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.
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.