brother?"
Maddie: Again, with tears and great arm gestures. "But, MOOOOOOM, he kicked me," dramatic pause, "with his....COWBOY BOOTS!!!! Boo-hoo-hoo-hooty-hoo!!!!"
Mama: Still washing dishes, without lifting eyes, "Sam, come here please."
Sam: Enter stage right, wearing cowboy boots, hat, and nothing else. "Hiii, Mama!"
Mama: "Sam, did you kick Maddie with your cowboy boots?"
Sam: Looking at floor, "Nope."
Maddie: With increasing dramatics, all limbs flailing, feigning possible natural disaster of epic proportions, as if very life is hanging in balance on the delivery of this line, "BUT HE DID KICK ME!!! AND IT REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY HURT!!!! WAAAAAA!!!!"
Mama: "Sam, please apologize to your sister. You know that kicking is not okay. "
Sam: "Owwy, Mah-Mah." moving in to hug sister.
Maddie: With a little less drama, but still with tears in eyes and back of the hand to the forehead, "Oh, Sam, I guess I forgive you."
You've also learned to be very helpful and responsible. One sunny afternoon we played at the creek and you took it upon yourself to "do your part" by picking up the stray bottles and cans you could carry in your arms. We loaded up the bike basket and headed home to the recycling bin. "If everyone would just do their part, our world would be a better place," you said, to no one in particular.
We've instituted a marble jar. For acts of service and grace, for a repentant heart that seeks forgiveness, and for acts of kindness, marbles are added. Once your jar is full, you get to pick quality time with any family member of your choice, an adventure of your own choosing. In the last twenty-four hours, you've offered to mop the floor, dust, wash the windows, make your bed, pick up the bedrooms, and put away toys without being asked. I think this whole reward system might just work. Fingers crossed.
You LOVE the babies. Oh my goodness, do you love you some babies. At the Foxes house a while back, you couldn't keep your arms off baby E. You snuggled and kissed him, helped keep him happy, talked baby talk, tickled his belly. Then we went to the Loughnanes where you offered to feed the twins dinner. And there you sat, right between their two high chairs, spooning gobs of yogurt first to Landon, then to Brody, laughing and wiping their faces and saying things like, "Here goes the truck, through the tunnel, beep, beep!" You regularly tell me that you want to be a Mama when you grow up, that you will pray to God for four or seven or ten babies, and ask me if I'll come when the babies are born.
This month we went back to San Damiano, to that magical place where God always meets us and provides time to connect with his beautiful creation and with each other. We hiked, climbed trees, stopped to admire the Spring blooms, watched insects crawl, and prayed. I treasure the times that just the two of us can get away and enjoy one another's company. You SO need time to connect and to feel cherished and special. We work diligently at reminding you of your value in Christ, his great love for you, the uniqueness with which he has formed your body and personality. You ask great, deep spiritual questions that cause me to stop and think through things before answering. You surprise me with your depth of insight and the wisdom you have at only five years old. Such a great reminder that just a few hours, outside, one on one, and you are more alive, more joyful, more you.
I don't pretend for a minute that raising a five year-old daughter is easy, predictable, or smooth. I am fully dependent on the grace and wisdom of my Father to even start a day with your drama, your deep questions, your need for affirmation. Yet in all the time on my knees in prayer, the moments of great frustration where I feel the boiling waters of anger and stress beyond my control, in the times of quiet wonder, I am better for having been your Mama. Without the journey of loving you and shepherding your heart, I wouldn't experience the love and shepherding of my own Father in Heaven. So thank you for keeping me dependent, for keeping me humble, and for showing me how much I have to learn. I'm so grateful I have you to accompany me on this journey.