Tuesday, February 8, 2011

coloring line upon coloring line

I wish there was a precise way to keep track of how often I blog about each child. The, "I think it's been awhile" method is far from scientific. If there is such a thing as karma, one of my kids will volunteer to thumb through each entry in an effort to tabulate the fairness of the attention I've distributed via the blog. And while I suspect that my Eliza centered posts are in the lead, today's post goes to her. Rather than spotlighting her social, physical or academic growth, allow me a moment to record the spiritual.

Eliza has faith in God. Her little brain knows that she has a Father in heaven. It's humbling because as we talk through her questions, I've discovered that to be a good example I can't just know what the right things to say are. I have to believe them as strongly as she does and/or wants too. As Eliza and I chat, I'll mentally interrupt myself.

"Do you really believe what you're telling her?" Privately I wonder. A surge of confidence and peace fills me as I reply (to myself),

"Yes!" I fire back,

"How do you know this? More importantly, how can she know this?" I try my best to answer that particular question with Eliza.

Eliza's desire to have Henry share a room with her arose when she began to fear the night. The idea of wandering the halls alone to my bedroom each morning or to the bathroom at night causes her anxiety. After weeks of giving them time to adjust to sharing, we realized that with Henry still napping, they weren't ready to sleep at the same time. He'd keep her up and she'd wake him up. They now are back in their own rooms.

And while she happily sent him packing, her fears of being alone escalated. Eliza will not leave her bed once we're through saying "Goodnight." She doesn't attempt to stall us or throw a nasty tantrum. Instead, she gathers up her comfort items, sippy cup of water, her framed picture of Jesus and if we let her - a flashlight - and hides under her comforter until sleep rescues her from her fear.

We say "special" prayers to ask the Lord to provide her with peace and happiness. On more than one occasion she's asked for a Father's blessing. Not knowing the terminology, she'll place her hands on her head and say,

"Remember that time Daddy gave me a special blessing like this," She pauses to place her hands on her head, "... before I started my new preschool? Can we do that again?" And while I imagine that this challenge is common for small children, it's hard to see the struggle. But as she continues to progress, I'm grateful for the chance its given her to exercise her faith.

I wish I could attribute her spiritual standing to us, her parents. And while we do pray with our children daily, attend Church weekly and try our best to have family night, a lot of her acceptance of knowing that there is a God in Heaven who loves her comes from her Christian based preschool. I have been impressed and grateful for the way they integrate spiritual truths into her daily experience. Just yesterday, she came home with a simple prayer journal, among other artsy treasures...Using bound envelopes, Eliza was asked to draw a picture of what or who she'd like to pray for. Her list included: butterflies, flowers, Lottie, her friends Mary Mac and Ann Elise and God (He's in blue).

"I wanted God to have a happy day." She explained.

Awhile back I mentioned on facebook that one night she asked if we could, "please skype with Jesus." I asked her what she'd like to say to Him. Her reply,

"I would ask Him to come be with me at night so that I won't be scared."

She will turn five this May. That's a big one. There are moments when I feel like we're providing a healthy, happy childhood which makes me feel proud. Other times, I start to panic. I fear that I haven't made the most of this time. Are we teaching her as best we can? Am I putting forth the same effort that I did when I only had two children?

To see her develop a relationship with her Savior is encouraging. My children will face all sorts of "scary" as they grow which is why I hope that this pattern of turning to prayer keeps and that the pressure I feel to help us nurture our testimonies doesn't let off.
My current definition for the word, "impossible:"
Family picture taking time

Last weekend, Uncle Mike came for a visit! Eliza kindly offered her bed knowing that it meant she'd be allowed to sleep on an air mattress in Henry's room. Their sleepover ended a half an hour after bedtime as Henry wouldn't stop harassing his dear roommate. Andrew suggested she fall asleep in our bed after being promised she'd return to Henry's room once he was sleeping. She readily agreed as long as her framed picture of Jesus went with her.Wanting to remember the attachment she currently has to this picture, I asked her to let me document it this morning. She only let me snap a few as she was eager to return to her coloring book.

When Eliza left, the strangest thing happened. Acting on its own accord, the camera lens found Lottie. Once that happened, it couldn't stop snapping pictures. Holy bananas is she cute.


B-dizzle said...

I was reading an article in the paper the other day about parenting. Okay, it was the Mormon Times. It talked about how parents are given children with their own personalities and quirks and characteristics and as parents you don't really create your child. You more steer them in the right direction and if they decide it is what they want, they take it. Although I don't doubt (is that a double negative?) how wonderful of parents you and Andrew are, I know Eliza has her own style, if you will, and she will beat to that drum. It seems like her drum is beating "Come, come ye Saints" which is so great. She does have a special spirit and from what your comments have been, it seems like she knows what is best for her. I love how we all have the truth and what is right inside of us. It seems like she is not afraid of showing it. Okay, now I'm just rambling

Ali said...

Katie, I really appreciate your comment and am impressed you made it through my parental rambling.

You are right. Eliza's spiritual nature is innate. It isn't just the outside influences of family, Church and preschool that have made her what she is; but it certainly serves as an influence.

Your comment reminds me of something the Prophet Joseph Smith once said in regards to the members of our Church. He said,

"We teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves." I think parenthood is a lot like that. We have the responsibility to teach truth, but have to allow them to exercise their agency. I just have to keep in check that I take advantage of the daily teaching moments (Elder Bednar talked about that in conference) rather than hurry through them.

I'd love to read the Mormon Times article if you have the link to share.

rachel.a.rasmussen said...

LOVE your hair all curly!!

Aside from that, I feel like reading your blog is this great parenting guide for the someday little Garber I'll be in charge of (scary). So many things you write about make me think, "Hm, I should try that!" and then the whole daunting idea of parenting excites me a little - which, if you knew how I usually feel about the topic - should make you proud :) So please keep it up!!

Liz Green said...

That is so cute about Eliza wanting to sleep with Jesus. You are such an awesome mother and great example to them and us.