Today, I spent about twenty minutes just listening to Avi talk as she walk around our living room, playing. I was laughing hysterically almost the whole time.
(Avi walked up to me, pointing at the picture she drew on her doodle pad).
“See it mom? Korean girl.”
(I look at the triangle she drew on the pad, trying to remember if I ever taught her the word ‘Korean.’ And thinking it would be pretty cool if she actually had a clue of what that word means).
Me: “Oh, it’s a Korean girl.”
Avi: “Say it.”
Me: “Say what?”
Avi: “Say Korean girl.”
Me: “Um, okay, Korean girl.”
Avi: “No, say it!”
Me: “Say what?”
Avi: “Say it!”
Me: “Sing it?”
Avi: “Ya, sing it?”
Me: “Sing what?”
Avi: “Sing Korean girl.”
Me: “Um, Korean girl?”
Avi: “Ya. I myself did it.”
Me: “Okay. . . that was weird.”
(While I try to comprehend our conversation, Avi walks back over to baby doll, babbling about drawing a picture of “him” [her] and putting “him” to bed. For the next 15 minutes she alternates between having other typically nonsensical conversations with me, and going “night night” on a chair with her baby doll).
Avi: “Em, gonna give baby the toy”
(She picks up some stacking pegs, then goes about dropping them in specific locations on the floor. This must either be creative art or she is practicing war tactics again. If the latter, these landmine-like devices will cause pain in one foot and hopping up and down on the opposite leg. I choose to presume this is an artistic expression, while make a mental note not to step on them).
Avi: “Here mom.”
Avi: “Your welcome” “Here, three, six, seben. . . . I’m gonna get em mom on my chair on my my my head.”
(She goes under a chair, pulls out more pegs, and brings them to me as Josh comes up the stairs).
Avi: “Uh oh, a hurry daddy”
Me: “Where are you hurrying to?”
Avi: “Oh look at her [him], its dan its sue . . . What are you doing dad? What’s your hands doing? I hab Toys. I want to have more grandma.”
(drops pegs on me).
Avi: “Oh, Sorry mom, sorry.”
(I think, “Thanks Avi,” as we move on to the next activity- which would be a zip-line in poison ivy. And, you should know I’m not kidding).
My daughter is a delight. She makes me crazy, grating on my impatience or shocking me with her callous little girl evil. But, its impossible to not love her. It is thrilling to see her discover everything from gravity, to social graces, to language- her ability to soak up the world around her mesmerizes me.
I love enjoying my daughter. Vaguely, in the back of my mind, I know I am blessed. There are many parents who don’t get to enjoy their children. Some parents die, leaving their children orphaned. Some are separated by war or poverty. Others only have languid children, not happy and experiencing life like my daughter is. Their children are sick, thirsty, and hungry. Some other three-year-old children are hurt by the most gruesome forms of oppression. I encourage you to read this story, which gives a glimpse of other stories kids the same age as Avilynne’s experience.
I know I am being a kill joy, but as the radio sings, “. . . you don’t know what you got ’til its gone . . .”‘ I am reminded to try to be grateful before it is too late. I am sure I just lost some of you; I did not just change subject to trees and parking lots. I am still on the subject of being thankful for my little girl. I guess I just want to be so grateful for what I have been blessed and entrusted with, rather than take it for granted. And I don’t want to forget the truth that there are so many whose children suffer.
In the Old Testament God directed the Israelites to do all sorts of things to remember what He had done for them, bringing them out of oppression as slaves in Egypt. God prescribed holidays and memorials. He wanted them to sing about it, read about it, slap reminders on their foreheads, door frames, and tell their kids over, and over, and over, and over again of what He had done. It was like God was putting post-in-notes all over their lives, getting them to see the obvious- He is good! God saved! God heard them! God cared!
I have a few post-it-notes in my life, as well. I am overwhelmingly blessed, and sometimes its good for me to remember that. So, thank you God for Avi, “The Father’s delight!” (as her name means). Just like the Israelites were directed to do, I want to tell Avi as she grows up of how good God has been, and how she is a reminder to me of that. And every time I tell her this, I hope to be spurred on to remember the other children whose lives are anything but full of hope. I have no doubt God sees them, hearing their cries, just like I hear my daughter’s when she has a nightmare. I wish I could see all the stories of how God has intervened on their behalf already. But even more than that, I hope my thankfulness for God’s goodness in my life, overflows as action to change the lives of these hurting children. After all, I have been blessed to bless others. God might have used Moses, plagues, fiery pillars, and a wall of water to save the Israelites. I am sure He can do so again, if He wanted to. But, I am also pretty sure He can use little me. Just an average advocate for what is good. Like my children.
“So be careful how you live, not as fools, but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do.”
Ephesians 5:15-17 NLT