Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My heart goes to kindergarten

Last week was hard for me and my oldest daughter. She wanted me all to herself. She whined when I was not 100% devoted to her. She sassed. She yelled. She pouted and stomped her foot.

I had tasks that needed to be accomplished. I wanted to be left alone sometimes. I was PMSing.
I sassed. I yelled. I pouted and stomped my foot.

On Saturday I told her she could run an errand with me. A boring errand, an early morning boring errand, but it was just the two of us, and that is all she wanted. That was all she needed.

On the way there, she happily hummed in the back seat, coloring the princess I had printed off the internet onto recycled adoption paper. When she was done, she passed it to me while I sat at a red light.

"That's you," she said. "And that's me, cause I am in your heart."

And I tried to not to run us both off the road through the blur of my tears. 

Yesterday, the girl of my heart walked into a kindergarten classroom and, in a way, out of my life.

I know, I know, she's really not out of my life. I know I sound melodramatic. But this is an end of an era for me and Eva Rose.

It's been a long, hard era, in a lot of ways. I always wanted a daughter, and I always wanted a daughter who looked just like me. Not for any narcissistic reasons - it was just the dream of an adopted child, to see my own image reflected in another person.

God answered that prayer.

Baby Missy:

Baby Sissy:

I never, ever prayed for a daughter who acted just like me.

She's a MiniMe, but exaggerated. She looks like me, but much prettier. She's passionate like me, but more passionate. She's verbal like me, but with an uncanny command of the language for a little girl. She's a writer, it's already evident.  She's smarter than I am. She's so, so stinking much smarter.

She is, essentially, all of my good qualities, but better.


She has a temper like me. She has a mouth like me. She loses self control like me. She's bossy like me. She's demanding like me. She is strong willed like me, but stronger. She's much too sensitive, like me. And she's needier than I am, which has caused problems in our relationship from the very beginning, since I am almost always the one she needs.

She is all of my sin parading in front of me constantly. 

And that, I never prayed for. 

I recently told Walker, at the end of an especially hard day, "If Eva Rose and I were dating, we would have broken it off by now. We would both have said, "It's not you, it's me. You're great, really. I just don't think it's working out."

But we're not dating. She's my daughter. She's the result of my prayers and wishes. And, as always, God knew to answer the prayers that I never prayed, but needed. For I can no longer claim to be unaware of my own sin. I can never claim to be ignorant of my own need for the cross. I can never, ever deny my desperation for daily, sometimes hourly, redemption.

She is in my heart. I love her, words cannot express how much I love her.
She is my heart, she is my soul, she is my child.

So for the past five years, instead of just breaking up with her and moving on to an easier relationship, I have had to learn daily to view the ugliness of my own tarnished image. To die to myself, to repent of my selfishness, of my desire to not be needed. To rely on God as a first, not a last, resort. To learn how to give her the love that she needs, how to show grace to a child who is so much like me, without resenting myself in the process.

Some days have been better than others. 

And yesterday, I sent my heart out into the world, the big bad world, hoping, praying that I managed to do something right.


  1. Soooo sweet. I have one of those exaggerated mini-mes as well. So fun and challenging. I thought she was drawing an arrow to the guitar. I thought she was saying that you played her or something. It might have a double meaning.

  2. THis is precious! WIth a mama who loves her so much - she's going to do great out there in the big ol world!

  3. I've got one of those mini-me, too, and we have the same problems. Of course, I also understand her like no one else, why she does the things she does (or doesn't). That's a very sweet picture and representation of your relationship.

  4. I could have written thit myself (not so beautifully, but you know what i mean). My mini-me was adopted from India as a baby and shares my very soul like no one else on earth.

    Beautiful post.

  5. My Rebekah is my Mini-me. I totally get this post. I could have written this post. I probably HAVE written this post.

    I bawled my eyes out when she started kindergarten, for all the same reasons you did. While the moms next to me where hi-fiving each other at their newfound freedom, I stood there in tears with this overwhelming feeling of "have I done enough to prepare her for what lies ahead?"

    A few days ago my Mini-me started middle school. Imagine your Mini-me with make-up and earrings and shaved legs, organizing her locker and giggling with her friends, while the boy behind her is checking her out. Imagine the intensity of your emotions multiplied times 100.

    "Have I done enough to prepare her for what lies ahead?"

    That's me for the last week and a half.Dear Lord...what will we do when they start college?!?!

