A few weeks ago, I took the girls to lunch. We were doing ok, until the food arrived at the table. I had ordered chicken taquitos for the girls to share. Normally, they love them, and Wendy tucked right into hers. Mia stared at it. I told her to eat, if she hoped to continue on from the restaurant to the mall (where she REALLY wanted to go). Mia glowered at me and sat, arms folded. I tried to eat and help Wendy eat. Mia tossed her hair and sniffed the air, but didn’t touch the food. I reminded her, again, that I was not above going straight home instead of to walk around the mall. At that time, she voiced her opposition to the idea. LOUDLY.
We went back and forth and back and forth and back and forth, before she completely LOST IT. With the bill paid, I finally managed to extract her from her chair – I nearly considered using the jaws of life to free her hands from their permagrip through the bars. I then carried her out to the car, kicking, screaming for me to put her down, yelling that I “hurt her feelings” and she didn’t love me. At the same time, I was trying to make sure that Wendy held my hand. When we got to the car, Mia bit me, slapped me and kicked me before I managed to wrestle her into her car seat and buckle her up. This is not typical Mia behavior. Normally, she’s sassy as all get out, but very rarely defiant, and even less often, violent. I have no idea what got into her.
On the drive home, I wracked my brain for a reason she would act out, and so publicly. I couldn’t figure it out. I felt like a horrible mother. I thought it had to be my fault. I was angry and hurt, at myself, for letting the situation go. I prayed about it. It was almost audible, the revelation I received on that drive home. I have never really heard the voice of God clearly, before, but in the chaos of all the preschooler wailing and Wendy pointing out “Mia crying” repeatedly, a realization, nearly a whisper. This revelation was that Mia is just like me in my spiritual life. I have been led by the Holy Spirit to make decisions or go in a new direction, and I dig my heels in, cross my arms, kick and scream all the way. “No, God, I won’t! I don’t care what you say, I’m going to do it MY WAY. I’m not going to talk to you about it; I won’t give in; I don’t think this is really God, it must be a directive from some other sector; that’s not really what you want; no, no, no, no, NO!!!!!!!!!!!”
I am a child of God. A petulant, bratty, moody, independent, single-minded, stubborn child of God. The thing is, I don’t ever want to cast God as the horrible parents that cannot reason or deal with his child. I don’t want anyone to look at him like the other restaurant patrons looked at me that day. Their looks seemed to say “Can’t you do something about her?” God turning the mirror on me in that quiet moment amidst the melee, in that whisper was his way of bringing me back to my senses and showing me that my foot-stamping temper tantrum everytime he shows me where I should be or will be or can be is a poor reflection, not of him – his strength and wisdom are unassailable, but on me.
This realization, that we are alike, she and I, in our stubbornness, and, in that, that it’s a continual process of growing up, emotionally, physically and spiritually, made me feel better. Even though we’re not mature human beings or Christians, we’re on the path, because we have a caring parent to help us through the process.