Tonight when I was putting Caroline to bed I was rubbing her back for a few moments, and she sleepily said, "Hey Mama, you know what?" I replied, "No, Caroline, what?" She continued, "When I grow up I'm going be a builder. And a cooker. And a worker. And a doctor. And a cleaner. And a mama."
I love how her little heart comes out in those moments. Caroline is truly one of the the most helpful children I've ever known. I know I'm biased, but she genuinely wants to serve others and gets true joy out of helping. When we are baking together or when she is helping me unload the dishwasher or sweep the floor, you would think I was treating her to an ice cream sundae. Her face is abeam with the biggest smile because she enjoys being part of helping me do something. Anything. Her sharing her dreams with me and that smile are the reminder I need to enjoy those times when she wants to help, when really it would be easier to do it alone.
Caroline is an extremely sensitive, very emotionally adept little girl, so as a result, I have to be very careful how I respond to her. I have to think before I decide whether to tell her "no" about something. The question I started asking myself when Caroline was about 18 months old is, "Is this important enough for me to say no and stick with it?"
If there is really no good reason for saying no (like when she wants to help me unload the dishwasher; she is able to help, she won't get hurt, and the only thing it costs me is a few extra minutes and a lesson in patience), then I try to be really diligent about saying yes. I want to cultivate that helping, caring spirit in this little gift God has allowed me to care for and not quench the spirit that makes her who she is and who she will be.
One of my most frequent prayers as a mother is, "God please give me wisdom to raise these girls well and the patience to let your will be done in them and not mine." I think that as adults we lose sight of the journey because we are so focused on the destination. I have my list of "to-dos" and I just want to get through it, but Caroline sees each thing on that list as something else she can be part of. No offense to the wonderful women who taught me in my school years, but Caroline is definitely the best teacher I've encountered in life thus far.