It was June, and the last few weeks of Grade One for my little girl. The year-end days were being filled with field trips, track events, hot-dog lunches, and more.
Andrea’s little brother and I were in the backyard, waiting for her to come home from school. Her class had held a games tournament that afternoon, and I expected to hear all about it.
The back gate squeaked. Luke babbled as his sister walked up the sidewalk. Calmly, she went to a basement window, and kicked her foot through it.
Andrea! My sweet, strong-willed but always gentle little girl kicked out a basement window!
I think we were both in shock. She stood and looked at what she’d done, and I did the same for a few moments. This was so out of character for her, it didn’t occur to me to be angry. What in the world was going on?
I brought her to the step and we sat down.
“Tell me what’s going on, Sweetie.”
Silence for a minute. And then, “Do I have to go to school, Mom?”
“Is something wrong at school?”
“They keep…. doing things. Every day they DO things. Why can’t it just be school?”
Discovering our children’s personality is an ongoing exercise for a parent. It was in this moment I identified that my little girl thrived on routine. An occasional diversion was fun, but day after day after day? The excitement had become too much of a good thing.
“Well, do you want to stay home on the activity days, and just go for the school part?”
“Could I?” she begged, her eyes wide and glistening.
We stuck to our agreement, and nothing more was destroyed.
Twelve months later, as Grade Two wound to a close, I sat Andrea down to make a plan.
“Do you remember last year when you got so upset about all the activities at school?”
Tears filled her hazel eyes and she stuffed her thumb in her mouth.
“Do I have to pick two?”
* * *
This week, had there been a basement window near my foot, I might have had the same urge my child had, all those years ago. So many exciting things have been happening in my writerly life in the past year, that only by the grace of God has this introverted newbie-writer been able to survive the intensity. Good things in the writing and speaking world come with work - work being directed by those requesting your presence, your participation, your words, according to their agenda.
It seemed things were winding to a close with an event last Monday, but then edits for a dangling project I’d almost forgotten about arrived at my inbox. When I opened it and saw the barrage of comment boxes, I crashed.
No more, Lord. I can’t do it. Please, can’t I just pull out? Would you mind?
Just as I had taken my little girl and sat down with her on the steps, the Lord drew me close to him. I knew from his Spirit within me that it didn’t matter one way or the other what I did with the story. I was, I am, his little girl. His pleasure is in me, in our love for each other, not in what I accomplish. What a glorious sense of peace, to know if I never produce another word, I am still his beloved child.
I haven’t come to terms with what I’ll do with my story that now seems to be more the editor’s story than mine. I have determined not to decide until I am well rested and can think about it without feeling stressed. Then I’ll ask the Lord what he would have me do.
In the meantime, I will rest in the pleasure of knowing that he takes pleasure in me, just as I am.