My two year old daughter loves to help me. For instance, yesterday morning I was pulling weeds in the garden when she came up behind me with a pair of my gardening gloves on, and began pulling up the alyssum in the garden’s border.
“Help!” She kept saying over and over again, as she struggled to grab something through the huge gloves with her tiny fingers.
Normally I would’ve thought that to be so adorable, but I was nine months pregnant at the time and was simply trying to feel like I was accomplishing something in order to satisfy a ferocious nesting urge that my large and off-balance body was not cooperating with. In short, my patience was thin.
I tried to distract her with a broom, asking her to “help” mamma by sweeping the walkway, but she was only interested in the broom when I was the one sweeping with it.
I have to admit I do feel a twinge of guilt for being so irritated with her for wanting to “help” me with everything. After all, when we first saw the ultrasound and learned Ruthie was a girl, all I could think of were the many ways I would be able to teach and disciple my daughter to be a godly woman, a hard-working woman, a woman capable of making her home warm and hospitable.
From the very beginning Ruthie has been an observer and a clean freak. She has her own set of wash cloths now so she can clean off her own booster seat tray. When she spills water from her cup she runs to the kitchen to find a towel and wipes up her mess. When she finds discarded mail or scraps of paper on the floor she picks them up and carries them to the trash can in the kitchen, and just the other day she placed a stray section of the newspaper in the recycling basket.
Bryan calls her obsessive compulsive. I think she’s brilliant.
I know this is cliché mom-speak, but I am terrified at how much of my behavior she mimics. She pays attention to what I do and learns from me. When I lose my patience and am harsh with her, the sad look on her face breaks my heart. Her sad little face is God’s conviction for me, my conscience.
“Mamma was wrong to react that way, Ruthie,” I said at one point yesterday. “I’m sorry.”
Ruthie looked me in the eye, then leaned forward and gave me a hug, and I knew she understood.
And that was profound to me.