I know I have written about the less than triumphal return of our golden child in his less than golden hour when he flunked out of college, but I haven’t written about my problem child. I have four kids and each one fits nicely into the stereotype for children from homes with where life controlling issues are present. Golden child, scapegoat, class clown, and loner; I never noticed how easily we fit that pattern until I started studying it.
Back to my scapegoat. She is the only girl in a family of boys. She should have been exalted as a princess, but somehow always ended being slighted. I pray daily that she will come out of this season of rebellion and that she will turn her face towards God again.
I remember back to her elementary school days. The days when the world was new and wonderful to her and I wonder what went sideways. I used to not allow myself to think back on those days. I would get so forlorn, washed with a sense of regret on what shoulda/coulda been. But now I embrace the good memories for what they are: reminders from God of the blessing that she really is. And a promise for a future that is still beautiful.
Our neighborhood elementary school always offered a Santa Store for the kids at Christmas. The children in each class would come to gym one week in December and pick out small gifts to purchase for their family and friends. The PTA moms would arrange the gifts by price down the long tables. When the children had made their selections, they would pay for their treasures and the go to the gift wrap table where volunteers would help them wrap up presents before they went back to class. It was a lot of fun for the parents as well as the kids. Seeing the random things that the kids would purchase.
When it was my daughter’s class’ turn, I took a coffee break so I wouldn’t see the wonderful stash of goodies she had in store for the family. I knew the paltry amount I had given her that morning wouldn’t buy much and was just hoping it would be enough for a small something for each brother. I don’t remember what she bought that Christmas just her eyes that were beaming over her gifts as she left the gym so proud that she was big enough to purchase gifts for her family.
When I returned to the gym, one of the moms that had helped told me about her shopping experience. My little girl had carefully selected each item and totaled them on a separate sheet of paper so that there wouldn’t be any surprises at check out. She would set things back and reselect as her budget allowed until she had something small yet meaningful to her for each family member. Then she purchased her gifts, reconsidered one item, and eventually finished her shopping. Each gift was carefully tied with ribbon at the gift wrap table and adorned with a label that was meticulously lettered by her. She loving chose everything and carefully budgeted her meager funds.
She’s 21 now, but I still see some of those traits on her today. Even in the midst of her rebellion. She loving selects items for people at Christmas, but carefully weighs the cost. She puts as much of herself into giving to others as she can currently afford. Her compassion for others hasn’t diminished in her search for self. She is still the same beautiful child of God that she was when she was small, she has just veered off course.
God gives me the good memories so I can focus on all that was and still is wonderful about her, and leave the anxious worrying of motherhood behind. I can rest in the knowledge that this time will not last any longer than her snaggle-toothed grin did. She is beautifully and wonderfully made by God and He loves her more than I could ever hope to. God has got this. He holds her close. I want her restored immediately, but God has his own timing in this. I want her to go to counseling one day and be pronounced “cured” when she gets home, but that isn’t the way it works.
So each day I pray for kids. And each day I remember something good about who they were and hope in God’s vision of who they will one day become. I was once in a season of rebellion, but I made it through. I believe that God will continue guide her and one day she will follow. Until that day, I will relish the good times and not worry about the bad. I’m not going to live a life of regret and if-onlys anymore. I will press into his comforting embrace and believe in answered pray for my darling daughter!
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, and a part-time basket case who wants to be a full time writer.