Blondie is the first-born of two first-born's. Bless her heart.
She is a rare breed as first-born's seldom marry one another. They typically kill each other, or at least severely complicate and over-think things before they ever make it down the aisle.
Procreation between two first-born's should come with a warning label.
I should know. I parent one of these rare breeds.
She is painfully intense, sober-minded, strong-willed, incessantly inquisitive, passionate, inflexible...
Sometimes I fear her small, slight, blue-eyed, blonde-headed person will burst with all that is constantly churning within.
I could write a book on this child...
But a post will suffice for now.
She accepts nothing at face value. She doesn't believe something is true just because her Sunday School teacher or pastor or parent tells her so. She has to work it out for herself.
And while she has a million questions of her own about God and the universe, she is not even a little bit shy to ask total strangers, nearly every one she meets, whether they believe in God. And I, as her meek and not-so-bold mother, smile sheepishly at the poor stranger while my face turns red.
Questions about God and good and evil and suffering and sin have plagued her since the age of 3. She frets and worries and broods, losing sleep over the the complexities of life and the world she lives in.
Honestly, she has more existential moments than any child imaginable.
Mommy, if God loves everyone then does He love Satan?Mommy, where do they still speak that original language? You know how God confused everyone's language at the Tower of Babel? Well, where in the world is that original language still spoken?Mommy, it doesn't seem fair that God and Jesus never sin.Mommy, if God can do anything, He could have thought of another way to save the world.Mommy, what if I'm forced to marry someone I don't truly love? (at age 3!)
And those are just the few I can quickly recall as I sit here writing.
Yesterday was one of those days.
She and Brownie and I were snuggled up in my bed reading The Patchwork Path, a wonderful book about a young slave girl and her father. The story is about their journey to Canada and the patchwork quilt whose patterns offer clues to freedom.
Blondie was moved by the story. And she must not have gotten the historical context at first. She said, Mommy, they could have just escaped to the United States. It's such a free and great country. Why did they go all the way to Canada? So I explained that this book takes place in the early to mid-1800's and reminded her that Hannah and her father were slaves in Georgia.
Well, she shot up out of bed with tears in her eyes and indignation written all over her face.
What?!? We used to have slavery here?!? How could any president have ever allowed slavery? I wish I'd been president then! I would have stopped it! How could Americans have ever thought this was okay? Why didn't someone do something? I don't understand. I CAN'T BELIEVE AMERICA WAS ONCE SUCH A SAVAGE NATION!!!
I began to calm her down. We talked about slavery and freedom and the world. She remembered her history sentence about the 14th Amendment and how it freed the slaves. And there we all sat, in my bed, discussing history and hard things together.
Clearly she thought about the subject the rest of the day. She offered the blessing at dinner last night...
Dear Lord, THANK YOU for the 14th Amendment.
Thank you that we are not slaves. Thank you for freedom. Thank you that there's no slavery in our country anymore. Thank you for the warm, comfy bed I sleep in every night. Thank you for all the food I have. Thank you for my family.
The gratitude for all things related to freedom and provision continued and I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I think I just sighed...with the sobering realization that this ever-thinking child is mine to parent.
Every day I am scared and overwhelmed. Every day I feel ill-equipped. Her big thoughts are often too big for my brain. Days filled with big questions are exhausting.
The hardest part may be that I see so much of myself in her. The Believer and the skeptic. One whose own brooding and over-thinking can become debilitating and counter-productive and scary.
But I remind myself that she was made this way. Wired to think and to question. Maybe she'll be a writer or a professor. A political leader or a theologian. Or maybe a mother to a little girl who will be born with much will and mental fortitude.
And if that's the case, she'll be well-prepared.