Today's particular disagreement was centered around a tiny red tricycle. The trike is too small for any of the three girls hoping for a turn. Nevertheless, they would precariously balance one child on the seat to pedal, and another girl would set herself down on her bum where the feet should go of someone hitching a ride. The girls liked the challenge, and the oldest girl, who is eight, really enjoyed being in charge of this "daring carnival ride." She was often in the "driver's seat" and enjoyed the high honors that came with being in control.
My daughter, Lydia, who is four, also desires control. She loves being in charge and is willing to assert that independence towards anyone, no matter if that person is twice her age or not! So, eventually, Lydia's need to lead seemed to overcome her and when the neighbor girl dismounted, Lydia jumped at the chance to be the captain of the tricycle. As Lydia hopped on, her speed was a little much, her pedaling a little too vigorous, and her balance was off just enough that somehow she tipped over that tricycle.
As I watched in horror as this little incident took place, I heard the eight year old say, "Hahaha! You deserved that."
The tears were flowing from Lydia's eyes, as she was hurt from the fall, and wounded by the words of a friend. But, I knew she was in the wrong for being so hasty and deceitful about gaining leadership of the tiny red trike. My heart hurt in the way only a Mommy's can...it hurt for the wrong done BY Lydia, but also the wrong done TO Lydia.
I felt I handled it the best I could. Making sure Lydia was okay physically, I asked her to dismount the tricycle and surrender her newly gained control. Honor gained dishonorly has no place in our family. I want her to make sure she remembers that lesson her entire life. I asked her to apologize. She did. Sincerely.
Then, I did something that sometimes I do not take the time to do, or something I sadly even don't allow Lydia to do at times. I let her share her hurt with me. It hurt that her friend rejoiced in her pain. I let her share that with me. She flopped her little sweaty head on my shoulder. I watched as three little tears rolled over the crest of her cheek, down over the sad lines of her tiny, pouting mouth.
At that moment, I had a parent epiphany. Something that I said there in the moment that I know was a gift to me from the Holy Spirit. I told her, "Lydia, sometimes people are going to hurt you. I know in the past I've told you not to tattle, but Mommy feels that from now on as long as you are telling Mommy to help your heart heal, and not telling to try to get another person in trouble, that you can tell me anything you want." I realized so often that I was stopping Lydia from tattling when all she really wanted was me to care for her injured spirit.
As her mom, I'm happy to do that. After all, I feel like God does that with me all the time. I continually make mistakes that cause harm, and then when I have consequences of those mistakes come back to haunt me, I cry to my Heavenly Father. I know I deserve my punishment and plight, but I just want God to hear how I'm feeling.
The neighbor girl, who is as sweet as pie normally, apologized a little later on, and playtime continued happily. Until Micah threw up his snack. But, well, you win one battle just to move on to the next in mothering!