Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Goal.

Last week, I was in a rather extensive “getting to know one-another” conversation.  I shared the room with two young women, one of whom began her life story in a way that I’ve heard before, but the lens of being a “new parent” made me see it in a different light. After sharing the basic information of her birthdate and age, she broke into her life story with, “Well, I had a good childhood...”.  She quickly moved on to other details of her life and jumped with startling speed to her teenage years.  It didn’t take long until we were diving into the significant experiences she has had as an adult, with no mention of her childhood again in the conversation.  Considering I’m in the throws of the immeasurably important (but forgotten) first years of a child’s life, I couldn’t help but notice how quickly that part of her life was brushed over.

In fact, I found myself struggling to listen to parts of this young woman’s description of the rest of her life. I was stuck swishing and swirling, “I had a good childhood... I had a good childhood... I had a good childhood....” around my heart.  Images were flooding my mind of the sacrifice, love, and faithfulness her parents had to pour out for her to only have to say that phrase about her childhood.  Scenes from her childhood began flashing through my mind... similar to the way a montage of a movie or the highlight reel of a legendary game might look. I saw a woman (her mother) up in the middle of another sleepless night, soothing and calming a crying baby. I saw a father reading and re-reading the same book over and over to a toddling toddler, and the ten thousand (billion?) dirty diapers that were changed. I saw weary adults disciplining a little girl (again) with love, patience, and grace.  I saw two parents pacing a dimly lit bedroom; staying up late into the night to work out issues between them; fighting to protect the foundation of their family unit.  I saw a mom braiding a little girl’s hair for Christmas recitals, and later holding that same handful of curly hair out of her small face as she threw up. I saw tickle fights, pillow fights, and real fights. I saw slumber parties complete with jumping on the bed and siblings falling asleep tangled in each other’s limbs and souls and hearts. I saw snow days earned through bedtime rituals; those glorious days spent baking and sledding and reading.  I saw two cold, wet parents huddled under a too-small umbrella at the zillionth soccer game - cheering and balancing a video recorder propped up on a daddy’s proud shoulder.  I saw a mother and a father shepherding a little lady into a grown woman in 10 million small, seemingly insignificant ways.  

and last week, I sat on a couch next to that same little girl - all grown up - who told me about all of those very same scenes by simply uttering the phrase, “I had a good childhood”.

 So there it is. The Big Goal that arches over all of my other dreams for my daughter: that our sweet Piper Grace will have a childhood full of enough play, love, acceptance, discipline, stability, joy, positive memories, and magic that, for the rest of her life, when asked to tell the story of the first ten (eighteen?) years of her life, all she will have to say is “Well, I had a good childhood....”.  

From there, the story will be hers.  

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