Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Little Girl, Big Girl

Emma and I shared a moment the other day. We had just dropped Mary Ashley off at ballet, and when we returned home, the boys bounded out of the van. They had been involved in a heated competition before we left, and they were eager to get back to their video game.

Two-year-old Emma stayed behind, unable to free herself from her car seat. As I helped her unbuckle, her big blue eyes looked so sad. "Da boys say I can't play," she began slowly. I could feel her disappointment, and I asked her if she was talking about her brothers' game.

She nodded slowly, then continued sadly, "Nobody wants to play with me."

I gave Emma a big hug and asked her if she would like to play with me. A smile touched the corners of her lips, and she seemed content to spend some special time with Mommy.

With this incident still fresh on my mind, we picked up Mary Ashley from ballet and headed straight to Christian's soccer practice. There 4-year-old Mary Ashley, still in her tutu, garnered lots of attention from the other children. "Ooh, look at the ballerina!" one little girl whispered admiringly to her mom. Another little girl, about 5, approached Mary Ashley and asked her to play. The two girls stood chatting between the soccer fields, deciding what to play.

Stationed beside my chair, Emma noticed the big girls talking and was eager to join them. So she toddled over and introduced herself. "I Emma. I 2," she offered. Then she pointed toward Mary Ashley and me. "Dis Meh-Ashley. Dis my mommy."

I watched out of the corner of my eye as the girls smiled at her, and I could tell Emma felt so happy to be included. She wanted so much to be one of the big girls! She shifted on her feet, cocking one hip to the side, trying her best to look cool and casual. She put her hands on her hips, and in her best big-girl voice bragged nonchalantly, "Yeah, I go tee-tee in the potty. My daddy say I do a good job."

I swallowed a giggle, realizing Emma had no idea that rather than making herself sound older, sharing this achievement with the over-2 crowd would actually remind them she was younger. But shortly after, the girls took off for a game of chase with Emma in tow. She laughed and played throughout soccer practice, a little girl so happy to be one of the big girls.

As a mother, my heart has ached for all of my children at one time or another when they have felt left out. Whether as a result of sibling squabbles, playground politics or new-school situations, all four have experienced pangs of isolation and insecurity.

Perhaps as mothers, we take our children's struggles to heart because our own battle scars from growing up are still so tender. We remember well the sting of harsh words, the sharp pain of rejection, the deep ache of loneliness. And we remember how much we yearned for a friend.

And so we pray often for friendships that will bless our children's lives. For friends who will keep them on the right path. Friends who are compassionate, loyal and trustworthy. In short, the kind of friends we all need. The kind of friend we have in Jesus.

Isaiah 53:2-6 tells us about the best friend the world would ever despise: "He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed" (NIV).

So I pray that as my little girls become big girls, and my little boys become big boys, they will come to know the blessings of true friendship. As their mother, my heart goes with them, swelling when they laugh and play in harmony, and aching when they experience conflict. And yet I know that each encounter good and bad better schools them in becoming a true friend.

And most of all, I pray their longing for friendship leads them to Jesus. Loving and long-suffering; patient and peaceful; faithful and forgiving -- He truly is the Friend for all time.

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command" (John 15:13-14).

27 comments:

Stacey @ The Blessed Nest said...

what a sweetheart! It's never too early to pray for our children's future relationships! What a lovely post :)

Blessings,
Stacey

Live.Love.Eat said...

As always, this was SO well written & it touched my heart. I think about when my 5 yo might be in a situation where he feels sad because of isolation or rejection. So far he is the popular boy but I try to make sure he knows to never make anyone else feel left out. Hopefully he won't feel that himself too often.

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

Oh, this is so sweet. I just love being a mom, don't you? I saw your comment about doing a lunch in Alabama. I am getting one together here in NC, should be lots of fun.

Carly Winborne said...

Oh, I have tears welling up in my eyes! What a tender, precious post. Thank you for that gentle reminder of our Friend in Jesus.

I hope you have a good weekend with your family!

Brian and Staci said...

OH MY GOSH! Who wouldn't want to play with that sweet little thing! What a cutie! Staci here...from Oklahoma and I'm sorry I'm just now making it over to say thanks for visiting my blog on my BATW spotlight day! What a great day! Your children are PRECIOUS! What great pictures at the beach on your sidebar! Beautiful! I'll be back to read more...but for now, I gotta go spread the love that was spread to me :) Have a great weeekend!

