I never know if what I’m teaching my girls is sinking in. Some days it feels like all I do is correct, redirect and discipline. Those days are so hard! Those days make me feel like a failure a thousand times over. Why won’t they listen to me? Why do I have to repeat the same thing over and over again? What am I doing wrong?? WHY DO THEY KEEP PUTTING THINGS IN THE TOILET??? I know you’ve all been there. But then there are those AH-HA! moments that come up every once in awhile — not much — that just reinforce everything we’re doing and sort of… make us relax. It’s hard to relax. Parenting is a huge responsibility. There’s a very good chance that we could be screwing our kids up for life and not even know it. Everyone says “all you need is love” but OK that’s fine and good for things like Love, Actually, but in real life? You also need massive doses of chocolate and perhaps a glass or two of the bubbly. And things like wordpress.com and amusing auto corrects posted by strangers.
But I digress…
Every night we pray with Jovi before bed. We thank Jesus and go over the day’s activities together. We’ve found that not only does it open up those most-important lines of communication (prayer!), but it helps ground Jovi before she goes to sleep. She gets to “relive” parts of her day that were fun. During that time we ask her to name something she’s thankful for. Most of the time it’s one of us, her sister, a relative, a book or a nearby animal she happens to glance at right when we ask her. We started introducing other “facets” of faith several months ago; one of them being to ask Jesus for comfort when she’s scared at night. The whole scared of the dark thing is relatively recent, maybe in the last 5 months or so. It doesn’t happen often but when a train goes by and everything else is quiet, she’ll come to our room mumbling things about monsters or storms. The same when there’s wind or a breeze is playing with her curtains and making weird shadows. Most of the time she just crawls into bed with us without saying a word. Not that everytime she does that it’s because of “monsters”, but the point is, we’ve never really had the opportunity to pray when she’s scared, in the moment. It’s always after the fact and only then if she remembers to tell us about it.
That’s why I was so surprised and grateful the other morning when, as I was picking out her clothes for the day, she very matter-of-factly told me: “Mommy, Jesus helped me go to sleep last night. I was scared so I talked to him and he made me feel better. He helped me because he loves me.” I was so “……!” that I couldn’t even think of any appropriate words to say. I finally reassured her that that was the perfect thing to do and that I was happy that she was comforted. It really surprised me because it had been forever (I can’t even remember the last time) since we’d talked about praying when scared. But still, she remembered. What it must be like to have the faith of a child. And how easily I forget to do the same thing my 3 1/2 year old daughter did without hesitation.
Even more importantly, how reassuring to her dad and I that the seeds we’ve planted are growing. It’s humbling and affirming; the things we are teaching her are sticking even when they don’t seem to be. I am grateful that it’s not all up to us, that our wisdom alone isn’t all they’re depending on. And thank goodness for that or we’d all be left wanting.