  6. Do you need me to interpret your Chinese comments again? I'm sure it's something relevant and informative.

  7. Love this post. Hope is a mini-me and I feel that Michaela is already headed that way! Beautiful picture of you two!

  8. It is a beautiful picture of you two. I love this post. A good reminder for me as we start school today.

  9. Love this post! I adopted my daughter when she was 18 months old. She is now 5. She is so much like me its uncanny! The tone of her voice is just like mine- have to really watch what I say in front of her LOL!

  10. Beautifully written - loved this post!!

  11. I had this same prayer. I have this same child it seems. She went to Kindergarten too. Crying. You put words to how I feel. I am constantly trying to figure out how to mother her and be what she needs me to be. Thank you for sharing your heart on this. Sounds like together, our daughters could change the world or at least be cellmates:)

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  13. I totally get where you are coming from with this. Totally.

  14. I could so relate to this post. Grace is my mini-me, and sometimes it is almost painful to watch my bad habits displayed in front of me. But so fun to watch the quirky or endearing things that we share. And sending them to kindergarten really is the end of an era. Both of mine are in school now, but the first day of kindergarten was so hard for me!

  15. What a precious post! I love this! I laughed out loud when you said if you were dating you would have broken up! Too funny! I sure hope she had a great day....and that YOU did too!

  16. Oh, Missy, this is SO precious. What a sweet, sweet post!

  17. I could have written this about me and my daughter, Grace. Oh. My.

    I have a Bachelor's and a master's in Theatre. Trying throwing that into the mix!

    I just hope we make it to the point where she takes me as her date to the Oscar's.

  18. One of my BFFs sent me this post because she said as she read it, she thought of me. I cried almost the entire time. That is me and my oldest. She is 4, so I haven't sent her off to Kindergarten yet. But I struggle between wanting to keep her here with me forever and being free. Nearly every day is a struggle. The drama, the temper, the strong will. She's JUST LIKE me!

    I can only hope that raising this little person will bring about big changes in ME! It will be worth it either way, but that would be a bonus.

  19. it's such a great new season. i promise.

  20. Why do you do this to me, Miss? Why do you like to make me blubber and sob on the days I have gone to the trouble to actually put on make-up?!?

    This is gorgeous and so are the two of you. Just absolutely stunning.

    (And I totally, completely know what you mean - walking out of our lives just a little bit. Yesterday, I asked Dacey to tell me some of her favorite things from school that day. She sighed and said, "Well, you just should have been there." It's hard to miss the everyday, but it's good, too. The long walk towards the day we really, really let them go continues . . .)

  21. Amazing...and so very true... I love how God answers our prayers and those we didn't think to pray.

  22. As a mom of two toddler girls who mirror so much of my heart (sin and all), this really spoke to me. I especially appreciate the gentle reminder that to do this well requires some continuous dying to self and a whole lot of grace. Thanks for this sweet post.

  23. Wow, I could have totally written this. Except less eloquently. And my mini-me has a year until kindergarten. But, beyond those two minor things, this is my and my girl.

    Well said!

  24. Oh yes. My six-year-old isn't a Mini-Me (although by many accounts, he's a replica of my brothers at this age). But we have had Quite The Summer. Every day is a battle. Yet I couldn't love Him more.

    I'm so aware of the eternal work and value of parenting right now. This is about so much more than manners or good hygiene. I want my son's heart to be God's. That keeps me going when the days are long and my heart is sobbing.

  25. That is so lovely, I never thought I'd shed tears over a guitar-wielding princess.

  26. crying and loving this post...thank you for writing it about me and my oldest daughter (ha!). i wonder if every mother with a daughter feels exactly like this? and i see you have a japenesse too. ugh!

  27. Coming of lurk-dom...I'm addicted to your blog and your writing style. Enjoyed this post since I have my own non-dating, beautiful stuck to me to expose all my sin child.
    Thanks for mixing truth and humor!

  28. I stumbled upon your blog a week ago and have been here every day since! We are a little further down the road, my mini-me and I, but I so identify with your posts. The one about two strong willed children got me too!

