I wasn't looking forward to the week after our return, due to the transition for our girls in finding "normal." However, I was pleasantly surprised how sweet Veronica has been this past week. Sure, she's come back with a 16 year old attitude, but it's much easier to rectify that attitude at 3 years versus 16 years. Cadence has been much more clingy & whiny this week, which is due to the absence of mama & daddy (pretty age typical).
Our girls are growing and as we were celebrating Auntie Mimi's birthday (Ben's sister Amber), I looked over at Veronica sitting at the table eating her cupcake. And I thought, "seriously, who is that tall, big girl & how did she grow up so quickly?" This week as to make the transition easier on the girls, I put cleaning on the back burner; as well as, errands and other household duties, in order to spend more time with them. It's amazing when I allow myself to enjoy spending undivided time with my girls how well they respond to discipline and how much more patience I can give to them. I've been praying every morning about who God says I am as Kamille and how that translates to being a mama to these girls.
This job I know as mama is rather difficult at times, but it is even more so when I allow the expectation of others to define how I tend to my girls (rather than God). The thing about it is it's more likely that these are perceived expectations, not completely real. It's hard to live in this mindset, because although most people (myself included) would say we like to extend grace & receive it--it can be too easy to extend judgment when we see others doing something we wouldn't practice in our family. As for me, when judgment occurs in this way, I find the source to be a covering of my own guilt. It's an excuse of seeing all the ways I fail and then say, "well, at least I'm not like that!" Or feeling a sense of pride knowing my kids don't behave that way.
Or in my case at times, feeling embarrassed by the way my child acts, how she doesn't perform to my expectations, how it can be harder to love her. So when people comment on how wonderful, beautiful, behaved, etc, etc other children are--it is too easy to take that as a personal insult upon me as a mom. With Veronica, we have seen a speech therapist last month and will be seeing a physical therapist this month to rule out any delays. The speech therapist sent us her report saying that it looked like she had a sensory integration disorder, most likely oral-motor, which affects fine motor & large motor development as well.
When you have a child who is a bit "different" but completely healthy, it can be easy to see all their deficiencies, love your other children more (because they're easier), and become really defensive when other people aren't seeing all the good qualities they behold. But honestly, when I boil it down, all of that is irrelevant. God was stripping away my own insecurities as a mother. Ben has been constant in speaking truth in my struggles saying, "Kamille, I don't think that's really about Veronica--I think it's more about you as a mom." He's been spot on, even when I haven't wanted to name it. It's been in those fragile, sensitive moments as a person where I have wrapped up my identity & worth in being a mama. This is why it has been essential for me to ask God who I am to him. Not only who I am, but who my daughters are, in order to see his love for them & I can love with that perfect love.
These are some things I've learned:
- It's loving both my girls the way God has designed them.
- To accept them for who they are and not who I want them to be.
- To not compare development with other kids who are the same age.
- To not let others lack of praise for one child to dictate their worth.
- To focus on their strengths & encourage those.
- To parent the way God has called us to parent our kids and not care what others think.
- To be confident in listening to God's calling on my job as a mama.
- To see my girls as different, but love them with the same intense love.
- To not let my girls choices, behaviors or decisions determine my worth.
- To remember that God gave me Veronica Storey & Cadence Evangelina for a reason & didn't want to give them to anyone else (thanks Biz).
Dear Lord Jesus--Help Veronica calm down & listen to mama. Take away the yucky attitude and say yes to mama for rest time. Clean my heart & take the yuckies away. Help me be a sweet girl & read books. Amen!And to that--Amen!