Thursday, December 30, 2010

One is more SHY than I knew...

The igloo that Brian made melted into the shape of a popular prehistoric monument....
See if you can guess which one. : )How have I been so blind, to have simply blamed it all on her? How could I? She's a child. And I, the adult. And yet, I have.
'Brian, she is the problem'.
'She needs more punishment.'
'More discipline.'
'More correction.'
It never dawned on me, the problem could be ME.

She has been temperamental. She seems unhappy. But mostly, I noticed a generally very poor attitude. Really, it was a stinky-foul attitude.

So instead of her. God put a big bulls eye on me. And then fired truth right into my heart. Penetrating. And it came through the most unlikely of places. From my Dad. Which is not the surprising part. The surprising part, is that he was awake enough to hear and listen to my heart. The chemotherapy has kept him so incredibly tired and fatigued that he has been unable to really focus on conversations. So I shared my heart. What had been going on with Carlisle. The situation. He sat on the side of the hospital bed and listened carefully. I told him some of the things that she said to me in the past months. My reactions.
(Christmas in the hospital)

He said. 'Love her.' I wanted to interrupt and explain just how bossy and yucky she's been. How incredibly unpleasant. But he was firm. And true. His eyes weld up with tears. He said again. 'Love. Her.' I felt enlightened and relieved. He went on to talk about how important caring for and loving our children is. He was sitting on the side of the bed. I just felt sad. I knew the job that I had been doing wasn't enough. I was failing her. I am a lover. I love everybody. But even a lover shy's away from those who are unkind and difficult. Of course I love her. I'm her mother. But I wasn't loving her in the way SHE needed to be loved. I was being unfair. I was not giving her love unconditionally. I wasn't being fair. The thought of that really stung.
The nurse comes in to check Dad's vitals and I slip out into the hall, but not before grabbing my cell phone. I call my friend taking care of my older two girls that day. I ask to speak to Carlisle. Carlisle answers.
I feel accused. Accused of not being loving. But I am the accuser.
I tell her how much I love her. I then launch into a big date proposal. I call it a Mommy Carlisle day. I say, 'you know how Mommy and Daddy love to go on dates each week....I was hoping that you and I could go on a date!' She tries to interrupt, but I continue. I am intent on asking her if she is available to go with me on this date on Friday or Saturday morning. I ask her what she thinks about breakfast. I tell her she can choose the location, the day, etc.
She sounds elated.
It is then that she says, 'can I say something now?'
'Yes, of course.'
'Can our date be to Sparkle?' A boutique that does makeovers with shopping, music, complete girly explosion.
I tell her, 'I need to check with Daddy since it's out of town and be sure he can keep your little sisters.'
She sounds completely overjoyed.
We hang up.
Of course, Brian says yes.
She skips around the house in anticipation.

That night, I ask Carlisle what she is going to wear to Sparkle. We are in my bathroom. She walks into my closet, picks my fanciest pink dress and says, 'Mommy, can I wear this?' It falls to right above my knee. On Carlisle, it drags the floor.
I say yes.

I think why should I not be dressed for the occasion too? I ask her to pick out a dress for me. She picks out a hot pink dress I bought this summer. Boots. The works.
The next day, Mommy Carlisle date day, she is skipping around, jumping, running around me in circles. Asking me to hurry up and get dressed. She waits, almost patiently, on the bathroom sink, as I do my makeup. She asks Daddy to take our picture, then she takes a picture of my boots. She loves them. And changes from her other shoes to boots.

We are quite the spectacle. She, in MY...sparkly pink dress tied in a knot, pushing an empty baby carriage. Me in a short pink dress. At Broadway at the Beach. Did I mention it's 11:00 in the morning?
Being with Carlisle for that amount of time just one-on-one gave me SUCH an appreciation for who she is. Not who she is when she's with her sisters. Or who she is when she is with friends. But who she is when its just her and her Mama. When her guard is down. You would think I would already know who she is. But when Brian and I split up and he takes a girl or two and I take a girl or two, we usually end up with the same scenario. I have the younger two and he has Carlisle. So typically, I don't get to spend time just her and I. She was a year and a half when her next sister was born and another sister was born 2 years after that.

Honestly, somehow, I thought she was like me. When she is with her sisters, she can be extraverted, laughing, sometimes a leader. But alone. An all-new-to-me girl emerged. And I was front row to see what she's like.
She's cautious. Quiet. Reserved.
She carefully contemplated all the different girly clothes, shoes, jewelry, tu-tus, tiaras, wands, accessories. She slowly looked at each individual item. Not at all squealing and excited. Calm and tender. I loved it. And very honestly, was amazed by it.
If we had come to the exact same store, but brought one or two of the other girls, it would have been an excited, loud, ball of energy.

She settled on a little animal in it's own little purse. A snow white kitty. She put him in her stroller. Then she got to pick out 5 items that came with the makeover package. She slowly and methodically looked at each bin full of pencils, hairbows, headbands, tiaras and carefully selected 5. Then she became apprehensive about the makeover. She was very sure that she didn't want makeup. She told the lady. The lady tried to talk her into it and she very flatly said 'I don't want to do makeup.' I said, 'Carlisle, you don't have to do it, if you don't want to.' The lady stopped asking her. She settled on superstar hair. And then proceeded to quietly watch. She didn't smile or giggle. Just watched as they twirled her hair and pinned it back.
Her sweet pale skin looks so much better without makeup than it could ever look with makeup. Interesting.
'Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.' 1 Peter 3:3-4She picked blue fingernail polish with glittery sprinkles on top. Finally her hair was done. She asked if they'll put in the blond hair extensions that she picked out. She smiles as they finish. They asked her if she wanted to grab a microphone and sing on stage. She said no. She's convincing. She really doesn't want to. I can tell. I ask her if I go with her, will she stand on stage and take a Mommy/Daughter date picture with me. She says yes.
I pay. Thank the ladies for being so sweet and gentle with my girl and go to leave. One of them calls her 'shy'. I nod and say, 'I guess so.'
And off we go. We poke around a few more stores. And end up at Johnny Rockets for lunch. She is so low key. I am profoundly impacted with how I need to readjust how I love her. Treat her. And I need date days with her much more often.
"Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation..." Hab 3:18

I have so much to rejoice in! God has done so much this past year to show to me His faithfulness. To show me how much He loves me. In the wonderful things that felt so good and in the awful things that felt so bad, HE was there and HE saw me through. He saw us through.

'[He will] provide for those who grieve in Zion - to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.'
Isaiah 61:3

'They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, "The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him." '
Psalm 92:14-15

Our absolutely ridiculously fun little sisters.
Mom, call me after you watch the one with the stroller.


rita and andy said...

jennie, i loved this. carlisle is such a sweet, sweet girl. it's funny because i see both sides of her at school and love it!! sounds like yall had a great day. thanks for sharing

Justin and Marketa said...

That was a great way to look at it and your dad is full of wisdom. You are very lucky!