Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Rocking Grace

Some background:

Gracie was born dancing. At two weeks old she scooted from one corner of her crib to the other. At four months she entertained herself--and her teachers--at daycare by spending hours bouncing up and down in her exersaucer. In short, the girl was born to move.

Today my little girl turned nine, and she is beautiful. She's such a tweeny-bopper, coordinating her clothes and practicing cheers and beating all the boys in foot races.

A couple of weeks ago she accompanied me on a shopping trip where she discovered a row of wooden rocking chairs. Miss Always-In-Motion parked her butt on one and instantly settled down into pure bliss. As I did my shopping she kept returning to the rocking chairs. When I finally coaxed her away after I'd checked out and paid, she sighed. "Ah, if I had one of those at home, I'd never be mad again. If I got upset I'd just go in my room and rock."

Last weekend Grace was with her dad. As I ran my errands and did my child-free stuff I couldn't shake the feeling that I should get Grace a rocking chair for her birthday. For the record, I was already done with her birthday shopping. For the record, I'm a birthday minimalist. For the record, rocking chairs are bigger and more expensive than I do for birthdays.

Also for the record--when I have those feelings, I've learned to listen. Plus, I love my kid.

When I brought the rocker home it looked a little lonely sitting there by itself. The thought popped into my head that I should also give Grace my special teddy bear. It's a plain brown bear that I inherited at Christmas time when we spent the holidays with my family and my mom decided that everyone--including me--should have teddy bears. For some reason Grace prefers my teddy bear, and when she is most stressed or upset she'll ask if she can snuggle my bear. So the bear sat on the rocking chair and waited for Grace as well.

That's when it finally sort of clicked in my mind. This more-than-I-would-usually-do-for-a-birthday was exactly what I wanted my daughter to know of God's love. It's how God parents me. He gives me ongoing reminders of just how much He loves me, even when He doesn't have to, even when there isn't a reason, even when it's over the top and far more than I deserve. Grace's life would have been perfectly fine and happy without the rocking chair or the teddy, but I gave them to her because I love her and I want her to be not only happy, but gloriously, profoundly happy.

Even more than I wanted her to have the exciting moment of walking in her room to discover that she had exactly what she wanted, I want her to know the depth of God's love for her.

When she came home there was a card on the teddy bear's lap that read:

Dear Grace, 
I love you so much. I wanted you to have a rocking chair to rock on when you are upset, and I wanted to you to have my teddy bear to hold when you are scared. I want things that make you happy because I love you SOOOOOO much! Heavenly Father loves you even more than I do. I hope you'll always remember that He wants good and happy things for you, even more than I do. I hope you'll know that He loves you, and that when you sit in the chair and you hold your teddy, you'll feel my love and you'll feel God's love for you. I love you, sweetie! 

Isn't it awesome that we get to share the parenting experience with Him?

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