“do self, mama”

hazel-and-the-popcorn-2more and more often this is what she insists upon. sometimes her insistence comes through a fit of tears as she pushes me away, insisting that i absolutely DO NOT help her.

this makes life easier in certain ways, but it also makes me a bit sad. not because i want her to depend on me for everything for the rest of her life, but because in those moments of dependence, we necessarily connect. we are close — usually in physical contact — as we cooperate to reach the up-high object, to pull on her pants, to put another serving of food in her bowl, or to move her into or out of her bed.

now, in this independent streak, instead of the necessitated physical connection, i must choose a new way to connect. as she does the action, i stand nearby and watch. i marvel at her capability. i giggle at her tiny body with the too-big toddler head as it navigates new challenges. i praise her successes.

sometimes, after she’s had a go at it, she changes her mind and admits, “help, please, mommy.” and a little part of my heart rejoices. i  move in to hold her hand, lift her small body, slip on the shoe, or reach the unreachable.

and — as in so many aspects of this mothering job — i see another parallel here, a picture of how it is with my Papa and me. i imagine that He, too, though he is pleased with my maturity and growth, has a certain pleasure in helping me. in those moments when i surrender my independence and solicit His help it means that we necessarily connect at that point. He gets to have me closer in that moment than in many other moments. so i resolve to more often say, “help, please, Papa” so that we can touch one another.

ps: she praises, me, now, too. when i sweep the floor or pick up the toys, i hear a small voice say, “good job, mommy!” or, “great, mom!”

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One thought on ““do self, mama”

  1. Our daughter, now 41, used to be the same. Her phrase was “Let me do it!” She has grown to be a passionate christian for social justice, a fine teacher and someone who has pushed the envelope in many ways. Determination, directed to God’s purposes, can be a wonderful thing!

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