Good Mommy/Bad Mommy

The other day Lilla was reciting a list to me of all the things she wanted to be when she grows up. It went something like this, “A ballerina, a doctor, someone who tells people about God, a rockstar (because, you know, she totally knows what THAT means) and a mommy.”

This is what ensued next:

I asked, “You want to be a mommy?”

Lilla, “I do. I want to be a mommy when I grow up.”

Me, “Why do you want to be a mommy?”

Lilla, “Because you are a mommy.”

Me, “Oh, do you think I am a good mommy?”

Lilla, “Sometimes. Sometimes you are a bad mommy.”

Me, (crushed, mind you), “Why am I a bad mommy?”

Lilla, pausing, “Weeeeeelllll…sometimes you yell at me.”

And with that, she went back to her play kitchen and started cooking up something for me.

I, of course, had the wind knocked out of me. How much more in perspective could life be than when your four year old tells you you are a bad mommy when you yell at her?

I grew up with a mom who yelled at me. ALL.THE.TIME. It was the main method of communication in our home. Or miscommunication, if you want to get all technical. Lots of fun memories with that, as you can imagine. Now, I want to follow that up with saying, I love my mom, I think she did the best with what she could. She has many stressors and never learned to parent well. But, I also believe she would even tell you this. She was a yeller. It was a coping mechanism, I suppose.

Growing up I swore I would not do that, and I will admit it is not nearly the extent of my own formative years. However, my heart hurts to think this is the way my own daughter thinks of me. I want her to look back with fond memories of cuddles and laughs and songs, not fear or anger or tears. It breaks me that she sees me as harsh.

So, after asking my sweet baby for forgiveness, I am on my knees. That is all I can do. Beg a Saviour who sees and knows, who created me to be mommy to Lilla and Anna, who loves them and loves me. And He…He is capable of change.

Lamentations: 22It is because of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions never fail. 23They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.


A boost

My youngest daughter, Anna, is now 16 months old. She is very mobile and one of her favorite things to do is climb the stairs. She races over to them as fast as possible and then flies up them in a flash. Of course we are still concerned she will fall, so we try hard to have someone behind her as she goes up. We want her to learn how to climb stairs, so in case we aren’t there and she finds her way up someday, she will be able to do it safely. However, we also want to protect her from falling down.

Our four year old, Lilla, is particularly vigilant about staying with Anna on the stairs. She hovers over her as she slowly makes her way to the top. She is only slow at these times because Lilla is so close to her that she is practically holding Anna’s body down, just giving her enough room to get to the next step. Sometimes Anna tires along the way and you can see Lilla giving her a bit of boost on the bottom to make sure she makes it. Lovingly, Lilla painstakingly follows behind Anna to make sure that “my baby” (as she refers to her) makes it to the top ok.

As I watch this interaction, I can’t help but think how God sees his “babies” (us). He wants so much for us to reach the top of the stairs, the mountaintops in our lives, to fully receive all that He has for us. There are dangers, we sometimes miss a step, or slip down a stair or two, but God is always there protecting us and giving us a little push when we may need it. And don’t we all need it sometimes?

In Jeremiah 29:11, God said, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” I believe that is still true for us today. God has a plan for each of us, and each step in our lives is all a part of it.

I hope you feel His boost today.

Wordless Wednesday – Hey…wait for me!!

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10 Smile Tuesday – Chicago Edition

This past weekend we attended a wedding for my cousin, Jay, and his new bride, Lisa. A lot of extended family was there. A lot of family we have not seen in a long time. Except on facebook, which in our day and age kinda counts. 🙂 Anyway, we had lots of fun and so lots of smiles to share.

1. Seeing Anna in the exact same dress I took a picture of Lilla in so long ago!

2. Getting a picture of the four cousins all dressed up. I love pretty dress pictures, but it is rare to get four little girls like this all at once! And, the very first time they are all STANDING. Yahoo!

3. And speaking of standing, the biggest smile is that Anna has taken off walking. That is all she wants to do lately. She is spreading her wings!

4. Seeing my very favorite Marine after nearly 2 years! My brother, Chris, is back from Japan and got to come to the wedding before heading off now to California.

5. Seeing Chris dance with the girls at the reception. He’s such a great Uncle!

6. The wedding, which was lovely and sweet.

7. The food at the reception was so yummy! Seriously, I will remember the food. Which, I never do. They had the best bruschetta and crabcakes…oh, I could have ate them forever. And this yummy dessert!

8. And we went to the zoo on Saturday.

9. Where we got to spend some time up close and personal with the animals.

10. Oh, and last but not least, because I grew up in Chicago there is always a place I need to stop and devour…Portillo’s. They have THE most amazing Italian Beef sandwhiches that I could just eat and eat and eat. I don’t know what they put in that gravy but it is fantastic!!

I must admit I also ate like 4 lbs of rice pudding from Jewel. I’m so not kidding. I think that equals about 3200 calories! Just from the pudding. I’m on a diet today. It’s like water and carrots. That’s it. No peanut butter eggs that my husband so cruelly put in my freezer, no twinkies stashed in the cabinet, and no more sweet sugary drinks. Oh, it’s gonna be hard…but I’ll smile at the result, for sure!

What are you smiling about this week?

Sometimes you just need to sing

Wordless Wednesday

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A true blessing

Yesterday, on my way into Wal-Mart, I was carrying Anna in one arm and pulling Lilla through the parking lot with the other, my big old purse dangling all the while. A kind gentleman walking beside me hurried in front of me to open the door.

He then said, “Wow, you’ve got quite the load there!”

I replied, “I sure DO!”

He shot back, “It’s not a bad thing though.”

Thoughtfully I said, “No, it’s a blessing.”

I could hear he and his companion behind me making Awe noises, to which I smiled. We then went our separate ways.

But as I placed the girls in their seats and started walking the massive aisles, the girls started arguing about this, whimpering about that and, of course, I became frustrated. My blood pressure is rising as I’m trying to cajole them into behaving, which, of course, is not working, which is making me even more upset. (Shhhh…don’t tell anyone but the only thing that works for us is Pringles. Another story altogether!)

Anyway, as I was rushing through the store, my voice raising and with my two little ones in tow, I suddenly remembered that simple exchange with the man at the door. These babies are blessings I said, but was I really treating them that way? Was I loving them with all my heart? Was I showing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control with these gifts I had been given?

No, I sure wasn’t. I was thinking selfishly of what I needed to get done, my own agenda, my own wants. I think back to the verse, “Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3

I’m going to be asking the Lord to write that verse on my heart and never let me forget what my babies are.

Nothing short of a blessing.

And so, my prayer today is, Thank you Lord for these blessings you have put in my life. Please help me not to take them for granted. Help me to love as you love, to show kindness, gentleness, peace, patience and self control, just as you would want me to. Thank you for loving me and showing me how to love others. Help me to love well. Amen.

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