Only minutes after holding a purple faced yowling infant Pumpkindoodle, my friend Anita produced a sympathetic smile and frankly stated, “This girl’s got opinions.”
Four years and forty thousand words later my girl still owns copious opinions along with a deep seeded belief that said opinions require an audience. One night I sat in the front row of P.D. Opinion Fest 2008 and boy did I get an earful.
Sent to bed 15 minutes early for disobedience my three-foot charge was ticked. She wallowed in self-pity and handcuffed me to the trough. “This is not fair. I have a horrible life and I’m not going to take it anymore. I’m not going to live here either. I’m going to live on the street.”
Reeling, my first thought was where on earth does this girl get her material? In my craziest dreams I couldn’t imagine plucky Dora the Explorer™ threatening life on the avenida. And Cinderella™ who toiled the day away in servitude would have welcomed an early respite.
My second thought shaped itself into a plea “Lord, I’m at the end of my rope and on the verge of losing my cool, please help me diffuse this situation.” Taking a deep breath, I softened my voice, mustered a condoling tone, and began a dialog of a sneaky nature.
“Oh my, are you really going to live on the street?”
“Yes. I. AM.”
“Wow. You must have a very terrible life.”
“Hmmm. I guess you have a really mean mommy and daddy?”
“I cannot imagine wanting to live on the cold street if I had a nice warm bed to sleep in. Your parents must be so mean. Do they hit you?”
Eyes open wide, head shaking side to side.
“No? Well then they must throw things at you?”
A whispered “No.”
“They must do some terrible things for you to want to live on the street. Let’s see….do they call you nasty names? Make you eat trash? Pull your hair?”
Her pout melted like warm chocolate. “Mommy?”
“I’m so sorry. I was angry when I said those things. I don’t ever want to leave you and Daddy and Pickle.”
“I know sweetheart, I forgive you.”
We talked some more, cuddled, and exchanged “Eskimo Kisses.”
Sigh. Thank you Lord for providing me the strength to parent when it would be easier to live on the street.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32