I’ve been thinking alot about parenting my girls lately. They are approaching their role as young women way too fast for my taste. It could have been that we were recently watching a Christmas parade with a young friend who just found out she is expecting her first daughter. It was freezing. Members of the band were dressed as inappropriately as the cheerleaders, maybe more so. Ray’s laughing over my shoulder. I’m standing with my mouth hanging open watching the almost naked band walk by. I asked why he was laughing. He heard our friend mutter, “Note to self. My daughter can’t join the marching band either.”
It’s not just the way they dress. It’s the things that have been spewing from their mouths lately. The words “sexy butt” spewed from the mouth of one of mine the other day. I think she was referring to her own because it certainly wasn’t mine. If I hear one more thing is “HOT,” I’m going to hunt Paris Hilton down and hurt her myself. I don’t think my girls associate that word with her but I do and it’s killing me to hear them use that word the way they do ALL THE TIME. Then there’s the bickering, the bossing, the drama that comes with three little girls. There is always something on my mind about what I’m doing wrong and how I’m going to screw them up. Then there was today.
Arleigh’s girl scout troop was going to Christmas carol at a local nursing home. I sat through 2 hours of cookie training yesterday. Tomorrow I’ll sit through her girl scout Christmas party. Hanan just joined the brownies. I’ve had my fair share. With snow flurries, I really wanted my Sunday afternoon nap. I have been preaching about showing love to others so I told Hanan she was going too and we loaded up the van.
They were brought to a room to sing after an afternoon church service. I pushed my way back with a pile of coats to sit and watch with the residents. I tried to chat up the gentleman next to me and settled in for the show.
As the girls started to sing I scanned the room. These people were so happy just to see children. They were singing along as best they could, clapping and laughing. Then I noticed some of the brownies. They were scared. Hanan and Arleigh were practically glued to each other. I was pretty sure their problem was that they didn’t know the words to every song. This one poor child looked like she was going to be physically ill. Then I realized what was bothering her. For whatever reason (I am struggling for the right words) the people in the front row were the residents who needed the most help. One man trying to sing sounded more like loud, loud moaning. They were all in wheel chairs. I’ve run through my mind how to describe that front row, but everything sounds cruel. I don’t want to be, other than to say I can understand why a child might be uncomfortable.
When their little concert was over, I was making my way up to the girls. I noticed the man closest to me had his arms held out begging for a hug. I saw all the girls near him looking at him not knowing what to do. They looked scared and unsure of themselves. Their mothers started shooing them out trying not to make eye contact. As I walked to the girls to ask them to go over with me, I saw Hanan She ran to one of the ladies on the front row with a huge smile on her face and gave her a huge hug before I could get near her. There was no thought to what she looked like or how she sounded. She just knew that was what was needed. Arleigh saw her too. She looked at me and I smiled and we all joined in.
As we were leaving, Hanan looked up and said she was glad she came. She didn’t want to at first. Then she said, “I got to make them happy Mama! That is my favorite thing to do!” I don’t know how I didn’t cry. I am now just thinking about it. That child. She has such a big, loving, emotional heart. Sometimes I don’t know what to do with it. She taught me and her sister something today, to love with abandon.
As we got to the car I was thinking, maybe we’re okay. Maybe we are doing something right. Then it hit me. It has nothing to do with me. It’s the loving heart God gave her. I pray that we nurture it and grow it. I never ever want to see her lose it. I’m thankful to God that he gave it to her and the rest of us can learn from Hanan and that big old heart she holds in that tiny, tiny little body. I hope I can show her this when she’s older so she’ll know it’s always been there.