Sunday, November 16, 2008

A joyful noise.

I don't understand her at all, this little golden haired child of mine. I adore her, I admire her, and I wish to God I could be just like her.

But I don't understand her.

I've lived my life being afraid. Feeling inadequate. Feeling unintelligent. I've never felt like I belonged anywhere to anything.

She, on the other hands, fits right in no matter where she is. Absolutely everyone loves her. She handles every situation with a cool grace that is unusual for a child her age. She makes straight A's in school. And? She's gorgeous. The child has legs up to her neck and dimples which require their own zip code.

It's taken me a long time to admit this, but I think?

I might be a little jealous of her.

Jealous of my own child.

It's ridiculous really. But at times I've found myself feeling unnecessarily annoyed with her. At the little things she does. At how she follows me around endlessly wanting sections of the newspaper that I'm reading. How if I say, "Did you do your homework?" it's already done and all correct and she's reading Harry Potter and eating a brownie and never gains any weight.

Jealous. Of my own child.

I squash these feelings, honestly. I think she has absolutely no idea I feel this way. I always have smiles for her, and love. She's a really terrific kid. I'm awfully proud of her. I think it's not really, real actual jealously I feel toward her, it's just longing. Just wishing that my life more mirrored hers.

Most of the time, I just wish I could be more like her.

This morning as we walked through the frigid air into the warmth of the fellowship hall, the Girl asked, "Whose turn is it to sit next to you?"

The Boy and the Girl? Always want to take turns sitting next to me.

I put my arm around her and told her she could sit beside me.

So she did. She slid in first, then me, then the Boy, and then Jason.

The girl had on a purple dress today. I had on a purple sweater. She had carefully picked out earrings which were purple stars. I noticed and told her how proud I was that she was making such a good effort to match her pretty earrings with her clothing so well. She smiled her dimpled smile.

It was time to sing and we stood up. I held the hymnal between us.

I've sang for years and years. I quasi-learned to read music when I was a young kid, taking piano lessons from a mean lady who looked like an owl, but I really, really learned to sing when I was in the 9th grade and in chorus in my high school. Because of that high school chorus I had many opportunities to sing, in a variety of places.

I could hear myself singing the old hymns. My voice, I'll admit, is good. I don't sing loudly, but my voice is strong. It is sure. It is steady.

The girl child followed along with my finger and began to sing. Loudly.

Loudly and horribly, horribly off-key.

So much so, that I began to chuckle. It started out as a slight giggle in my throat and then I had to stop singing because I couldn't control it.

This perfect little child? Cannot carry a tune in a bucket.

I looked down at her and she was totally oblivious to the fact that I was laughing. She was busy.

She was busy singing.

So full and sincere was this child's heart, that she was singing. Loudly and off-key, but she was singing her heart out.

Psalms 100:1 - Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

It hit me like a ton of bricks.

This was her joyful noise.

It also occurred to me, just then, that the major difference between the Girl and I is that she was in no way bothered by the fact that she doesn't have the most beautiful voice in the room. She was there with a pure heart, lifting her voice to the Lord. Only because she wanted to sing. Only because she was unafraid. Only because she was enjoying the message and not worried about what anyone would think of her.

I realized that is why she excels at life, whereas I suck at it.

She doesn't worry about what anyone else thinks. She worries about what she thinks.

I realized, again, for the millionth time that I am blessed with an amazing child.

But I won't be jealous of her anymore. I'll just try to be more like her. Because who she is? Is awesome.

The singing was over and we sat down, side by side. I whispered to her,

"You are such an enthusiastic singer!"

And she smiled that smile. Those dimples.

She's my girl.


Kim said...

I love how you love your kiddos.

Anonymous said...

I have kids too that I admire. It's a great feeling, a surprising, wonderful feeling. You guys are lucky to have each other. love, V

Toritopia said...

Chick, just remember that she is who she is because of you. She has learned from watching you. Which means that although you may not think that you possess the same qualities as your daughter, you do on some level. Because she looks up to you and looks to you for how to be. Yes, it is of course part of her nature, but you foster all those wonderful qualities in her. You are a wonderful mother. Keep it up.

~Sheryl said...

toritopia said what I was going to say... only better. Mine was more like...

Dude, she gets it from you!

Stephanie, you are raising amazing children. You.

Angie said...

I was going to tease you about not using the word "douchebag" in your blog etnry today -- but rather than do that (LOL) I'm going to tell you that this is some of the most precious, beautiful writing EVER!!!

giants fan said...

that made my heart smile!!!

Anonymous said...

I love that you want to be like your kids.

Kimberly said...

Though they're young yet, I often feel that way about my kids. They have so much more confidence and strength than I ever did. I don't know what I'm doing right, but I hope I keep it up.

On the bad days it helps to remember that I must have had SOME part in how incredibly awesome my kids are.

You have too.

Such a beautiful post, Steph.

Christy said...

This is a truly beautiful, stunning and vulnerable entry - I love it. I see so much of myself in your writing (your insecurities, your fierce love for your children, etc) and I could totally relate to all you expressed. I find myself jealous of my daughter too - mostly because she's not full of all the fear that I am. She's more self-assured and confident than I am today, much less when I was 10.
Good for you for realizing that her joyful noise is just that, hers, it's beautiful to God and encouraging her. You are an AWESOME mom.

Meagan said...

This post is really heartwarming, Chick. Probably because it comes from such an honest place. That's what I love about your writing.

Heather J. said...

My eldest is everything I ever wanted to be, she is loving and funny. She is Tall, gorgeous and oh so intelligent.
Her hair shines in the sunlight and her smile glows in the dark.

MDA said...

Very nice post. You are blessed in many ways. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post. I can totally see the love there. She gets all this confidence from you. And I must admit I can't carry a tune. Actually neither can my mom, dad, or bro. For some or other bizard reason my sis can sing beautifully LOL.

Enjoy your kids!!

I am Trish Marie said...

Love this post. It reminds me so much of how I feel about Jill. I watch her in amazement, because she never fears what people think of her. She has no understanding of judgement, because she herself does not judge. My seven-year-old is better at making conversation and friends than I am!

CPA Mom said...

such a beautiful tribute to a beautiful child...from her beautiful mother!! She is who is she because of you, don't ever forget that! said...

I hope she's able to carry that into her teenage years, because that would be wonderful.

Stephanie said...

That was absolutely beautiful. Made me all teary.

Anonymous said...

I have a loving mom like your daughter does -- now I'm an old woman, my mom is still with me and I thank God every day for pairing me with her. Isn't a loving family the best ever?!!!

Teena in Toronto said...

She sounds like a great kid!

You're lucky to have each other :)

SJ said...

Aw Chick, that was moving. Such a beautiful bit about your daughter.

Figments said...

I feel the same way. Children are really inspiring. I wish everyone could keep that spirit.

Rachel said...

This post right here, Steph? This post is why you are publishing a book. You have an amazing gift. And, I am jealous of you.

Lil Mouse said...

im totally jealous of my three week old. but no one screams at her, she gets fed and is allowed to do nothing but sleep, oh and everyone thinks she's adorable. what's not to be jealous of?

Emma in Canada said...

I think that in three years of reading blogs this was the most beautiful post I have ever read. By anyone.

I hope she gets to read this one day. In fact, if I were you, I would print this post out, and, if you took a picture of the two of you in the purple dress and sweater I would make a scrapbook page out of them.