Monday March 14th, 2011
Dearest Sister of my Heart,
I do believe we’re in trouble.
There comes a point in every parent’s life when you find yourself inexplicably proud of your kid, something he said, some kind act he did, some good choice he has made, and deep down inside there is this little desire in you to take CREDIT for that result. Wow, I am a GREAT mom, did you see what my sweet kiddo just did/said/chose?! And you are lifted up in that moment thinking, all those sleepless nights and relentless reinforcement and tedious listening to toddler chats have really paid off. He’s gonna turn out great, look at him… And then, as you are stuck behind a slow-moving car, he calls out from the back seat in an abrasive and rough voice “C’MON lady, DRIVE!” … and you think, oops.
If you ever want to know what you are really like deep in your heart, just have a kid, live through the sleep deprivation of the first year, cater to their every need, help them through the “firsts”, hold on to your patience as they begin to find their independence, and then watch what they do… ’cause whatever it is that they do, they learned it from you.
Every night around the dinner hour after she eats, our dog Sydney likes to knock on the kitchen door. She is allowed to come into the kitchen and lay down by the door so she can feel a part of the family (and not drown in the relentless rainfall half of the year). A few weeks ago, Sydney knocked and my kiddo was closest to the kitchen so he went to let her in. He opened the door and, in a tone that was an exact immitation of my husband, said “Ya’ commin’ in, Syd? You’re not gettin’ any more dinner. Nope? Ok.” -closes door and turns to us- “She wants more food.” and nonchalantly walked back into the living room. It was like watching a miniature version of my husband. We just cracked up.
It is the gift of a child’s imitation that will hold up the mirror. It will shine the light on the dark corners of your soul when you least expect it. This includes all those little phrases that it never mattered if you said out loud… like “GOOOO!” when you’re waiting for another car or “Ugh, I’m just exHAUSted” which is Little Man’s newest favorite response to our inquiries of “how are you.” It will point out the testimony you are actually giving with your life. My question is, when do we lose that compass… The arrow that points us toward the one we should imitate? When does it cease to come so naturally? If only I would imitate my Father the way my son imitates his (and his mother).
It is such a great image… (Ephesians 5:1) be imitators of Christ as dearly loved children… because let’s face it, we are master imitators. We are almost always imitating something whether we realize it or not. TV, friends, co-workers, books, movies, leaders, blogs… from what source do we strive to define ourselves? “Whom am I imitating?” “Who influences my choices?” I don’t think I ask myself these questions enough. It’s good to know, though, that I shan’t be ignorant for too long at a time, not with two little mirrors that will always reflect the reality of my flawed condition and my unabashed need for mercy.
Your flawed cousin,