Redeeming Kid

The challenge and blessing of having a Mini-Me

Having kids is weird. It’s like watching all your good and bad qualities played in front of you like a movie, only with very immature and self-centered characters. I’m convinced it’s one of the ways God’s redeeming the story of my own life.

I haven’t yet written much about my kids because 1.) this ain’t no mom blog (although I enjoy them!) and 2.) every time I think to, I keep coming back to just this one. It feels unfair–as if I’m jipping the others–but I’ve realized it’s not that I favor her, but because she’s most like me and that fact is hard to ignore.

Lauren is our middle child. In the lineup she’s between Rae, our first-born daughter, and Baby Boy Reece, who can no longer fairly be called “baby.” Lauren is fiery and feisty but lacking the red hair. Her body and mouth are in constant motion; could her energy be bottled I’d be writing from a house on the river. My mom sewed her a skirt recently and, when we asked her to stand still for the fitting so the hem could be pinned, she couldn’t do it. It wasn’t until that moment, as I asked her to balance her weight equally on both legs, let her arms hanging loosely, that I realized her absolute inability to be motionless. After trying for ten minutes, we gave up and eyeballed the hem.

Lauren is determined (stubborn?), a dreamer (in la-la land?), smart (a know-it-all?), and funny. Downright amusing. A sitter, who’s become a dear friend, coined the term “Laurenisms” for the offbeat things she says. Things that put a grin on your face and make you think, Where’d she get that!? If you ask her where it came from, her reply is always, “I thinked it in my brain.” Lauren is unaware she has a mind. Thoughts occur in her “brain” and go straight out the mouth. And out they pour like a mighty rushing river.

Mingled in with her words are questions. So many that, if she catches me toward the end of the day with ears that simply can’t take it anymore, I calmly pour a glass of wine and respond with a freshly-sharpened tongue, “I don’t know. Ask Daddy.” If her thoughts and questions run like water with no ebb to their flow, the expressions on her face indicate true north. If she’s mad, she looks it; otherwise, she’s happy and whistling. There’s no guessing as to how she feels. She lets the whole house know.

Speaking of the house, Lauren finds it impossible to obey the two main rules I have here: no running, no screaming. Everywhere she travels, she’s both running and screaming. I can take away treats, playdates, screens, you name it, it doesn’t do a lick of good. I’m coming to the conclusion she may not be willfully disobeying, as much as it relates to the aforementioned inability to be motionless. I guess she figures, if you can move, why not move rapidly? If you have vocal chords, why not squeal loudly?

A while back, a mom to one of Lauren’s friends, was trying to gather a team of girls to play basketball. Lauren was only five at the time and had never before picked up a basketball. I wasn’t going to press her about it and I didn’t expect her to sign up. Riding in the car I eyed her in the rearview mirror and said, “Some other girls are going to play basketball this spring. Would you like to play?” Her eyes shot left, as she looked out the window to consider her answer. “Do you win?” she asked. “Well, it’s possible to win, yes,” I replied. “But, with it being your first year, it’s just for fun.” “But do you win?” she pressed. “Yes,” I conceded. “Okay,” she said with finality, “I’ll do it.”

Today is Lauren’s birthday and I’m thanking God for her. I keep thinking back to an afternoon, seven years ago, when we welcomed into the world a baby girl who–little did I know at the time–would turn out to constantly remind me of myself.

As I teach her, I hear all the lessons I need reminding of: how to channel her fire, her will and her ways. Take them to the altar of a loving Father, allow Him to separate the wheat from the chaff, and call forth the beauty. It’s a painful process–both the parenting and the process of being made new. But new life requires death and parenting a Mini-Me is a how-to plan for putting the old self to death and a constant reminder of God’s grace which gives birth to life to the full.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature…and…put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Colossians 3:5-10

But that's enough about me…what about you?

Are you learning as you parent? Or, if not a parent, do you find it painful when your heavenly Father points out traits that need refining?

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  • Samantha Livingston

    Dum, dee dum, dee dum. (Just wanted to see a comment here….or anywhere. Feel free to join in! No performance anxiety here!)

  • amy catherine

    I was totally going to comment because I adore this post, but then I was afraid people would be annoyed by my commenting or disinterested in what I had to say, so I didn’t. If you really want to know, I will comment thusly:

    We have been blessed with two beautiful boys, both of whom look EXACTLY like my husband. In my opinion each got a different combination of my WORST qualities. Don’t get me wrong, each of them has MANY wonderful gifts, and they are well-adjusted, successful children. However, like me, my oldest child is hyper, has entitlement issues, and a tendency to be self-centered and inconsiderate at times. My youngest is overly sensitive, extremely dramatic, moody, and prone to depression, also like me. Some days are difficult enough to handle my own issues. Then at every turn I am faced with my character flaws that I have either through biology or environment passed on to them. Somehow it just isn’t charming when the traits they inherited from me aren’t the most flattering ones. Still, it is endearing, especially since they bear no physical resemblance to me at all, to see that there is potential beauty in those qualities when molded, and that there is something of me in them.

    • Samantha Livingston

      Love what you shared! I have a theory that our bad traits have a flip side that is wonderful if channeled in the right way. I know your kids have inherited a lot of beauty from you! :)

  • Lyric

    Sam – I am catching up on some of the blogs I have missed and I can so identify with you on this one! Your Lauren is my Blaine (aka Little Chief Never Shuts Up). I posted a photo on FB recently that Blaine’s teacher sent me of him reading upside down while spinning on a stool and as I am reading your blog about Lauren, that photo of Blaine popped in my head. I love this! You are correct in that it is hard not to pick your children apart or show favoritism.

    Casey and I are a blended family – Casey has Beau (24) and Kara (just turned 20), I have Christian-Hunter (21) and we have Blaine (almost 11) together. All of the children are treasures on their own, but Casey and I both believe that Blaine is the spitting image of both of us. Our physical features and our personalities – good and bad. He has my big pouty lips and almond eyes with Casey’s mind and sharp – spot on humor. It is hard to ignore because human nature is to gravitate towards the familiar – because it is safe and comfortable.

    As I am reading this blog it reminds me of a discussion I had recently with one of our employees, Bill, about how different children can be – even when raised in the exact same manner. I was telling Bill that you can ask all 4 of our children the exact same question and get 4 totally different responses. The example I used was “Did you take some chocolate?” – Beau would have said something to the effect of “Well, I did not take THAT chocolate because That chocolate is still right there.” Christian-Hunter is my analytical Marine and he would have simple replied “Yes Ma’am. May I have some more, please?” Kara is all girl and has figured out how to turn it around. She would have said “Do you think I took some chocolate? If so, what makes you think that?” Then there is my Blaine. Please know that I have a huge grin as I type this… Blaine would have looked up at me with chocolate smeared all over his face and dripping from the corners of his mouth and simply said “Nope!” Knowing good and well that it is obvious he took some chocolate and just got caught.

    They are all different and all unique and in one way or another all the same in the end… The same in that they are ALL mine and I love them ALL.

    As for Amy Catherine – AC, you are a treasure and I am certain that you are a wonderful Mom. Your husband and children are so lucky that God picked you to be their wife and mother. Just remember that He had a choice and He chose you for a reason!

    • amy catherine

      Oh, Lyric you are so kind! I saw that picture of Blaine and he seems like he is adorable and unique and very entertaining. :-) In parenting, one thing is certain: as much as we love them, I can’t do it without God’s help!

    • Samantha Livingston

      I love the bit of your family’s story you shared here Lyric! Sounds like you’re an attentive mother who knows her kids well. They sound like a lot of fun! Thanks for the sneak-peek. :)