I gathered up all the supplies and invited Micaela to the couch for our afterschool homework. I have been so excited to have Micaela interested in "reading " again. For nearly 3 months she was on total strike of all academic-related activities. However, for the last few weeks she has engaged in reading books and doing some learning activities on the tablet.
On today's stack of books was "Dear Dragon Goes to the hospital." She loved it, flapping her hands excitedly with terms and scenery she is more than familiar with. However, she didn't want to say all the words with me, instead, for several pages, she became fixed on saying, "Oh, no, he has owie." It wasn't even part of the text. It was just a comment I had made. Frustrated at her lack of attention on the following pages, I let out a deep angry breath. Disappointment and a familiar fear filled me. What if she never learns to read?
I buried my head in my hands and felt my heart pulse in my ears.
Micaela's small fingers reached up and pulled my hands away from my eyes. A grin, reaching from ear to ear, filled her face and she said, "Peek-a-boo!" I chuckled and remembered something I had learned that day called "The Manual".
It was on a podcast for weight loss where a physician was talking about relationships. She said, that often we are at odds with the people in our life simply because they are not acting in compliance to the "manual" we have in our heads about the way they are supposed to act. Usually, neither they nor us are aware of this detailed collection we have about the way they are supposed to act and talk. All we are aware of is our disappointment, anger, and frustration we feel when they don't toe the line.
Micaela has no idea her Mama expects her to read, go to the bathroom by herself, and behave like a normal human being. In her world, she just wants to talk about "owies" and play peek-a-boo. My expectations for her future get in the way of enjoying who she is. Period. And, it is not just her. I have manuals for all the people in my life that do not serve me in my interactions with them. Those expectations dirty the lens from which I view the people that I love.
We finished the homework and played peek-a-boo. I realized that on so many levels, making sure Micaela feels loved, balms both her soul and my own. I can do the hard work of helping her learn and grow, but I have to accept that she is the one who will do that learning and growing. Just like I have my own areas of imperfections in need of change.
God loves us beyond our brokenness with a complete and perfect love. I ask Him to give me a heart more like His as I parent my girls.
the Lord appeared to him from far away.
In what ways are your expectations for other people getting in the way of enjoying who they are?
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"...and God was already there with me."