Tea Party Set By Ruthie

I have arrived at that magical parenting phase where I rarely have to get up off the couch. The kids want breakfast? Make some toast or get a cup of yogurt. Need a drink of water? Grab a stool and get the cup yourself.

But this new independence is not just about my laziness. It’s also about teaching my kids responsibility and giving them skills to take care of themselves (but it’s also about my laziness).

Ruthie is starting to want things. She wants fancy shoes, and her own phone, and longer hair.

But every piece of clothing she owns is on the floor right now, and the deck of cards is missing 23 cards, and the lamp shade has her name written on it in brown marker, and she never brushes her hair.

How can I give a phone to someone who never brushes her hair?

I want to control what she does and who she becomes, because sometimes being in control feels easier than trusting Jesus. At least in the moment, but not when it falls apart. So I do and say and think these crazy things to bend her to my will.

If I take away This, maybe she’ll learn. If I withhold That, maybe she’ll learn. If I say it fourteen times in three different languages, maybe she’ll finally get it.

I’m nearly forty, and I feel wise. Not know-it-all wise, but I’ve-been-in-your-shoes wise. Let-me-tell-you-a-story wise. There-once-was-a-time-when-I-dot-dot-dot wise.

I see that she is so much like me, and I’ve overcome so much to become who I am now. Refined by fire, as they say. I can’t wrap my mind around the next thirty-something years of her figuring it out – the detours, the missteps, the train wrecks.

But I did.

And she will.


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