|Celebrating Catholic Motherhood|
Catholic Kids *
Catholic Adoptive Parenting Columnist Heidi Hess Saxton
Color Me Daring
She flits into a room full of adults clad in a bathing suit and snow hat, an Elmo slipper on one foot and a Sunday patent-leather number on the other. Her “lovey,” the grubby bit of flannel that she has held hostage since she was old enough to toddle on her own steam, is tied under her armpits, stepping-out-of-the-shower style.
“Mama,” she wants to know. “Do you love me?”
Truth be told, to the untrained eye she looks a wee tad schizophrenic in that get-up. But to me, she is beautiful, and I tell her so without preamble. “Always and forever, my darling girl.” And with that, she skips off to annoy her brother.
Snow pants and flip flops. Tiara and fireman coat. Glittery pink nail polish on nails that look as though they have been digging to China. On one level, her confidence is breathtaking.
Her willfulness, on the other hand, can be equally impressive. She steps out of her bedroom dressed for nursery school in one of these get-ups, and expresses her displeasure in no uncertain terms if I send her back to, say, put her tights on over her underwear and find a dress to wear over that (instead of her bathing suit bottom, worn with the crotch over one shoulder).
“She knows what she wants … shades of her mother,” Sarah’s Daddy teases me. I smile, but it is a grim, determined grin. The part that gives me hope is that, no matter how confident her strut, she always holds herself up to my gaze for affirmation.
“Do I look pretty, Mommy?”
“Oh, yes, Sarah-Bear. Pretty on the outside, AND pretty on the inside. And which is the most important?”
“Right. And how do we stay pretty on the inside?”
“By choosing to do good.”
“Yeah! Now, do you know what you need to do to ‘do good,’ Sarah?”
She thinks a minute, then shakes her head, eyes large and sober.
“How about we pick up all those clothes off the floor before you go to school?” She starts to protest, but something makes her stop and – for once – start doing as she is told without pitching a fit. And for that fleeting second, I can point to one more ‘proof” that in the great battle of nurture vs. nature, the rebel gene appears to be a recessive trait.
Now if we can just get the “fashionista” gene to take a break…
Dear Heavenly Father: As our children form their sense of self, may we
always image back not simply what we want them to be, but what YOU want them
to be. No matter how they came to be entrusted to us – through adoption,
foster care, or pregnancy – may we never lose sight of the fact that they
are first and foremost YOUR children. They are on loan to us only for a
time. Thank you for that unspeakable gift, now matter how strange the
wrapping. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
2037 W. Bullard #247
Fresno, CA 93711
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