My darling 8-year-old daughter drew this picture for me the other night.
Yes, that’s a picture of me, Josie’s “at times mean” mom. Based on the picture she drew of me, I was having one of my mean moments. And to be sure that the message was clear, she reiterated the “at times mean” part in the heart she drew next to my portrait.
When she gave me this masterpiece, I could tell she was a little apprehensive of what my reaction would be.
What did I do?
I laughed and agreed with her.
I am 100% okay with her describing me this way. I’m even okay with her drawing me to look like that.
Had she said I was hateful or hurtful, then that would have absolutely bothered me.
But for her to call me mean doesn’t bother me at all.
Because sometimes I am “mean”.
I love my daughter. I adore her, really. She is by far one of my very favorite humans on this planet.
And every day I am doing my best to raise her to be a kind, compassionate, responsible human.
And believe it or not, she does not always comply nor appreciate my efforts.
Not too long ago, I was at my wit’s end with her. After a particularly trying stretch of sassiness, I ended up telling her that I wasn’t going to tell her what do to anymore because she was clearly grown and did not need me to tell her what to do. I also told her that the next day she needed to go find a job and start paying me rent and for her own clothes, groceries, etc.
I’m pretty sure Tyson told her it would be in her best interest to stay away from me for the rest of the evening.
I remember sitting by myself later that evening thinking about Mary. (As in Jesus’ mom.)
First of all, did Jesus get an attitude with her? Did he question everything she told him and tell her that she was wrong? Did he give 50% effort at the tasks she gave him to do? Did he complain every single time he had to take a bath???
If so, how did she handle herself? Was she able to remain calm and patient? Did she ever raise her voice? Did she tell him not to come complaining to her when he got cold because he refused to dress appropriately for the colder weather? Did she tell him to go get a job when he was 8?
Surely Jesus did not put his mother (or father) through these trials. But if he had, how would she have reacted?
I have no doubt her reaction would be the exact opposite of mine on many, if not most, occasions. (After all, she was full of grace, and I am definitely not.) But I do like to think that I do at least one thing that she might have done. And that’s to ask God to help me. To help guide me in teaching and disciplining this headstrong, independent, too-smart-for-her-own-good daughter of mine so that she becomes the person He designed her to be and wants her to be. So that she leads a happy, fulfilling life.
I think she knows that I want nothing but the best for her. I tell her why I want her to be ready to work hard, learn from her mistakes, be kind to others, and shower regularly. Whether or not she’s listening is really the question.
Most importantly, I know that she knows that I love her. And not just because she drew not one but two hearts in her picture. But because I tell her that all the time. And I do my best to show her that all the time, too.
Even when I’m being mean.