You're Not the Boss of Me

9:50 PMHeather

I'm sitting here, fresh from a great evening with my family. We started our festivities with roasting hot dogs over our fire pit for dinner, topped off with s'mores for dessert, of course. You see, I was traumatized by our last family camping trip two years ago. It was an affair to remember, complete with a preschooler with a violent stomach bug, a forgotten lantern, food ruined by raw chicken juice (which probably explains the stomach bug), a forgotten skillet, AND a rowdy bunch of boy scouts who didn't quiet till the wee hours of a weary night. SO, a quiet little gathering around a fire pit in our backyard is about as far as I've gotten since then.

We capped off our evening watching old home movies, per our children's request. There was our baby girl turning one, and her adorable preschool and kindergarten brothers. We all laughed at their antics, and cried at seeing our dog on film (he died a few years ago). And, I was struck at how thick headed I am when it comes to my mothering. My darling baby was just learning all kinds of new tricks, and throughout the entire 2 hours of film, I asked her repeatedly to "show me--where's your eye?!" She laughed, she pointed to her chin and her belly belly, and she even said the word eye time and time again. But, she never would point to her eye. And I never would quit asking her to perform on MY command, trying to be the boss of her.

Here I am--nearly five years later, still frustrating myself by asking my children to perform on command. Instead of appreciating whatever talent or skill or insight they are currently offering, I am pointlessly trying to get them to follow my agenda, all the time MISSING the moment. One of my best friends was offering this exact wisdom just twenty-four hours ago as we discussed parenting. She encouraged me as I told her I felt God was challenging me to let go of the reigns a bit. My oldest will be heading to middle school next year. I don't have preschoolers anymore. I feel God is showing me to start trusting what we've taught them, showing them I believe in their ability to make wise choices. It's time to start coaching them on fighting fair with their siblings instead of jumping in every time. I need to dialog more, criticize and command less. They are each becoming their own person, growing up so quickly. And my mothering skill set needs to keep up.

SO, next time you hear me asking them to point to their eye while they are busy saying eye for the first time, remind me to stop giving commands and to start relishing who they are.

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