This photo hangs at the top of our stairs. It’s me when I was three or four with my mom. It still hangs in our house because it’s my all-time favorite photo of my mom (and me!). While I was growing up, all I wanted was to be as pretty as my mom. I thought she was so beautiful (she is!) — especially her hair. I wanted this hair — long, pretty hair. I tried and tried to grow it out. I would grow it out, it would look awful. As Mom said, it looked like a mop! It was stringy and flat. So we’d cut it to where it looked okay, then I’d want to grow it out again. She always let me try, but for it to look nice took a LOT of work and would only last a few minutes. When I was about 12, I went to a gymnastics camp and met a friend with a really cute haircut that took no work! I decided that I was tired of trying to fix my hair, so I wanted her haircut. We tried, but that ended up requiring more effort! My hair just didn’t fall like my friend’s hair did. So I let it grow out again. It looked okay, but still wasn’t beautiful like my mom. I kept trying for something I’d be happy with, and in particular that I didn’t have to fuss with a lot. I’m just not into spending a lot of time on my appearance. I didn’t get Mom’s amazing talent for singing. I didn’t get all her brains (I did well in school, but I’m pretty sure that she and my sister have genius IQs). I didn’t get her artistic ability in decorating — homes, cakes, weddings, she does it all! I’m not able to do as much as they do and still do it all well. They are the types of people who pack their days completely full with activity and still find time to read, clean house, etc. I get emotionally, mentally, and physically tired before they do. And I didn’t get Mom’s vibrant personality. My mom knows no stranger. She seems to be comfortable in any situation and able to carry a conversation with just about anyone. I walk into a room of people and want to walk back out, but usually end up sitting quietly to the side. I always wanted to be like my mom, but I’m not.
BUT now that I’ve had kids, I don’t have Mom’s exact hair, but it’s pretty close! And I don’t have to fuss with it if I don’t want to! It’s a little hard to see in this photo, but I’m glad to say I have one of Mom’s traits that I always hoped for!
Even more than that, I’m discovering that I love my mom for being who God made her to be and I love who God is making me to be. He’s not making me into my mom. He doesn’t need to, because He already made my mom and He’s far too creative to make a duplicate! Instead He is giving me new passions, desires, and dreams that are more about growing up like His Son. As I now parent two young boys, it’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to force them into my image of what they should be. But it is my prayer that God would teach me how to train them into the image that He has for them — a reflection of Christ shown in unique ways through their own passions, personalities, and pursuits. I’m not very good at this! Most often I just want them to do what I want them to do! Thankfully, God can and will work His will in their lives despite all my failures, just as He is working His will in my heart despite my misguided dreams and pursuits. What a great God we serve!