This past weekend Frank and I made a 3 hour trek north to visit my best female friend.
She has two children, ages 3 and 5 months.
I used to fault parents for a misbehaved child, typically contributing it to a lack of discipline. This weekend’s observations obliterated any notion of parental blame I could ever place on an individual.
My friend should be sainted. She exerted supreme justice in her home, disciplining when disciplining needed to occur and exercising compassion when it needed to be exercised. Although clearly fatigued, she did not let exhaustion hamper her ability to be Christ-like. I on the other hand, didn’t fare so well.
Sure I can blame pregnancy hormones and sleep deprivation for my bickering with a toddler, but it doesn’t change the fact that me, an adult grown woman, fought with a three year old. Talk about a futile conflict!
My friend’s daughter, Alice, is a brilliant child. Alice speaks like a little adult. She knew words most kids her age don’t know. Also, I didn’t nod my head in understanding while being completely baffled at to what the child just said as is my norm with most three year old children. Alice is also assertive and independent. Those are admirable traits for a confident, goal-getter adult. Assertiveness and independence in a three year old can make for many tears and being overwhelmed.
Some examples of Alice’s assertive and independent behavior included instructing Frank how to hold a baby doll properly, telling him that standing under a chandelier is not a good hiding spot, dictating what pictures she wanted us to color in, and insisting on her personal soundtracks, not other songs. One day she will make a great leader, because while assertive, she also gives hugs and is genuinely concerned when someone is hurt. (I went to put a band-aid on and she asked if I had an injury. I said yes and her face looked aghast and she then told me to feel better.) She might be demanding, but she cares about the welfare of those around her.
I learned a lot about parenting this weekend. Frank learned a lot about parenting (that it is work and not just cuddling with a newborn). I also want to reward my friend with the outstanding mother of the year award. She remained surprisingly calm throughout the many tantrums that occurred. If I can learn anything about justice this year, I’ll learn how to exhibit it in my daily life by watching my best female friend’s ability to parent an animated, assertive, and compassionate toddler.