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Rainbow girls and stuffie-loving boys

March 14, 2011
 |  by Krista

Rainbow girls and stuffie-loving boys

There she stood in the doorway of her bedroom, in all her four-year-old glory. Her tights had wide, horizontal, rainbow-coloured stripes. Her skirt (pushed down below her kindergarten belly . . . the way she likes to wear bottoms) had narrow vertical bands of colour in ten different hues. Her t-shirt was hot pink, and though her hoodie tried to match, really, it was a different shade of rose. “Look, Mommy! I’m a rainbow girl. I’m so bright nobody could lose me today!”  Whew! That’s for sure.

In the split second that parents have to make that right decision, I deliberated on whether I should convince Jess to change clothes . . . or simply pin a sign on her back that read: “I DRESSED MYSELF TODAY!” But in light of our immersion in the Respect lesson, I also considered swallowing my controlling tendencies. My miniature blonde circus clown was revelling in the beautiful colours God gave us to enjoy. Jessica was certain she had this fashion thing licked, and couldn’t wait for her teacher and classmates to see her cheery outfit.

I took a deep breath, smiled and asked if she wanted a matching rainbow hairdo. Her eager acceptance resulted in us using almost every colour of ponytail elastic she had. As she surveyed the finished product in the mirror, Jess glowed. And I had to admit, she was simply beautiful.

Yesterday’s wardrobe episode is causing me to contemplate the past . . . other times when I didn’t choose to respect my child’s choices. What about the era when Ben would sleep with 30-40 stuffed animals (note: he wasn’t an infant)? I’m a minimalist and couldn’t stand the chaos in his bed! Every night when I checked on him before turning in, I’d have to play my own version of “Where’s Waldo?” Once I had located my boy, I would move every last animal to a pile in the corner, just so Ben would have some room to sleep. That’s how I wanted it.

Finally, one day, in frustration, I informed Benjamin that he could choose only ten “stuffies” to sleep with; the others would have to go up in the toy net. Oh, how he cried. Deciding who to keep and who to send away was sheer agony for my son. I almost backed down but then strengthened my resolve by regurgitating vivid memories of my irritating, nightly, stuffie-stacking routine.

I wish I could say the story ended with me finding the grace and wisdom to shut my mouth and re-examine my heart. Were stuffies actually harmful to Ben’s physical well-being? No. Were they going to lead him to a life of crime? No. Was it a battle really worth fighting? No. Why could I not let my heart warm up to the fact that God made my son to love soft, little things? Why could I not respect my son’s desire to fall asleep completely surrounded by cuddly friends? Did I even have to move them every night? I thought so, but maybe I could have just kissed Ben’s sleeping face and left it at that.

Those are hard lessons to learn. Lord, help us to fully respect our rainbow girl and stuffie-loving boy as we raise them for Your glory.

Related Lesson: Respect