May you, fathers and warriors of your family, never take lightly your impact on your daughters.
This week I told Darla she should consider letting Aunt Jazz cut her hair. The battle we endure every morning as we get tangles out is not worth it. She thought about it and announced she wanted short hair like cousins Pearl, Eve, and Delayne. That afternoon Jasmine gave her a cute bob. She was delighted.
On the way home Darla suddenly burst out, "I don't like my short hair! I want it long! I want it back!"
Wide eyed (and slightly panicked) I turned to her. "Slow down, Darla. Talk to me about why. You loved it a few minutes ago."
The tears started. "Mom! What if Daddy doesn't like it? What if he doesn't think I'm pretty anymore?!"
My mouth dropped open. "Darla, you know Dad doesn't care if it's long or short. He loves you not your hair."
Every once in awhile one of our kids seem to hit a new phase overnight. The new phase usually reveals a new aspect to their character or personality. I then find myself looking at them saying, "Oh, that's who you are!"Around 4 months old when babies start laughing, cooing and interacting I think, "I know you now! You have personality!" It's so wonderful that I start planning to have more. (Then they start crawling and I decide it's okay if I don't have another one right away.)
Another moment this happens is about the time a child turns 2. Everett is 2 months away from that birthday and a magical new phase struck him this week. He has decided that he wants to be heard, he wants to make people laugh, and he wants to be talked to like a big kid. He is adding at least 10 words to his vocabulary a day.
"Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and our grandchildren." Deuteronomy 4:9
The list of accomplishments is long for my Pake and Beppe (grandparents). My truth-speaking Pake is a proud Dutch immigrant and has been married to my tall, gracious, Dutch Beppe for 60 years. They have been missionaries in Nigeria. They have pastored numerous churches in various states. They started Acres of Diamonds; a home for mothers and children who need safety, training, and to be grounded in Christ. They mentored and ministered to business people, and counseled more than could ever be counted. Pake served as an Air Force chaplain and never hesitated to follow the call of God outside of comfort, outside of the "practical" and even outside of the country. Often in Lynden I meet people who vividly recall my Pake & Beppe from the short 3 years they pastored in the neighboring town, Everson. People talk like it was yesterday, using phrases like "revival", "huge impact", and "never-heard-someone-preach-like-that". It was in the early 1950s that they were here. The impact is still seen in the lives of that generation.
Everett has learned how to pull on his rain boots, open the sliding glass door, and trek outside without notifying me. (This often happens before 8:30am) Thankfully, we have a neighborhood where everyone watches out for each other, we are surrounded by 1/2 an acre and a private park so I have enough time to catch him.Yesterday I was dusting inside while watching all 3 kids play outside. I saw Mr. Hardaway circle around with Crystal, the small dog he walks multiple times a day. My kids adore Crystal and love sharing their stories of the day with Mr. Hardaway who has a kind, grandfatherly way about him. They talked awhile and patted Crystal before letting Mr. Hardaway move on.
Awhile later Mr. Hardaway passed through again. I could see Everett saying "puppy, puppy". Then I saw Mr. Hardaway fish around in his pocket, pull out a kleenex, and gently wipe Everett's nose before moving on.
Ahh...that's a good neighbor.
It's easy in parenting to get hung up on aspects that aren't running smoothly. There have been moments with Hudson this month that have made my eyes cross in frustration. S. & I ask each other, "Is he not paying attention? Is he intentionally ignoring us? Was that disrespect out of rebellion or simply for a laugh?" There have been some rough pull-over-on-the-freeway-to-discipline moments. However, I am determined to not get absorbed in the rough patches when there is much to enjoy:
I am watching admirable character traits deepen in the heart of this not-so-little boy. They say you can tell a lot about a man by the way he treats his mom. Hudson melts me.
Last week I came home from working out early in the morning and Hudson had snuck into our bed to be by S. I passed through on my way to the shower thinking they were both asleep. I heard Hudson whisper, "Mom! Mom, you look so, so, so pretty! You put your hair like that all the time, okay?"
I hid a smile- sweaty, in shorts with a messy ponytail? Doesn't take much I guess.
A couple days ago I burnt myself on the stove. I bit all the words that came to mind as I ran it under cold water. Hudson rushed over, "Oh, Mom! Oh, Mom! Are you okay? It's okay, Mom. You're okay." He then dashed out of the room to find what he uses for comfort; a tractor blanket and an armful of stuffed animals. I wrapped the blanket around me while I finished making dinner.
Yesterday on our way out the door for church Hudson stopped to compliment me again. "Mom, you look so pretty! You the prettiest girl ever!" He paused thoughtfully and added, "You AND Darla. Only you and Darla the prettiest. You always look pretty and not any other girls! Not any other girls pretty...not girlfriends...anybody." (His Dad agreed.) I know Hudson won't feel that way forever so I am going to soak up every minute of it!
This morning over breakfast the kids were sharing their dreams (this is the highlight of many Taylor breakfasts). Darla had much detail into her Tinkerbell dream. She then asked her brother, "Hudson, what did you dream about?"
He answered, "Me have dream just about me and mom. Me a grown up and me a doctor so then me fixed Mom's back."
He has been quite concerned about my back since I threw it out recently. But concerned enough to dream about being able to fix it? Now that's a real man.
May the Lord continue to build these things in him; an ability to comfort and encourage, to see a need and meet it, and exclusive devotion to the most important woman in his life. This 3 year old has some lessons to teach many adult men I know. Oh, and Lord...please make him a chiropractor for real. That was a prophetic dream, right?
I can't quit yawning and couldn't figure out why. I did get nearly 8 hrs of sleep last night. Then I glanced at my calendar and remembered the last 2 weeks. 2 weeks ago we decided to move back up to our old house. S. was getting ready to teach at a retreat so I decided to do most the packing when he was gone. Unfortunately, the morning he left Everett woke up with a double ear infection. I spent half the day in urgent care with him, the other half rocking him. The next day he fell at my mom's house and got skid marks on his face to prove it. Add to his world boxes, a busy mom, a dad gone, his toys packed, and you get a little man who needs a lot of attention and affirmation. Needless to say, I didn't get much done over the weekend. When S. returned he had a job interview in Lynden at a radio station. The next day he drove to Portland and back for a job interview at Luis Palau's organization. As I was knee high in boxes and packing paper, S. called and said, "Palau wants to fly us to San Diego to check out their festival and meet Luis himself. That's where we would move first if we take this job. How does Sunday work for us?"
The following day we moved while on the phone with Palau booking tickets and lining up care for the kids.
We had 3 days to get ready for San Diego, unpack our house, cancel & start utilities, and stock up on groceries.
Just throwing myself out there a bit...