How is it possible to adore someone utterly; and in the same moment, have them make you absolutely nuts?! I think maybe it is something that moms experience on a higher level than the average person, with those little creatures we call our kids. In one moment we are stifling a scream because we just don't know if we can handle it if they do "that" one more time! The very next, our heart is in a puddle at our feet, melted by the deep, sweet love of a child. No other relationship has quite the ups and downs, nor do they happen so often and with such rapidity! Makes a girl's head spin! (perhaps this explains the "Mommy Brain" phenomenon)
So much of the time, it is the very same trait in my child that will both make me a lunatic, and also a marshmallow of emotion. My son's extreme emotional responses can bring the most exasperation or the warmest, fuzzy feelings of being adored by a child, depending on how he has directed them. My daughter's beautiful free spirit, and tendency to dream, can cause my heart to soar with her, ear to ear smiles, in awe of who she is, or send me to the brink of insanity because she was completely unaware of something important, and made a mess of it, all for lack of thinking her actions through.
I had the thought recently that God has given each one of us some amazing and specific gifts, strengths, and traits. We all have some part to play in His great story, if you will, that only we can fill; and those specific character traits are not something that we suddenly acquire when we turn 21. God has placed a blueprint of qualities in each of us from the moment we are conceived. The interesting part is, when you are in your childhood, you are in the process of figuring out what those gifts are, how to use them, and how to walk in them the way God designed you to. They are already present; they just aren't fully formed, nor do we know what in the world to do with them.
The amazing thing that I think I am discovering is that, as a parent, my job is simply to walk with my kids through their process of discovering what their unique qualities are, and to provide guidance as they learn how to handle their strengths in a godly and mature way. I can get so frustrated because I see behaviors in my children that I don't like, and I fail to see in the heat of the moment that the personality trait doesn't need to be removed or changed, broken or disciplined, it is just in the process of becoming, of being matured and developed. I am not here to alter who my kids are, but rather to help them discover who they can be! The passionate emotions that will be the strength of a family, the ability to defend an opinion that will win hearts for the truth, the curiosity that will discover a cure for a disease, the desire to fight that will be a desire to defend the innocent. The possibilities are endless of what our kids can do with their God-given strengths, when those qualities are given room to grow, even encouraged, coupled with Godly direction and sensitivity. The challenge for me, and what I want more than anything, is to love my kids passionately for who they are. Indeed, to love them in the middle of being imperfectly who they are!