Because why not? How children remind us we are free

She is drawn to mud puddles like a moth to flame.

Like a horse to water.

Like a fly to poop.

Like me to chocolate.

She was drawn to it that day and I let her – even though she was wearing a new cute, light pink dress and I had a feeling it would end up splattered with brown within a matter of seconds.

Still, I love the idea of children being allowed to be children and of me being able to photograph it.

She started by stepping in the water in one part of the gravel parking lot, standing with the murky brown liquid covering both her ruby red slippers with the sparkles – the slippers she had picked out six months ago on a shopping trip for basketball shoes for her brother.

She’d been drawn to those slippers too. She put them on and said “these mine,” and left her old shoes in the floor and walked toward the exit.

When those slippers were covered in water on this day she smiled, or rather smirked, and started to step in each little pool of muddy water with a low chuckle of delight. Soon she was running through the puddles and asking me to do the same.

It was a familiar scene. She’d done the same two days earlier and we had run in the ankle deep water in another parking lot and laughed as we ran.

People smiled at us as they walked by on their way to the local clinic. I think they wanted to run in puddles too.

On this day I ran again with her because that’s why God gives us children – to remind us how be free, that we are free in Him.

Free to splash in puddles.

Free to not care what anyone else thinks.

Free to remember who we really are.

Children remind us that sometimes we need to stop and feel the water squish into our shoes and between our toes and then we need to giggle and see how much mud we can splatter up out of the puddle and all over our clothes.

Children remind us to climb a tree because – why not?

Children remind us that pushing a cart across a parking lot as fast as you can and then jumping on the back of it and riding it to your car is – well – really fun.

Children remind us to be distracted by the way the sun hits the sunflowers in the fields and the butterfly fluttering among the cattails by the pond.

Children remind us how nice it is to hold someone’s hand when you walk across the street.

Children remind us that sometimes we need to let go and simply be alive.

Her brother jumped across the puddle and landed on his feet.

She jumped across the puddle and landed on her rear in the middle of the puddle.

And she laughed and I had a good feeling she flopped in the water on purpose.

Who will show me to stop and laugh in the puddles when my children are older?

Who will remind me it’s ok to not be serious all the time?

Who will hold my hand when I cross the street?

Who will whisper as I walk across a park “I love you, mama?” leaving me with that funny feeling you get in your chest right before you cry?

Why do we forget how to laugh, to splash, to play as we grow?

Why do we forget to live instead of just exist?

Denial is the first step to not admitting we’re in the toddler years

I wasn’t ready for it, I’m not going to lie.

The attitude. The firm shakes of the head and the cry of “no!”

The folded arms. The tantrums. 

The deep scowls and body flops to the floor.

She’s not even two. 

Yet these are the reactions I have had as I stare in horror at the Terrible Twos rushing at us like an out of control train. I am being pulled into these years that some moms cutely call “ the testing years”, kicking and screaming. 

Seriously, what is with her hitting the stubborn stage before she’s even 2? All the books say two is when it all goes to hell in a hand basket. She is not two so she is not allowed to refuse to let me help her wash her hands and do it herself.

She is not allowed to try to jump into the deep end of the pool without adult supervision because she lacks fear. She is not allowed to sit in the floor and cry because mommy put on her shoes and she wanted to do it on her own.

She is not allowed to squish her face up in indignant annoyance when I try to hold a cup for her to drink from or slap my hand away in apparent insistence that she be allowed to do it ON HER OWN!

It’s not fair! 

I was supposed to have more time to prepare!

But, she’s been developmentally early in so many other areas, I should have expected this. 

I really should have been preparing for the worst. 

The worst being that my little princess really is a smaller version of me. 

Oh, Lord, give me strength, she has my independent attitude, my stubborn streak and, I can barely manage to write this, my temper. 

This is it.

This is the payback I was warned about. 

And yes, the saying is true. The saying I won’t repeat because I am a good Christian mama blogger. The saying that essentially says, “you are feeling the pain you caused so many others. Enjoy the ride, sucker.”

 

A Father to the Fatherless

My husband grew up without his dad. The reasons why are complicated and that’s not my story to tell. What is my story to tell is that I grew up with my dad, who is supportive and loving and has always been there for me, even in the darkest moments of my life. 

I don’t know what it’s like not to have a father or a family who cares. Maybe you are someone who doesn’t have a father to celebrate on Father’s Day or maybe you know someone who grew up without their dad.

I’d like you to flip your idea of this day around a bit. Maybe you don’t have a father but you are a father now. Your children are your reason to celebrate. You may think you aren’t a good enough father to be celebrated. It probably isn’t true, because only God is the perfect Father, but if you don’t want to celebrate yourself then celebrate how your children made you a father and how lucky you are to have them.

If you have a father to celebrate today, even if they’re not perfect, then thank them for what they mean to you.

And even if you think you are fatherless, know that, really, you are not. You have a Father in Heaven who knew you before you were even born and loved you even when your earthly father didn’t. 

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
Jeremiah 1:5