LaurieR said...

I can't imagine no one wanting to play with sweet Emma! I so enjoyed getting to spend time with them last night they truly are as sweet as your blog always describes!

Louise said...

The girls were so good!!! They played very well together last night! And they were just as cute as I had thought they would be!! :)

EmmaP said...

aw how sweet! I was always an Emma that wanted to be with the big girls too! hehehe! Thanks for stopping by my place on your layover from BATW. I still can't get over what you told me about RTC!!! you're right - I don't really get it either!

Frizzy and Bird said...

Coming to you through 6 By His Design. Thanks for this post today. I have felt these same pangs and know my daughter will soon as well. Unfortunately it is the inevitable w/growing up. It's not IF it's WHEN it will happen first. Your post brought tears to my eyes and heart. Thanks for sharing.

Becky Welch said...

Precious!!! Thank you for sharing this and so much with all of us!

Kristi said...

You just sum things up so well. I hate that feeling of being left out, and you sometimes don't realize that it happens to everyone! You are a good mama to be so good to your kids...

Me said...

okay, like Carly I have a tear in the eyes :) what a moving and awesome lesson ~ and what mother hasn't hurt for her child wanting to be accepted.

sweeter and the bubbas said...

Wonderful reminder!! Sometimes, I forget to pray for the "little" things like that. Ann Welch loves her some "Emma Wester"!! :-)

Cherry's Jubilee said...

Ohhh wow....lovely shot! Your blog is beautiful. Thank-you so much for coming by and saying hi today from sits. cherry

Shell said...

Hi Melissa. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I did enjoy the BATW spotlight. I'll look out for your sister-in-law, we might run into each other an audition. I appreciate the good thoughts on my career.Take care. Your Lester lovelies are beautiful.

Laura said...

Beautiful!

Heidi said...

Hey Melissa,
Had a great time today and glad to meet you. I did not know you had 4 kids. Just thought you had the two girls. Your boys are just as beautiful.
Heidi

Heidi said...

Just have to ask this.... I was scrolling through your blog (love it by the way) and I saw an older post, step children... Were those Stan Foster photographs???? He has done all photos of my kids since 3 months and they looked very familiar. Just wondereing. I need to display all mine, just never know where. That is a great idea, I have nothing on my stair case wall.

Meredith Teagarden said...

Beautiful prayer for those you cherish!

Melanie said...

Beautiful words from a wonderful mommy. I feel this ache for both of my girls. Especially with Annabelle starting preschool.

Me said...

It was just awesome for me to meet you today, Melissa. Your words are inspiring, as well as the ideas for parties and gifts. What a talented gift you are to many! I look forward to spending more time with you and the others~

Katy Lin :) said...

beautiful . . . and emma's little conversation with the big girls was absolutely adorable! your posts always make me so excited to be a mama :) and this one brought a tear to my eye.

Jennie said...

That was great.... the most important thing we can help our children with, is getting to know the Lord and his un-ending love for us....


I have TAGGED you, I love your blog and hope you will join in... go here....

http://jenerbug.blogspot.com/2008/10/i-have-been-tagged.html#links

Ronnica said...

There's a family at my church that has a 5yo daughter and a 2yo son. The daughter always take her brother with her to play at church events, and it's to cute to see how special he feels playing with the older kids! I hope to raise my kids like that one day.

Debbie said...

As usual...you bring me to tears....I know exactly what you mean about watching our kids interact with other kids and praying that they find evenly yoked friends that they will have forever. Well done my friend. Well done.

LoveMyBlogs said...

I am not sure how I came upon your blog but I have enjoyed reading it recently. I have 3 girls 7, 5, 2 and my 7 year old had her first friend struggle yesterday. I have been praying through this, as to how best handle it. I so desperately want God's word acurately applied to her life, even at 7 years old. It has been eye opening to her that God cared so much he wrote these exact words to her situation.

Needed to know I am not crazy nor alone. Your post provided comfort for me as a mom.
Loving God and doing my best to love on my kids.
D from Ohio

American in Norway said...

Oh I love that story... & that PHOTO... LOVE LOVE it! Beautiful!

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