I've been thinking and thinking and thinking about my oldest child. She's been a puzzle to me ever since she was old enough to voice her own opinion (and she did that rather early). I love her. I love her so much that I am often blinded to both her faults and her strengths. I pray daily that I might see her as God sees her and that I might be a blessing to her.
She's 14 now. She has a season of monumental growth right on the horizon. Of late, she and I have been deep in question-asking and decision-making.
The other night Daddy was frustrated with her. "She won't do anything!" he huffed. "I'm trying to help her out, and she just refuses."
Because I wasn't the one she'd been difficult with, it was my job to listen to him blow off steam and to be the voice of reason.
Except I wasn't reasonable. "I know! I can't understand it either. She just refuses to work at anything on her own. I've been watching and waiting and letting her try new things, but nothing interests her enough to work for it!"
But I've been thinking (and praying) since then.
I did not speak the truth.
She begged for gymnastics, but didn't try.
She begged for guitar lessons, but wouldn't practice.
She begged to join a soccer team, but says it interferes with her free time.
She begged for voice lessons, but refused to sing in the church choir (my prerequisite for expensive voice lessons).
She begged for piano lessons, but wouldn't practice.
She begged for dance lessons, but said they were boring.
She begged for a job, but tried to find excuses not to report for work.
All of these are true, and they sure paint her in a bad light, but they do not highlight who she is--only who she is not.
If she is completely free to choose what she does, she does her hair and the hair of others.
If she is completely free to choose what she does, she builds things.
If she is completely free to choose what she does, she sings and messes about at the piano and taps out rhythms with her hands and feet.
If she is completely free to choose what she does, she shops for cute clothes and high heeled shoes.
If she is completely free to choose what she does, she makes beautiful wildflower bouquets.
If she is completely free to choose what she does, she reads.
If she is completely free to choose what she does, she makes animal habitats for lizards, snakes, turtles, frogs--any wild creature she finds and successfully captures.
If she is completely free to choose what she does, she spends time with friends.
If she is completely free to choose what she does, she bakes.
If she is completely free to choose what she does, she makes up games and adventures for other kids.
If she is completely free to choose what she does, she practices putting on make up.
She's actually a rather interesting person.
She's rejected so much of what she's thought she wanted, and I've been frustrated to watch money be spent and feel that it has been wasted, but it hasn't. At least we've found out what doesn't work.
She could be so good at anything she's tried if she would only try more, if she would only risk failure to achieve greatness. I want her to realize that!
We'll keep trying.
Perhaps it will be volunteering at the local nature center that lights the fire I know is waiting to be lit. Perhaps it will be a theater make up class that looks interesting. Perhaps she will someday embrace the astonishing leadership skills that are latent within her. Perhaps she will design houses or clothes or weddings or . . . whatever her heart desires.
I don't know.
But she's not impossible
She's not a failure.
She's only growing, trying, testing, learning, accepting, rejecting, wondering.
And I'm going to really look for who she is rather than fuss over who she isn't.