An entire decade! From this:
Katie was born on a warm, sunny winter’s day in 2004. I remember that day well – walking around the garden taking photos of our house to send to my sister in Israel. I was fairly sure that I would be going into labour that day. And so I did. While it was a short labour in total (7-8 hours) it was near on 3 hours of intense pushing and Katie almost needed intervention to make her way into this world. But, instead, she not only decided to take her time, she chose to come out when she was well and ready and very much in her own way. After her birth I was absolutely spent – physically and emotionally. But, the love that kicked in for this little girl who had caused so much pain and fatigue was indescribable. Not much has changed in the last 10 years! Katie still arrives at milestones in her own time and ways. Invariably, she does pretty well, despite not liking the effort required!
Right from the word “go”, Katie has loved all things stereotypically girly – pink, accessories, dress up, make up and, yes, even phones.
Dresses and fashion and all things pretty are her thing.
And pretty much have been for 10 solid years.
But, despite all the girliness, she breaks the stereotype in other ways – like being a tree-climber of late. She dives into imaginative play regularly with her siblings, never shying away from sword fights or gun battles. She’s our gadget girl, as past posts have pointed out. She’s the one who has all the technology in the house figured out before anyone else. Thanks to her, our old iPhone, which we use mostly as a music player and school app provider, has received a new lease on life. Its home button is temperamental. But Katie figured out how to create an onscreen home button. I never figured I’d be the mom who turns to her kids for techno help, but she sure is threatening to surpass me!
This past year has seen some surprising changes. Sometimes it scares me – especially when I see glimpses of teenage attitude from time to time. But, sometimes I catch myself in mid-mommy-meltdown and realise that the child before me is not reacting in the way she normally does. The pattern for years has been Katie doing wrong, Mom eventually losing it, Katie digging in heels and reacting badly still. Lately, when I find myself going off the deep end, she’s still there on the side, calmly accepting her wrong-doing and willingly choosing obedience over defiance. It’s quite revealing of my own misbehaviour when I find myself splashing alone in the waters of angry outbursts. Ah, nothing like a kid or two to expose one’s own sinfulness!
One of the areas of huge increased self-control is in her school work. In the past month, she’s been diligently completing her school work with much less pushing from me. “School” has never been her favourite thing. Anything that involves writing, thinking hard or prolonged intensity has her frustrated and angry. Well, it did. Nowadays, she’s persevering harder than ever. She’s embracing difficulties and the results are awesome. She is a walking advert for “better late than early” – my prayer is that all the pushing and worrying from me for the past few years has not ruined her potential.
When it comes to science, however, I doubt anything could suppress her enthusiasm! If it weren’t for Ms Katie, half the science experiments in our home would not take place. She’s the one who rummages around in the science kits and ropes her brothers in all sorts of fun experiments. Over the years, the balance between successful and unsuccessful / abandoned projects has begun to swing in favour of successful. For me, it’s all been an experiment in independent learning and personality types.
Katie continues to be a child who feels deeply and loves wholeheartedly. These days she is grappling with the nuances of popularity and friendship, superiority and compassion. She’s well-loved by friends – an intoxicating feeling – and so she struggles with the war between compassion and popularity. Her honesty means that not only does she recognise the war, but she hates that it exists within her. She mourns the loss of the deep sense of compassion she knew she once had – a compassion that feels somewhat dulled by age, sin and experience.
It’s an ongoing conversation with her. Sometimes I wonder if it’s one of those trade-offs that happens with age – with the benefits of greater self-control comes the loss of intensity of emotions, both good and bad. That she’s aware and grappling with it, is a good thing, I suspect. One way or another, it’s a prayer issue for sure.
She’s still a child who loves, however. And that was reflected again this year at her party. The list of friends to invite was long. And inclusive! This year, she wanted a Movie Party. I relented on the numbers, for the movie party means less craziness in our house. Even then, we had to cut the list down and long after the invites went out, she remembered more children she would have loved to have had at the party. The children that came ranged across her circles of friends and in age – many sibling groups and all great kids. From 5 to 13, they all had a ball.
Spiritually, Kates is showing a great desire to live her life pleasing to Him. Quiet times are now more of a desire than a burden, although she still struggles with regularity and discipline. She talks more about Jesus and asks deeper questions than ever before. It’s as if we are seeing the awakening of ownership of spiritual maturity. It’s a journey I look forward to being a part of.
And now, to my sweet Kates – how incredible this journey has been. 10 years of watching a beautiful flower unfurl and grow, stretching its face towards the Son – what a privilege. And then looking into the face of that flower, I discover a mirror to my own soul; reflecting the depth of my own sin and need for Jesus. My prayer this year is that you continue to grow in maturity – maturity in discipline, understanding and love. But I pray too that your love will continue to be deep, your compassion strong, your care continuous and your enthusiasm for discovery and life to grow bigger and brighter with each new day. I thank the Lord Jesus for the gift of you! Happy 10th birthday, my sweet girl!