Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My First-Born

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.


  1. Well, now I know what's wrong with my first born!! I (a first born) married another first born. ;) Seriously, our daughters sound very similar. They drive you nuts, huh? ;)

  2. I pray you put your daughter into a gifted program at school - or at least have her skip kindergarten. Brilliance is often manifest at such a young age. All moms think their kids are bright - but this is exceptional. Wow.

  3. hey! yeah, the wedding was so sweet. you can see more pics and some of mine at this website:

    the beau and i will be out of town until monday. what about next week? would love to see you!!

    Sarah B.

  4. try marrying an only child... while being an only child yourself! haha :)

  5. She WAS made that way.
    Isn't that a cool thought?

    I love it that you were reading the Patchwork Path with her!

  6. From one first born to another: keep on listening, loving and . . . praying.
    Love, Dad

  7. I do believe you have a prophet in the making there girl. Caleb is just like that. He takes nothing at face value and has to work out everything for himself. He asks questions I don't have answers for, questions authority, challenges his dad (or me) and will call us on the carpet in a minute.
    It's just not 2 first borns that make a child such as this.
    These are the ones that will work out their faith and grab onto Jesus with a full bite and both hands!!!
    And proclaim HIS word to their place in the world in which God places them.
    Danielle is the same way, but different. She already has a love for Jesus that is unbelievable. She already knows Him, at age 4.

  8. I LOVE THAT GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Her Nana

  9. My husband and I are both first-borns, too. Our daughter is just 2 1/2, but I already see that deep-thinking intensity in her.

  10. My husband and I are both first borns, and our firstborn is so much like you described your daughter. He also has special needs so I sort of thought that was why he was this way, but I'm sure it had something to do with the "firstbornness" too. I got all choked up reading this post because he is so intense too, and it makes me crazy, yet I love him with everything in me and I know he is so special... Oh, this journey we are on as mothers! Thank you for writing this.

  11. Oh, how I love that niece of mine...she has already made it into several sermons of mine and Matt's! I don't know anyone quite like her...give her my love! Oh, and you should probably hold of on telling her that there still is slavery in the US, huh? :) Miss you and can't wait to (hopefully) live near each other again!

  12. I enjoyed your daughter's great passion and spiritual insight.

    My first born has also asked tough questions.

    A couple of my favorites (asked at 4):

    If God is good and he made everything, then how could he have made the devil?


    If God is omnipresent, then is He in the bathroom with me too?


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