Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Love 'Em For Who They Are

If there's one lesson I've learned {and am still very much in the process of learning} about loving husband and children, it's this:

Love them for who they are and not for who you want them to be.

Clearly one could write a book on this but for now, how about just a post?

I am a girl of dreams and expectations. Prone to bossy-ness and control, I could write a list called How to Live Your Best Life Now and then a follow-up list called Did You Do That Stuff I Said on the First List?

Those are touching and endearing qualities for a wife and mother, are they not?

Sometimes I'm nudged to examine how much expectation I place on others in subtle ways. You may recall this post about Blondie a year or so ago. How I agonized over her issues with books and reading, how God showed me that I needed to just let go.

Well, she has continued to read...but more out of duty rather than delight. It has been a laborious, tiresome, chore of a task and I have simply hoped that one day she would grow to love books as much as I do. {Again, the expectations. Groan.}

We've tried American Girl books. Nope. I bought the whole Little House series, just knowing she would love it. She didn't. After painfully getting through Book 1, she came to me and asked, Mommy, will you be offended if I tell you that I just really don't like this book? It's just, well, sort of boring for me. I'm sorry.

And while I wasn't offended, I was a little sad and mostly bewildered. Oscillating between thinking of her as ungrateful and overly particular versus thinking that we just hadn't found the right genre, I was at a loss. After trying and failing with many books, I spotted one I'd forgotten about on the shelf, one I'd picked up brand new from a thrift store forever ago.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. The books {13 in all} are quirky and dark, full of irony, rich characters and ghastly situations. The children, though prone to one misfortune after another, remain inventive, heroic and hilarious. The plots are a roller-coaster of despair and short-lived triumph.

She can't stop reading. With each book, she's building confidence and reading faster, catching me up on the previous chapters whenever we get even a minute to chat.

And while I had visions of her snuggled under her comforter reading pioneer adventures and sweet stories of vintage girlhood, that's just not her thing.

I shouldn't be surprised. Roald Dahl, with his freakish characters and odd, mysterious tales, was one of my favorite authors as a child.

And so I accept and applaud this girl of mine who is coming into her own in many ways, literature preferences and all. She's not tattooing herself {yet} or dying her hair fuschia, but I'm learning, in both the big and little things, that while I can lead and guide, nurture and love, she is who she is.

I love her for that.

As for those lists about how to do life according to me, I don't think anyone's reading them anyway.


  1. I love this post...because if reminds me of my daughter as a young one. She loved all the Lemony Snicket books. Oh and I had to learn to let go of my expectations,when she DID dye her hair pink and she finally did get a tattoo a few months ago as soon as she turned 18. :-) ~ Karla

  2. Loving to read...and loving to teach children to love to read...I just had to comment. I LOVE the Lemony Snicket books. I ate them whole. This summer I read a book (yes, I read children's books almost all summer!) which reminded me of this series- it's called The Mysterious Benedict Society. It looks a bit menacing, but it's a captivating and, as the title denotes, mysterious read! She may love it!

    Kudos to Blondie (so beautiful and grown-up!) and Scooper for never giving up on books!

  3. Here's a huge pat on the back **Scooper** for encouraging Blondie to keep trying to find what she likes to read. She will always remember when her mom 'let' her read these books.
    I had never read the Anne of Green Gables series until 2 years ago, (and you know my advance age)! I like them but Little Miss would never enjoy them. She's more of a Lemony Snicket gal, too.
    BTW we do read EVERYTHING you write, including your lists, because you write so well. And when you do write the book on letting our children be who God made them to be, I'm first in line for the book signing. Well, after your mom of course!
    love ya.

  4. Ah yes! They are born with their own personalities and their own version of "How to live your best life now."

    I remember when I first started homeschooling my daughter. My son had been very compliant and easy going, willing to do whatever I said. My daughter's response to everything was, "But I think we ought to do it this way (her way)." My son is off at college now and it's just me and my daughter homeschooling. Not much has changed and it's a real challenge sometimes!

    Glad to hear that your girl found books that she really likes. As I read your post, I couldn't help but wonder if she has inherited some of her mother's writing genes. It seems as though she's mighty particular and I'm just wondering if she might just be one who only accepts writing that she perceives as literary greatness. Perhaps, she's picking up on the subtle cues of great writing and rejecting all else.

  5. Your letting go ... her continued search ... the right book at the right time. Sounds like a series of fortunate events! When Blondie was here with us last weekend, we talked about how there's just nothing better than being so captured by a book that you can't wait until you have some time to read more of it.

    Thrilled for both of you.

    Love you forever.

  6. Love you girl! I just finished reading BFG to Bella and now we started Witches. The BFG might be one of my favorite books ever. I never really read as a child, so it is now fun to read all the kids books with my kids. I just started the first Harry Potter, b/c Eli just can't handle that I haven't read them yet!
    Love you and miss you!

  7. Love your post. Needed to hear those words today, especially with a hubbie upset about the boys losing their football game.
    Love you...

  8. Oh, Scooper, I love this post. It's amazing how they're all their own little people. . . and our expectations usually serve only to get in the way of guiding them toward becoming their own big people. But we're learning, aren't we? Aren't we?

    . . . aren't we?. . .

  9. Love it. I have a reluctant reader as well. This is so encouraging.

  10. I ate them whole. This summer I read a book (yes, I read children's books almost all summer!) which reminded me of this series- it's called The Mysterious Benedict Society.


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