It had been a rough night.
Homework. Difficult to remember spelling words. Younger brothers picking on their older sister (precisely what little brothers are made to do, of course.)
Not to mention it was a Thursday night and, like me, she was bone-tired. Emotions were running high.
My daughter is very sensitive–she feels everything deeply. Of course, I can relate because she comes by it naturally.
She went to bed with tears in her sapphire eyes as we discussed what she was feeling. I kissed her sweet forehead and hugged her extra long with far more force than usual.
Soon after, she was asleep, the worries released for another day. I stand at her door, thankful for a God who works even while we sleep.
Troubled by some of the stuff we discussed, I sat on the couch and just breathed in the silence. So often, I don’t know what direction to travel in this journey of parenting. I can’t find a map but thankfully, I have a compass.
I prayed to that compass for a long time as the cicadas sang through the open windows. I prayed for her heart to be toughened but not too-toughened. I prayed for her skin to grow-in a bit thicker but not too thick. I prayed for her wisdom to establish boundaries in relationships when needed but not so many boundaries that she lives in relationship with no one.
Parenting a young girl is like coaching a fledgling tight-rope walker. The rope is closer to the ground at the beginning, with a safe place to fall if balance is lost. As more skill develops, the rope is increased in height and while the safe place to land is still there, it’s still a longer fall.
And even knowing there is a safe place to fall, the thought of her falling at all makes me shudder.
But she will fall. And the twisted, weird thing is that I know deep down, I want her to.
When we fall, we grow in wisdom. We begin to own our faith. We develop a more personal relationship with Jesus. We toughen-up because we see what we’re made of and we see what He does for us but . . . we must watch for the sneaky root of bitterness.
Bitterness is a first-class joy-stealer.
I walk upstairs to check-on them all –the two boys that are like puppies who roll around on the floor and communicate at a decibel I’m sure has caused my own hearing loss and the sweet girl, sleeping in a ball, covers towards the bottom of the bed.
Carefully, I pull the blanket back to her chin and I pray with a fury and passion that only other mothers would understand.
I pray her tender-heart will never be changed but that she will learn to navigate in a tough world. I pray she will always cry at sad movies, that she will live with a passion that shows she’s truly alive, and that she will continue to feel deeply but not too personally. I pray that she will walk the tightrope but not be scared, that she will pick herself back-up and keep walking after she falls, and that she’ll recognize the source of her safety-net: her own personal compass that loves her more than I love her.
And that’s a whole lot.
How do you teach your daughter to be just the right balance of salty and sweet?