Friday, October 19, 2007

Hovering Hen

When I became a mother nearly three and a half years ago, I realized I would be raising my children in the world, but I didn't realize how hard it would be to protect them from it.

Lately I've been resisting the urge to hover over my sweet daughter when we play out in our condo courtyard. I see that the other two girls (ages 4 1/2 and 5) aren't being nice to her. She doesn't always realize it, thinking they are running from her as if they were playing tag. Or when they are bossy and she is innocently compliant. As a 3-year-old, she doesn't understand manipulation or false compliments. She doesn't understand why the command her to walk when she really just wants to run.

She doesn't understand, but I do.

I understand that they are making sport of my daughter. I understand that she wants so badly to play with them and doesn't know why they won't. I understand how sensitive she is and that she often teeters on the edge of an emotional breakdown if she grasps even a little of what is happening. I understand that it would be all too easy for me to interfere and tell those girls to be nice to her and demand that they include her, but that it wouldn't really solve the problem and she would still need to learn to deal with them on her own. I understand that she could easily follow their example and act the same way to a younger girl someday.

And it breaks my heart for her.

I want those girls to see who she is. That she is sweet and fun and has the most wonderful giggle when she lets it loose. That she is too young to know how to exclude other kids and she really just wants everyone to have fun together. That even though they sometimes make her cry, she still gets excited to see them and calls them her friends.

Those are the times that I want to take her away and shield her under my wing, like a mother hen protects her chicks before they are ready to withstand the cruel elements of the world. I want to scoop her up and wisk her away to a place where her tender heart can't be damaged. I want to say to her, "Come with me! I will play with you! I won't run from you! I love you!"

As I learn to trust God with her life, which is a daily struggle for me, I wonder how often He feels the same way about me. I search my surroundings for someone to approve of me, to love me, to make me feel good about myself, and I don't always come away with what I wish. I wonder if He wants to interfere to protect me, but I know that He watches as I learn to do it on my own. But He is always there, telling me, "Come to me! I know who you are and what you are worth! I can give you what I know you need! I will always be here for you and won't abandon you! I love you!"

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