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I had such a down day yesterday. One of those days when you think, “Surely, I’ve gotten it wrong. I thought things were great, but I missed it; I was wrong…because they suck. And I think I’ll just sit here and lie in a hole kind of day.” But then I dragged myself up and went to Ash Wednesday services, because there was really nothing else I wanted to do. And my daughter drew these pictures.

And I said to myself, “Self, sometimes really important things happen in the face of discouragement. Don’t be distracted.”

Lord, thank you for lifting my eyes to the work You are doing. Amen.

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This week’s Sunday school verse: Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. ~Luke 6:36

(There are lots of opportunities for application when there’s a little brother around.)

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The scriptures

A. drew these during summer Children’s Worship at our church in response to stories from the Jesus Storybook Bible. Most of the imagery is from that Bible’s [very beautiful] illustrations. These are 3 of my favorites from her oeuvre. I have shared these w/ her permission. She says: “Dedicated to my friends and family.”

beginning

lightloavesfishes

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A daughter’s eulogy

Hi [cousin]:

Did you hear the news? Michael Jaxen died.
I am so sad.
Also I am thinking we could play store with are seashells.
Email me when you get this email please.
Lots Of Love and Hope,
A.

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Dear S.

IMG_0147You are four, and your enthusiasm is contagious. I love hearing you sing in the bathroom while you’re…doing things people do in the bathroom. Sometimes at the end of the day, waiting for sleep to come, you ask me questions like: “Who will I marry, Mom?” or “Do you know how tall the sky is?”

I love it when you”read” to me in rhyming verse — almost as much as I enjoy seeing you read a book quietly to yourself. You love to paint. I think you are going to be a lefty. You love baseball. I am not very good at pitching to you, so I bought one of those toys that pitches the ball. You did not find it to be to your satisfaction. Guess I will have to practice.

You are my little boyfriend. You are stretching me. I love being your momma.

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Recently, my daughter and I were reading Before I Was Your Mother by Kathryn Lasky. It occurred to me while we were on a long car ride and I was feeling nostalgic, that this would make a good writing exercise for me. My daughter loves to hear stories about “when I was a girl,” especially sad or scary ones, since she knows they end well. So…here is my version of the story. Feel free to play along and send me a link to your story.

****

You know, I wasn’t always your mother. I used to be a little girl just like you. I had a best friend named Melinda, another named Connie, and a dog named Brownie. We used to pretend to be Nancy Drew and solve crimes all throughout our neighborhood. We baked mud pies in Melinda’s backyard. We formed the Clemson Tiger club; and Melinda’s mother made us shake hands and say we were sorry when we argued.

I wasn’t always your mother who tells you to be quiet when I’m on the phone or to remember to use your inside voice.

Once, Melinda and I sat on her bed singing “Delta Dawn” and “Da do run run” into her tape recorder at the top of our lungs. And then there was the time when Connie and I tried roller skating down the stairs and through her living room.

I wasn’t always your mother who makes a pajama run to school and goes everywhere in fuzzy Crocs until the winter snow piles too high or the summer heat comes.

Once I was a little girl who like to dress Brownie in Grandma’s old hats, who wore smocked dresses, and then graduated proudly to shiny patent leather zippered boots.

I wasn’t always your mother, standing on the ground watching you perform, waving, taking pictures.

Once I was a little girl who climbed high in the tops of her favorite trees, jumping down scraped and sticky with pine sap. I savored long walks in the woods with my mother, holding fast to her hand as we crossed the busy street and stole into Mr. Roberts’ woods. I treasured the tiny souvenirs she would bring home to place on the kitchen table…a pine cone, a pebble, a leaf.

I wasn’t alway your mother, glaring at you, asking if you need a time out, reminding you to be kind to your brother.

Once Aunt Cindy and I wrestled on the floor of our room til we drew blood — after we had taped a “yours” and “mine” “do not cross” line down the center of our room. We needed a time out. After we cooled off, we made up and laughed while we danced in the living room to “Disco Duck” and the Jackson Five.

I wasn’t always your mother telling you the darkness has no power over you and imploring you to practice going to sleep on your own — without me at your side.

Once I was a little girl who dreaded climbing the staircase alone — who played possum on Daddy’s lap so I wouldn’t have to — who turned off the bedroom light, then ran and took a flying leap so the alligators under my bed wouldn’t bite my feet.

Now I am your mother and you are my girl. I snuggle with you and tell you stories about when I was a girl who put on shows in the backyard, played freeze tag, caught lightning bugs, and climbed trees. We make up stories of what we’ll dream about — and I dream of the stories you will share with your little girl someday.

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It’s that time of year in our house…the time when a little girl’s fancy turns to presents. She realizes that it’s been a long time since her birthday, her half birthday has passed, she’s getting invited to a lot of birthday parties, 4th of July has passed, there are no more “fun” holidays until Halloween, and she wants a present dangit!

Thus, this is about the time of year when I suggest that said girl should “make a list.” And I secretly love to see how that list changes and evolves as Christmas and birthday draw near — what stays, what stays near the top, and what drops off the list completely. We are practicing delaying gratification. And I am getting to know my little girl.

She was about three when I began to realize this cycle of waiting and wanting was somewhat inevitable. Friends and strangers would inquire and wait with baited breath to hear her heart’s desire. I don’t remember exactly what was on that roughly formed inaugural list, but I do remember it contained about three items, two of which were a ball and a balloon.

So without further ado, here is this year’s List v. 1.0:

ipod
jewelry
Felicity
Mini doodle bear
flute
candy
harp
fashion
history books
vanilla shampoo
fancy shoes
decorations

I love her.

When does it start in your house? And how do you deal with all that pent up desire?

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