When I married my husband, I inherited two beautiful daughters. At the time, they were 3 and 10 years old, and are now 6 and 13. I walked immediately into motherhood, and it wasn’t exactly easy. Our oldest was the easier one for me. She’s fairly laid back, and took to me pretty quickly. The youngest, well, it isn’t that she didn’t take to me, but moreso that she is a complete Daddy’s Girl, and there was definitely some tension that would manifest that sometimes felt like there was a competition for Daddy’s affection, and I was losing.
My husband kept telling me not to force it, it would come with time. And I tried to take on his laid back attitude. But it wasn’t easy. I’m very much a typical Type A personality: I’m a planner, organizer and like to have an agenda, know what’s coming next and be in control. I know, relax much? LOL.
Well, Miss Lady and I have grown over the years, and, just last fall, she took to calling me Mommy. It was her own thing, I’ve never asked either of the girls to call me anything specific, just not Ms. Rasheeda (I’m not their teacher). She still calls me Rasheeda sometimes, but she also periodically will say Mommy, and, frankly, it warms my heart. Now, I’m not here to replace her mother. In fact, I’ve had conversations with her to help her understand she has a mommy and daddy that love her very very much, and she also has a step-mom and step-dad that love her very much. Can you imagine how confusing that has to be for a child? There will be a time, in the near future, that she won’t remember when she didn’t have me or her step-father in her life. So to her, she’s got 2 moms and 2 dads, and that can definitely be confusing.
As much as she has grown to love me, I’ve grown to love Miss Lady like my own. She teaches me so much, even in the moments where I’m wondering “what in the world were you thinking, little girl?” She was with us this past weekend, and we had a conversation about prayer. We’d sent her upstairs to go to bed, and let her watch a little tv just before. She had specific instructions to say her prayers before she turned on the tv, and it seemed awfully fast to me that she’d done it. So I went upstairs and asked her what she prayed about in her prayers. She told me, and it was the same thing she prays every single night. So I asked her if she knew what prayer was. She said yes, but couldn’t really explain it, so I simply said, “Prayer is just talking to God.” Her little eyes got big like she didn’t believe what I was saying. I continued, “It’s just like when you talk to me or Daddy.” We then talked about the importance of not always praying the same prayer. But she’s 6, so I had to make it real to her.
“What if I came up to you and said, ‘Hi Miss Lady! How are you? Did you have a good day? Okay, bye!’ ‘Hi Miss Lady! How are you? Did you have a good day? Okay, bye!’? Would you want to talk to me?” She said, “Nooo, you just keep saying the same thing.” “Well, that’s exactly how God feels when we pray the same thing every time. He wants us to talk to Him.” I could tell she got it, and she said her prayers again. When she finished, she said she had a hard time knowing what to say, but I told her she did great (she is quite the little prayer warrior), and that it wasn’t about saying the right thing, it was about sharing what is on your heart with God.
As I kissed Miss Lady goodnight and walked out of her room, I thought about that conversation. I pray every day before I leave the house for safety and protection. It is often the same prayer. How boring that must be for God! How many other times do we say the same prayer, whether it be grace, or even your regular prayer and praise time? Have we gotten into a routine or are we being sincere in what we do?
I’m often amazed at how teaching my own children also teaches me, or can be a reminder for me as well. And I’m grateful for the lesson learned this week from Miss Lady.