When my daughter was around two, her hair finally started growing. Unlike all of her brothers, who had hair from birth, she was slick bald for the first year and a half of her life. The amazing thing about her hair were the curls! I have board straight hair so I love naturally curly hair. She had little, brown ringlets that encircled her face and accentuated her beautiful brown eyes. She was a pretty little angel, and I had the privilege of being her mom!
The only problem with her curly hair was me. I had experienced a lifetime of straight hair; it was all I really knew. Managing curls and the accompanying frizz was completely foreign to me. But every day I would look into her large, lovely eyes and try my best.
She was adorable, and I so often felt like I wasn’t up to the responsibility of being her mom so I prayed, a lot, for God to do what I couldn’t. There were times when I would look into her large eyes and I felt like I could see what she was feeling. She was always so expressive with those eyes, one look and my heart would break.
One day when I had put her down for her nap, I went to the back yard to do a little gardening. I had the baby monitor clipped to my pocket so I assumed it would be a great day out in the yard. It was, for me. I got quite a bit accomplished, but one small detail escaped my eye. I hadn’t turned the receiver on.
When I walked back in the house, my daughter was desperately screaming outside my bedroom door. Her curls had worked up into a frantic frizz around her round cheeks and her eyes were so desperately sad. She had crawled out of her toddler bed and put her dirty, pink Minnie Mouse shoes on the wrong feet and come to see where I was. When her small hands were unable to open my bedroom door, she panicked and worked herself up into a frenzy. By the time I got there, she was sobbing by the door, desperately grasping the knob in her hands. Wearing nothing but Winnie the Pooh panties and dingy slip-ons she looked like a poor little, unwanted waif. When she looked up and saw me standing there, her eyes told the story that her two-year-old brain couldn’t verbalize. She thought she had been abandoned, discarded, forgotten. She ran into my arms with a mournful wail of “Mama”. My heart broke. How could my beautiful girl think I would ever dessert her?
I never forgot that moment. I felt inadequate to be her mother then and the feeling has haunted me throughout the subsequent years. I think that is part of being a mom. Blessed by such an incredible gift and afraid to mess it up.
The gift grows up though, and it can depart from all the things you can have tried to instill in it. My baby girl entered a period of rebellion a few years ago and I have felt so lost. How could God have not heard any of the prayers I poured over my baby? How did he let her get so off course?
I do receive solace when I look into her eyes. They have never changed. They are still the windows to her soul that reveal so much of what she is feeling at any given time. And sometimes when I look into them I can still see the terrified little girl cowering by my door feeling completely abandoned and alone. Her hair maybe the colors of the rainbow, but her eyes have remained the same.
I wish I could gather her into my arms and hold her tight like she was little and comfort her fears away, but I can’t. She knows some of the horrible things that the world has to offer; things I haven’t been able to shield from her life, even though I tried.
I have finally come to the realization that as much as I want what I feel is best for her in her life, I have to let her live her life. As much as I love her, God loves her more. As much as I think I know what is best, God really knows what is best.
Those beautiful brown eyes still need their mom, but they need God even more. I can’t catch her up in my arms and comfort her the way I used to, but God can still hold her close in a way I never could. She needs to press into His merciful comfort and receive the love and grace and healing that only He can offer, and I need to trust that the prayers I prayed so fervently when she was young are being answered now and in the future.
I can’t continue to beat myself up for problems in my daughter’s life. I have to trust that God is working in her life in wonderful ways I can’t fathom. My interference isn’t needed, but a little loving encouragement would probably be welcomed.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, and a part-time basket case who wants to be a full time writer.