Gabriel turns Two: Happy Birthday Sweet Boy

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Opportunities for spiritual growth and other true Euphemisms

Saying that being a parent of a certain kind of child is an opportunity for spiritual growth is like a cow on the way to the slaughter saying to her lover, "well at least I'll be helping some strapping boy grow up to be a ruddy, filled-out young man." I'm pretty sure I was this certain kind of child, and now I have one of my very own, and I've committed myself to not screwing her up as badly as I was screwed up by being me in the family in which I found myself existing. Actually I've gone one step further and naively committed myself to the profound hope of helping this little girl actually thrive, and I'm fucked. Totally screwed.

Nothing is easy. Okay, Jemila, stop the blanket statements -- rule number one of self-help guides for improving relationships. Very little is easy. When something -- anything -- is easy I jump with surprise and I find myself befuddled, neither wanting to jinx a possible string of good luck, nor wishing to arouse false hope for a new reality. Or is hope for a new reality the only way to create the thing? Experts disagree.

Does she taunt and torment me, testing, contradicting or otherwise fighting me at nearly every crossing, at intervals of two seconds simply because she knows gets my goat? What drives her to reject my gestures of love, while consistently requesting, often demanding my attention and love in the forms in which I am weakest and most reticent to give it? I am going crazy! Why can't she be...

No! That girl is the girl I love. She may be the death of me, but I couldn't change her. Tears fill my eyes at the mere thought. Glimpses I get of her sweet spirit. Peeks into the amazing girl she essentially is and is going to become if I don't snuff out her fiesty flame that also feeds her joy speak to me and I discover tears of wanting to protect her, as I was not protected from my parents' urgent impulse to change me.

She is a gift. A very pricy gift, but what gift worth anything is anything but costly? Do I think I can parent the way I bargain shop? Even my shopping habits have been changing lately, as I shift toward buying fewer clothes from Fair Trade sources. Shopping Fair Trade brings me joy in a way I never experienced getting stuff for 1.99 at Old Navy.

What would it cost to love my daughter as she is worthy to be loved? Daily dying to myself. Daily letting Christ live in me. Daily being born again and again to new life. Daily becoming more creative. Daily laying aside my priorities for the Priority of love.


Miz Melly said...

Powerful stuff, Jemila. I pray for your daughter and you as your relationship grows. I think it's fantastic that you can see beyond the immediate 'arrrghh!!!'
You go girl.
Miz Melly

PS How's the wee'un?

Jemila Monroe said...

Thanks Miz Melly, I feel your prayers and encouragement.

The wee'un is good :) A little gassy at times, but otherwise doing great! She's chubbing out nicely and looks right into my eyes. She looks like a girl version of her brother, but she is totally her own little person. Overall the quietest of my kids, even in utero!

Happy said...

Jemila, I love your candidness. :) And I would just like to say, in case there is ever a day you need to hear it: you are not fucked. :) And mostly because you DO desire Christ to live in you - and in your daughter. There is ALWAYS hope - even on the days when you feel like the worst version of yourself and know that she's been hers. "Christ in me, the hope of glory." (I can't tell you where it's from, but it is Scripture!) And it's true.

Grace and peace be yours - as you parent, and as you live, grow, change for the better, and become who God is making you to be and learn all God has for you to learn. Grace - completely uncensored. And peace - true and deep.

Marcia said...

I just want to say that the first sentence cracked me up.

Jemila Monroe said...

Thanks for blessing me with encouragement Happy!

Marcia, I'm psyched you got a laugh out of that sentence :)