I’m going to keep this one short and sweet, because honestly, I have worn out way too many people this week with my words, most importantly, the littlest little. It became abundantly clear to me yesterday that perhaps I am not a woman of few words as I had once suspected. Apparently, I’m quite the opposite. A brief history of the princess and I (the one we call Pookie): it’s possible we both like to control things. It’s more likely we both have an incessant, nagging, life-consuming need to control things, namely, each other. I find it odd, because typically, I’m more than happy to relinquish control over any situation at the expense of my needs. I value my sanity more. I find myself at the center of the color wheel, the middle of the road when it comes to personality tests. I am more often than not, the “hub,” the one who tries to ensure everything is copacetic and everyone is satisfied. But with the princess, all my feelings of inadequacy and failure seem to take center stage manifesting in the form of a crazy, ugly control freak of a monster akin to Jason Voorhees on Friday the 13th. Perhaps she is the only thing I can control in this world that seems to be spinning out of control. Let’s face it, I can’t even exercise my right to reign over the 17 pound feline, so I’ve set my sights on the next best thing! We fight like sworn enemies. We battle like General Custer and the Indians at Little Bighorn. We have mastered the art of name-calling and manipulation. And I am not proud. But I am tired. And I am ready to affect some serious change.
Wednesday, October 1st, 2014, I picked the food battle once again. I decided it was time to get a handle on Pookie’s snack obsession, my ambivalence to it, and her Cheez-It-Lucky Charms-Nutella-filled destiny. The first three days left me feeling empty and disparate. There have been profanity-filled, insult rich, guilt-inducing “Oh-how-I-wish-I-could-take-that-back” knock down drag outs from sun up to sun down. We have redefined the term “low blow.” I have somehow managed to teach my five-year old how to fight like a 40-year old, bitter woman recently off her meds. My failed attempts to reason with her and explain the detriments of a bad attitude and the bleak, friendless future she faces are frequently met with, “Can we please not talk anymore? Please just stop talking.” I find myself walking a very familiar path of exhaustion once again, mustering up one last breath to utter the all-too-familiar mantra I’ve come to know and love, “I give. You win, pint-sized mini me!” I have fashioned a white flag out of some craft dowels and a wet wipe and I am waving it vehemently from the darkest corner of my closet, wherein I have chosen to take refuge for the time being. And yep, you guessed it, in the darkest recesses of my soul, in another of my darkest hours, in my silent escape (which also happens to house my winter sweaters and several faded pairs of jeans), the still, small voice speaks softly to my heart for the four-thousand, nine-hundred and ninety-seventh time. “You’re on the same team. You’re much stronger together, a house united, not divided. You’re both drowning in a sea of “me me me” and there’s a life raft within reach. Get on board!”
So I did a little research and it took all of five minutes to dig deep enough to pull up this little gem. It’s often used in marriage ceremonies to signify the bond between a husband and wife, but why not a mommy and her strong-willed peanut head? “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
So I lay next to Pookie tonight, stroking her hair, singing lullabies upon request and let the reality of our present dilemma sting my soul. My heart hurts. Why, oh, why have we decided to define our relationship by anger, frustration, anxiety and pride? Why have we chosen to be mortal enemies rather than forever friends? What if instead of fighting like cats and dogs we made a plan to go it together instead of alone? What if we choose to believe that together, we can accomplish immeasurably more to further the kingdom of God than we can ever hope to accomplish alone? What if instead of asserting our dominance over each other on an hourly basis we actually set our sights outward to where the real battle rages? While we’re arguing the validity of shorts under a too-short skirt and debating whose responsibility it is to ensure Barbie and Ken make it safely back to the car after an hour romp at the park, real problems exist in a real world that’s been screaming for salvation for years. Can we not look outside ourselves for a brief moment in time and recognize that we have the power to heal? To help? To model kindness and grace and unity to a world characterized by vanity, arrogance and self-sufficiency?
Let’s do it, pint-sized warrior! Let’s show them what real beauty looks like. Let’s put down the weapons of manipulation and right-fighting and join forces. Let’s show them what teamwork looks like, or better yet, what love looks like. The kind of love that says, “I don’t mind if I don’t win this one. What do you need from me right at this moment? What can I do to make your heart happy and your soul sing?” The kind of love that recognizes that our parts are never greater than the sum. And sadly, the kind of love that is so incredibly contradictory in this day and age we live in, the kind of love that flies in the face of self-preservation, that finds no place in mainstream media and in our schools and on our playgrounds, the kind of love that is mocked and scorned by the so-called “role models” and “heroes” of our time. But the kind of love that will prevail, will show itself real, will reveal the face of a pure, loving and eternal God once and for all...in due time. “It is written: 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” ~ Romans 14:11
Let’s do this, little angel! Let’s give ‘em Hell! (Or maybe Heaven. Let’s just let this one play out as it should, shall we?)!!! But for the love of all things furry, chocolate, pink and sparkly, let’s walk together down this crazy path we call life, hand-in-hand, under the banner of an awesome God. I’m on your side, baby girl, today, tomorrow and forever.