We had our family pictures today, which of course meant that we had to wear coordinating outfits. So my husband and I went in search of new coordinating clothing on our “date night” last night.
We decided that “the boys” would wear gray sweaters with bright blue matching Superman t-shirts underneath. The girls would wear gray sweater dresses with pops of hot pink. It was our first official representation of ourselves formally as a family. A pretty big deal.
On the way home, my husband and I chatted about whether we would wash the clothes before wearing them. There really wasn’t time to wash them before bedtime, and there certainly wasn’t time to wash them when we got up. So we decided to cut off the tags, and call it good.
The kids were delighted in their new clothes. We showed them how we were all going to match, and they thought that was hilarious.
I set out our daughter’s clothes on the ottoman in her bedroom for the next morning, and told her to take off her clothes for a shower because it was bedtime. I left the room to throw away the tags from the clothing, and returned to find her sitting on her new clothes, bare-bottomed, with urine running down her legs all over the new clothes, and even into the ottoman and carpet.
Was it because she had too much fun with the babysitter and was too busy to pee? This is her third wetting accident either while a sitter is here, or right after they have left. Is it because we left her with a sitter and so she is getting back at us? Does she have poor bladder control because of an infection, neurologic problem, or is it just “normal” for her? I find it hard to believe that at six she is not fully toilet trained, when African children toilet train very early.
I must admit, I was angry. My husband was even angrier. There was a bathroom 3 feet from her. She peed on her brand new clothes. To be so disrespectful of her new clothing is just baffling.
It’s this and a hundred other moments that I admit make it hard for me to love her. I don’t understand her. I don’t know who she is. The longer I know her, I realize the less I know about her. To strangers, she is a giggly little girl whose smile gets her anything she wants. But it’s just an act, and I know that. I know that as soon as I walk out of the room, the rules for behavior go out the window, and she does as she pleases. I know our sweet little girl is mean to other children at preschool and refuses to share toys. I know she can tease her older brother to the point of tears, and I can’t understand a word she says.
Even though she is my daughter, we are still strangers living under the same roof. I realize that I cannot love her in my own human strength. I need God’s love to love her through my hands, arms, and voice. It’s just too hard to love a child who is mischievous and misbehaving in her worst moments, and to not be able to trust her in her best moments. But she needs the love of a Savior who commands me to welcome her in His name. God, give me strength.