A little over six years ago, the Coach and I were thrilled to be given the gift of our third precious daughter. She evened things up at the troops. Three boys, three girls. She came soon after our fifth - they are just 16 months apart.
We should have known.
For starters, she didn't cooperate for the ultrasound.
My labor with her was one of my hardest.
She was, by far, our fussiest baby. By a long shot. She was healthy, gaining weight (even though she started a tiny 5 lb something), but not happy.
Wouldn't take a pacifier. No siree. But unlike our other two non-paci babies, she never found her fingers. She just cried.
In the grocery store.
In her bed.
In the car.
From her very first Sunday in the church nursery she hated it. Hated. Hated it.
She would climb up on my head when I tried to drop her off. Crying and grasping at everything she could get a hold of.
If the food on her plate touched, or heaven forbid, got mixed up, she came unglued.
She didn't like certain clothes because they felt funny or were scratchy.
If she had the tiniest wrinkle in her sock, it was the end of the world when you put her shoe on.
No talking to strangers for her.
Good grief - no talking to anyone! Sometimes not even her daddy or granddads. It was heartbreaking.
Along with her somewhat OCD behavior (wanting things just so), early on we found a pattern. She didn't like men.
It was tremendously upsetting. I began (in my oft-pregnant, always tired, out of touch mind) to worry that something had happened to her. WHY was she so afraid of men?
Finally the Coach, in his amazing wisdom and NOT out of touch mind, helped me see it differently.
Maybe this was God's protection for her. And WHY were we trying to change that?
So, instead of freaking out about it, I decided to work on her obedience and responding to things that upset her in an appropriate way. I began to picture her as a wife and mother. The most important thing I do with these kids is help shape their character into a wife (or husband) that will be a blessing to their future family, someday. Not a high-maintenance, difficult spouse.
When we moved three and a half years ago, she completely freaked out. I just knew something was wrong with this HOUSE, forheavenssake.
Maybe part of it was spiritual warfare. I believe that is a real battle we face. We did a lot of praying on our knees in that room.
But for her, I think a lot of it was the trauma of the change.
Occasionally we could get her to stay in her class in our new church. As long as there wasn't a man teaching that week!
She started Kindergarten last Fall.
It about did us in.
Of course, I began to doubt our decision. But the Coach stood firm. It was the best thing for her, he said, to learn to function without my leg to hide behind. I wasn't so sure.
But after about two months of it being really rough, she began to do better. Began to like it.
Began to thrive.
In the meantime, she's grown into the most helpful, industrious, hard-working little girl we could ever imagine. She is my helper. I know if I ask her to do something, it will be done quickly, efficiently and for a six year old, VERY WELL.
She's an amazing kid. Brings us such joy. Who would have thought?
For about a year she's gone to Sunday school class with the Coach and I. Sat patiently in an adult class rather than go to her own, which is taught by a wonderful couple (which includes a man).
Know what happened this morning?
She asked to go to her own class.
And tonight? When I tucked her in bed? She told me she would like to go from now on, if that's OK.
If I've learned anything, I've learned this. They'll grow out of most things.
I say MOST things because there are some things that deserve your undivided discipline and attention. No child will grow out of disobedience. Or lying. Or disrespect.
Those kinds of things need to be dealt with. The sooner the better.
But there are a whole lot of things that consume us as parents that are simply not going to be a big deal later on.
The trick, of course, it to know the difference.
Your best source of wisdom? God's Word. Godly Counsel. And the Holy Spirit. If you are a believer in Christ, you have the living Holy Spirit in you at all times. It will guide you and give you direction. And peace.
My point is, don't become discouraged with your kids. They have issues. We ALL have issues. Trust the Holy Spirit to help you pick your battles. Then have the wisdom to know that time does a lot.
I haven't told you half of the things we've struggled through with her. And I know she's only six. We still have a long way to go.
But OH it's worth it. If you could see her happy little self. The joy she has in being my helper. The fun she has greeting and hugging her granddad and papa. If you could have seen her curled up on the couch next to her daddy tonight. Hear her read books to the younger two.
When you think you can't do it anymore, just hang in there.
It's so worth it.