  29. This was so, so very sweet, my friend. I especially love her since she's in Kindergarten and that was my favorite to student teach. Oh, I hope she LOVES it! And I hope YOU enjoy those "quieter" days at home. :)

  30. Oh, you're breaking my heart! My first child (#2 is on his/her way!) is a daughter who is just like me...not in looks (I have my husband's strong Dutch genes to thank for that), but in personality. When you said that your little girl is like your sin parading in front of you constantly, I just cried, because I am right there. She is a reflection of my good and bad qualities, and she teaches me grace and humility every moment. I love her to death, and God uses the people we love to grow the Fruit of the Spirit, which is to say that she tries my patience all the time! lol Thank you for the encouragement!!

  31. I knew there was a reason I was drawn to your blog... with the exception of your girl starting K and mine 2nd, I could've written this post.
    My girl joined our family through adoption, but I think God must get a chuckle out of how much she IS me. People even tell us all the time how she looks like me. And there is no doubt that she acts like me. Times ten.
    Thanks for writing your heart. It's clearly touched a lot of other hearts. ♥

  32. Just have to say, I love your blog. In fact, I linked to it on my blog site hoping my friends would read you too! I follow regularly, but have never commented before. This post made me cry. I have boys, but I see myself in them the same way. Especially my oldest, Chris. MiniMe, as you put it! This past week, I watched him graduate from the second year of an intership program at the Honor Academy in East Texas (Teen Mania Ministries). He's matured into such a wonderful young man of God. I'm so proud of him!

    He can still be sinful, prideful, and as selfish as anyone can be in the flesh sometimes, but I rarely see it any more. I thank God every day for molding him more and more into the image of Christ. He's still his mother's son, that's for sure. But so much better!

    Thanks for blogging,

  33. I read this post last night and saw myself and my oldest daughter in everything you said. Although she looks nothing like me (and just like her daddy), she is very much like me in temperament and attitude. I once heard a pastor say that God give us children for our sanctification; I see that so clearly as my children get older. Thanks for sharing you heart!

  34. It's hard isn't it? Your heart literally walks around outside your body. Sigh... I got teary eyed reading that too. My middle son just started K on Tuesday and it's been bitter sweet... he comes home SO excited of things simple as eating in a cafeteria for lunch... getting to have hot food (pizza) for lunch instead of sandwiches... going to Spanish and computer (today)... but my favorite thing was when I asked him after his first day... What was your best part about your first day and he said, "Making a new friend." :)

  35. Am I the only one that didn't know you were adopted? Maybe that was information you talked about before I became a reader.
    My adopted child Hannah is just like me. My mom has asked me several times if I'm sure I didn't give birth to her. It's amazing that the Lord gives us our little ones on purpose. It's like He's in control or something:)

  36. i heart this. so precious.

    it really is amazing how the Lord uses our children for our sanctification and daily points us to the cross. i am so thankful for this reminder. i used to be a pretty good pharisee...but a husband and 4 boys later, I am so aware of my blaring sin!!

    thank you for allowing your blog to always remind me of the gospel. you encourage me!

  37. My heart. I don't have words. I love this.

  38. This is beautiful -- you have captured so wonderfully what goes on between my daughter and me -- and she will be starting Kindergarten in just one short week. Not sure how that happened.

  39. Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing. This spoke to my heart. I'll be praying for your adoption process to be blessed!

  40. Wow- I can totally relate to this post. My middle daughter is a total mini-me too. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I've never thought of it as sin personified, but that's totally spot on! She's also going to Kindergarten this year and although I went through this last year with my son- it's still hard to send her.

  41. You have so beautifully written what I so often feel...and my daughter is only 2!! It truly is amazing the way God uses our children in our lives ... and the way He enlarges our heart to love in a way we have never loved before. Thank you so much for sharing.

    ps...I clicked over from the Diaper Diaries, and I am excited to click around and explore your site more!

  42. I just clicked over from the Diaper Diaries, and I love love love your blog!!! What a warm heart felt post too. My oldest went to kindergarten last year, and it was heartwrenching and heartwarming at the same time. He blossomed in so many ways! It's so fun to watch them grow.

    Some good friends of mine are in the middle of an Ethopian adoption. They returned a few weeks ago from their court date and meeting her (she's beautiful!), and are EAGERLY waiting to return in a few weeks to bring her home. What an adventure and journey. Blessings to you!

  43. I love it! You just put into words my relationship with my 2 year old daughter! She has a twin brother and so her desire for my TOTAL attention can be worrisome but she is a joy. I always say that she is a mini-me but being 2 and not 32 it is very entertaining.



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