Tuesday, March 17, 2009

'Pretend you are God,' she said

Melía had logged a lot of hours in church programs by Saturday evening, and for a girl who loves to interact so much that she won't even watch movies, she'd been extremely good about it.

But midway through the evening, she was cradled in my arms and ready to make conversation.

"Are you God?" she whispered.

"No, silly Melía. I am not God."

"You are like God. Did you make yourself?"

"No, God and my mommy and daddy made me." (So far when I 've said this, no one has asked, "How." Mercifully.)

She decided to have some more fun with this, saying, "You are God!"

"Silly sweet Melía, I am not God."

"Pretend you are God," she conceded.

I started to kiss her all over the cheeks and hair, saying, "I love you, Melía. I love you, Melía."

"No, pretend to be God," she said again.

"I am." I went back to my face-kissing.

"No, you're not," she giggled.

"Yes, I am. This is what God is doing right now. He's loving you."

It kind of blows my mind to consider that every child makes that request of her parent. Every baby looks to his father and mother to play that impossible role. "Pretend to be God," their hearts cry out.

I think I got it right in that moment, for once. It's harder of course, to play the part of God with fidelity when the girls are screaming and fighting and whining and hair-splitting.

Is it harder for God to play Himself at the times when we're doing the same? Or is mercy-triumphing-over-judgment the only role He knows?

God, give me grace to portray You with some semblance of accuracy. May Melía know by my example that whatever else You may be doing, above all else You're loving her.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

'You're not the boss of me,' she said

It is a well-established fact in our home that I, as father of three princesses, am a king.

So it shook me this week when Ashlyn, sprinting back in forth in front of the gym instead of walking to the car as requested by the king, sang, "You're not the boss of me! You're not the boss of me! You're not the boss of me!" And so on.

She was obviously just messing around with this choice phrase inherited from big sis, who had the great fortune to pick it up at school for handy and frequent use with both of her sisters. But never before had any of them had the audacity to say it to either of the ruling monarchs. (Never mind whether or not said monarchs have said it to each other.)

It was a playful caricature of defiance. (Which I kind of like as a name for the rock band my girls will doubtless found someday.) So I wasn't really mad.

But neither did I have the strength to leave it alone.

"Actually, Ashie-love, I am your boss. You're a princess, and I'm the king."

Without a beat of hesitation, she replied, "No. God is the King. And you are a prince."

OK, so she had me there.

I laughed, stumped for a moment, and scooped her up to plop her in her car seat. I'm actually still stumped, although I did eke out something lame about how God was King but He'd told me to be a good prince/king/boss to my three princesses. It was technically correct, but nowhere near as well-put as her line.

Sometimes the four-year-old argument is much more elegant than its 35-year-old rebuttal.

And sometimes, I need reminders that though my kids are under my command, in a larger sense, we're fellow subjects of the same King, brothers and sisters with the same Big Daddy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

'A kid today,' she said

Eleven days ago, my brother became a daddy. Lovely baby Jenna burst in on the world a few weeks early with so little labor that her mommy forgot to get her epidural. (Isn't that what happened, Kim?)

We got to see her when she was only hours old, and the three girls who used to be the "babies" of the family were STOKED.

There's something about that perfect tinyness that captures their imagination. After we'd adored my niece as long as new Mommy could take it, we made the reluctant retreat down the elevator and past the gift shop toward the chilling car.

Melía asked, "But baby Jenna is not going to be a kid today? Is she?"

"No, Melía. Not today."

It's going to go too fast, my newly daddified little brother. But thank God, not THAT fast.