As you read this, I want you to picture me how my daughter, Adelaide, views me.
If you ask her my full name, she will tell you it is MommyLaide Russell. So yes, I do sound like a very cool sports drink in the words of my daughter.
You know how as a parent, or maybe more accurately as a mother, you envision yourself doing these super fun, Instagram worthy activities with your child? You know…like, activities that end with adorable pictures of messy faces and the sweetest memories with your “good little helper?” Yeah, well toddlerhood is not exactly one of those times. Specifically, the 2 to 2 ½ year old stage we are currently living.
Just the other day, a hopeful baking expedition turned into a “flour everywhere, drinking dishwater, eating straight butter, threats of spanking, peed in the underwear, mom losing my mind” kind of situation. An activity that started out full of so much love and promise quickly turned to disarray. Not my finest parenting moment. As Adelaide was having a blast sending water and flour flying about the kitchen (which, if you bake, you know is NOT an easy combination to clean up), I was mid panic attack. I felt like I was on a fast moving train traveling from Ein Gedi to a Florida beach during spring break AFTER COVID-19 has broken out! Needless to say, there were no cute pictures taken, and there was not much patience or grace doled out to my “good little helper” in those moments.
Looking back at that time, I wish I had opened my eyes to how Addie was (probably) viewing the whole situation.
“My insanely cool mom (Yes, she thinks I am insanely cool even if nobody else does!) is letting me help her bake! I get to use all the tools she does and use my hands to mix the dough, and taste, (yuck!) raw flour! Oh wait, this flour is amazing (strange child, she just dips her finger in the flour over and over)! This is SO awesome!”
I wish in those moments that my first instinct had been to give her grace and compassion, like Jesus does for us. One thing I know about my child is that she does not hold grudges. She loves unconditionally and without hesitance. I know this because right after this baking expedition, she comes up and kisses me on the leg, “Mama, I love you.” And I melt. That is how Jesus loves us. Unconditionally and without hesitance. And in those moments, I learn from my 2 ½ year old and am humbled how Jesus works through children to share his love and compassion.
Adelaide never fails to remind us that Jesus is awesome, even if it takes a little redirection.
“By MY hands, we are fed, give us Lord our daily bread.”
“Jesus love me this I know, for the grickle grass happy birthday, Daddy’s birthday is in October!”
“I kisses was a wee little man, a wee little man was he.”
“Jesus died on a cross!”
But having a 2 year old also comes with some very important issues I should address.
“Get in my pocket! (Yelling to her Olaf Duplo)” So of course I point out the obvious, “Addie, you don’t have pockets in your pajamas.” To which she forcefully responds, “But I have a BELLY BUTTON!”
“Grandpa Kenny has a baby in his belly.” Nope.
“(Stutters) Wwwwww when is your birthday?” To everyone, all the time. Every person we meet.
Addie will often ask, “What’s her name again?” Wanting you to remember that time, three weeks ago—maybe a month, when you were driving in your car and you passed some random girl walking her dog and you didn’t know her name. That’s who the “her” is she is referring to. Adelaide is funny. She makes jokes all the time, and usually when you least expect it and you can’t help but smile. In her own little way, she is like an ambassador of Christ, loving others, making people smil
e, and always sharing, even if it is her last bite of her favorite thing. Morgan and I love Ad to pieces, and we learn so much from being her parents. Being a parent has helped us grow towards Christ and truly strengthened our understanding of Christ’s love for us. At dinnertime, we like to correct Addie when she says, “by MY hands, we are fed.”
Because it’s so important to remember that HIS hands feed us. Spiritually, emotionally, and unconditionally.