And then. There comes a day when that baby has become someone else entirely. Why, now that innocent, chubby little ball of flesh is a miniature Cuban dictator running around the house screaming unintelligible orders at everyone wielding a black sharpie and threatening to use it. On everything.
It's a transition. And sometimes it's exasperating. On the one hand we just can't wait for those giggling babies to grow up so we can talk to them and know them in a deeper way. And on the other hand, well some times it's like trying to hold a hurricane in your hands and pretend like everything is fine while the wind is nearly knocking you out. The magic of watching your child grow is like watching a rose bloom. But sometimes when you're holding it, you get stuck by a thorn.
I have observed my daughter choose to lie. And it hurt me in the places that seek and treasure what is right. Watching your child lose her innocence one tiny shred at a time is a painful thing to observe. I must remind myself that we are all human and this is a process that everyone must experience. It is my job to equip her with the truth and the knowledge of what is right and what is wrong. And to correct and guide her when she makes the wrong choices. If I'm there. And if I'm not.... Well, that's where my fervent prayer for her comes in.
It's a process and a struggle.
I must remember.....
I was once a child. The magic of youth lingers in my memory. My parents, the creators and shapers of the memories. And now, in the eternal cycle of life; it's my turn to create and shape what she will one day remember. I wonder if they felt the same we do now when I was young. I am just a girl. And he is just a boy. Feeling so inherently the same on the inside as we did so many years ago, only surrounded by a life that we're not quite sure how we came by. A house, two cars, two kids, and some animals. I am just a girl. And he is just a boy. I am Mother. And he is Father.
And the Nihilist Toddler is still wielding the Sharpie. I take a deep breath and remove myself from this minute that threatens to consume me with anger, anxiety, and frustration. I remember the baby she was, and think about the woman I hope she will become and in doing so, I regain my calm. I am the guide on this Ride Of Life and I remind her that I reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. That means HER. That means NO JUICE. The sharpie falls. This time the battle was easy. But I remind myself that there will be more. Many, many more. probably withing the next hour. But I remind myself that I am doing very important work. I am helping shape A PERSON. WOW. Heavy stuff when you really stop and think about it. But, who has time for that? The baby's crying, the doorbell just rang and the Toddler is now in your makeup and looking like Joel Gray in Cabaret.
Take a breath. Soak it in. These days are gone faster than seemingly possible. Step outside the chaos and remember that. One day she will call me from college, we will talk, we will be friends, and I will remember the baby, the diabolical Toddler, the She That She Used To Be.
Right now it's nap time. After a bathroom break, two stories, a cup of drink, and some tears, she begins in on the list of things she needs in order to avoid napping. I calmly tell her, No, No and NO all cushioned within loving sentiment. it is time for sleep. Then the screaming begins. I shut the door and within minutes she quiets down and falls asleep. Sometimes it's very difficult not to just give in. But I remind myself of our unwavering policy NOT TO NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS. They NEVER keep up their end of the bargain. Even if it's just going to sleep for a couple of hours.
And now, with all miraculously quiet, and calm for a short time, I will attempt to tackle the stack of books that have been calling my name. Them, me, and a hot cup of tea.