Tuesday, October 20, 2009
My thoughts for Jaycie's 4th Birthday
Our Jaycie turned 4-years-old this past weekend. It’s really quite crazy how much can change in 4 short years. To be honest, I was in shock when God gave us Jaycie. Jaycie is just a little too much like me. Rod was traveling. My grandpa died. My dad got cancer. Rod’s dad had cancer. Our dads died. I had another baby.
Our little girl has always known what she does and does not want. And she expresses it. Her fears and insecurities come out in a way that leave me frustrated. She whines and screams for no apparent reason which leave me wanting to do nothing but get away. Until recently...
My mom accompanied myself and the two little girls on a visit to the zoo where we met my cousin and her family for the day. Jaycie started in pretty early with her whining and yelling. I was determined to enjoy the day. Thank God for mom. I just handed Jaycie to my mom as I pretended I couldn’t hear and showed the animals to the baby. This is when I overheard my mom talking to Jaycie. “The bears cannot come out by us, Jaycie. Look at their home. See how they put that big hole between us and the bears? They cannot get out.” I later asked my mom if Jaycie told her she was scared that the bears would get out. She hadn't. My mom just decided that there had to be a reason behind Jaycie’s irrational screams and identified Jaycie‘s fear.
I do not have any patience or understanding for my yelling child. And it is fairly common knowledge that I am of the mindset that people need to communicate with one another. My daughter was simply not doing that. I shake my head as I think about it now. Who really expects a baby or toddler to sit down and say, “Mom, we need to talk. I don’t enjoy going to the zoo because I am afraid that the animals will come out and attack us. Do you think there is some way we could find something else to do for entertainment?” I mean, seriously?
I have been nothing short of irritated with my daughter because she will not talk to people. For that matter, she won’t even give them eye contact! And it’s not just "don't knows". It’s family and friends that she sees fairly often. Recently, a friend enlightened me with some outside perspective. “She physically cannot bring herself to talk to people in public, Tristi. She just can’t do it.” Although I still have a hard time accepting this, what I did hear was that my expectations are way too lofty.
What God is teaching me through my family and friends is that my problems with Jaycie are not because of Jaycie. My problems with Jaycie are all right here. I am the problem. Thankfully, it's not too late to change.
There have always been things I have thoroughly enjoyed about Jaycie. I have always and will always love her. Her smile has always been able to light up my life. I am continually thanking God for her. And yet, I realize that there is so much more to her to love and enjoy. If I will simply invest the time in her!
With a little investment of time and a bit of patience on my part, Jaycie is beginning to come out of her shell. I cannot help but wonder if she wouldn’t have blossomed sooner if I had simply had a little patience. If I would have taken the time to stop and attempt to place myself in her shoes for just a moment. It would have been very helpful if I had just worked a little harder to understand the bigger picture rather than get caught up on everything that overwhelmed me. I cannot change the past. I can, however, change the future. And I have already started.
Jaycie is full of life. When I take the time to notice, I see her being kind to her baby sister. I see the way she looks up to her big sister and wants to imitate so much of what she does. When I take the time, I see how she lights up because I take 5 minutes to read a book to her or complete a puzzle. When I stop for the moment, I can see how she fills up with joy from spending one-on-one time with her daddy. In the quiet moments, I can cherish memories in my heart and I see how a little encouragement takes her such a long way.
To Jaycie on your 4th Birthday...
I will let you down. Daddy will let you down. Every person here on earth will let you down. Don't find your identity in your family or friends. Although I love you thoroughly, don't search for your acceptance in Daddy and I. There is only One who does not change. One who is consistently loving you unconditionally. I pray that you come to know how very much God loves you. I pray that I can love you in the way He commands me to. And when I let you down, Jay, please forgive me. I screw up all the time. And I'm sorry. I love you imperfectly. I'm thankful that God's perfect love is there for you. And I will continue to pray that He teaches me to love you better. Because Jaycie, I do love you more than words could ever express.