People love to tell me I’m going to miss this. That one day I’ll look back in real wonder at the absolute chaos that my life was during this time before “real” school. That one day this will be a hazy half-memory where I marked through the hard and bad things and remembered only the beautiful to pass on to the next tired mom at Target. While I’m sure I will miss it and I’m already feeling heavy waves of sentimentality as we are mere months away from kindergarten what I care about more is that I don’t miss it now. That I don’t miss all these tiny things that add up to the really big things.
This morning I was asking the two oldest to clean up their puzzles before they could watch TV (while Colbie came behind them and dumped said puzzles out on the ground) I saw Claire stuff one puzzle under the trampoline and then look up to see me standing there. For my rule-following first born this was the most upsetting thing that could happen, being caught doing the wrong thing with no way out. I told her if she’s going to do something to do it right and asked her (in my stern mom tone) to find the box the puzzle went in.
As she went to grab the box I heard her mumble, almost incoherently, “I’m just different from everyone else.”
“Claire, what did you say?” I asked completely caught off guard.
“I said I’m different, I just don’t do the right thing.”
“Claire will you come to my bathroom while I get ready so we can talk, don’t worry about the puzzles.”
She followed behind me shoulders slumped. As I got ready I asked her two simple questions, why do you think that and who told you that?
Who told my perfectly made, uniquely gifted, tenderhearted, outlandishly kind, five years old she was different? The girl who made me a mom, who has a father in heaven who knows the number of hairs on her (Psalm 139:13-14), and a savior who would go to any lengths to win her tender heart (Romans 5:8). Who spoke such bold lies into the heart of my beautiful girl? I can tell you who, the same deceiver who whispers lies right in my heart when I am not listening to the truth of my savior. The same liar who is consistently trying to pull at the threads of truth I am working to teach my kids daily (Mark 4:15). The father of lies who knows just the right words to makes us doubt who we are and where we belong (Ephesians 6:11&16). See, Claire is harder on herself than I am on her, she loses confidence at the smallest infraction because she expects perfection from herself. I have seen this in her from an early age so what’s the perfect attack for my perfection seeking daughter? The LIE that everyone else is doing a better job than her, that everyone else has some magic potion that keeps them doing the right thing all the time.
I pulled her chin up to look at my eyes and I spoke the truest words over her that I knew, “Claire, God made you perfectly with a purpose and there is nothing you can do to make him or us love you less. Don’t tell yourself lies like that.”
Then I made her list out all the ways she was created uniquely with a purpose and I saw her eyes brighten and her gaze lift as we talked about the things about her that were true. The joy she brings to her dad and me, the incredible friend she is to her siblings, and the helper she is to teachers. I reminded her how many times I screwed up and had to ask for her forgiveness and I reminded her perfection is only for God, he doesn’t expect that from her and neither does her dad or me. She bounced back to her brother’s room with renewed confidence.
This is what we cannot miss. Forget the long days and sleepless nights, the dread of illnesses, and the agony of mom guilt. I don’t want to miss the teachable moments that will make or break my kid’s heart in this season. We won’t be able to catch them all but we must be available to see the ones that really matter. I won’t send my girl into the world believing her performance for others will earn her love or acceptance. No, I will teach her that dependence on God gives us freedom. It starts now. Today, she must start hearing the truth before the lies are so loud she accepts them as fact. That I won’t miss.