Sister Sunshine and the Only label I’ll Ever Need

I am warning you in advance that this post will not be cohesive.  It’s not a disclaimer, as I have a toddler and feel as though that is disclaimer enough, but I have been shut off from most adult conversations for going on two years now and when I have something to say, it generally means I have 30 somethings to say, that I have thought of/ruminated on/beaten to death in my head a thousand times over already, while watching Cinderella for the umpteenth time.  

I teeter in between tears of joy and tears of angst and boredom every day.  Every freaking day.  Who ever coined the term stay-at-home Mom must have had a brilliant Nanny and Housekeeper.  I am never home.  My adventure girl would never be confined to four walls, day in and day out.  Which means we are outside in the rain, sleet and snow- traipsing about in boots and parkas, running circles throughout the mall, teasing the freezing animals at the zoo.  I am lucky to see the inside of my living room during the solitary, sacred nap time hour.  Forget the sweet and comforting yellow of my bedroom.  Since Ellie’s sleeping patterns now insist that she stay in her big girl bed for only a few hours before requiring the crook of an adult’s arm in the big, guest room bed, my own room has grown dusty and pathetic with neglect.  

Yes, she’s still not sleeping.

Yes, after a few hours, she sleeps with one of us.

Someone asked me the other day if we would consider ourselves, “Attachment” parents.  Here we go with the labeling again.  Don’t parents have enough to deal with, now we have to make sure we’re articulate in the parenting pedagogy we subscribe to? I feel like this is an American thing.  There must be a measurable hierarchy for anything with value, therefore one must exist for child- rearers.  Ew.  

Before I have a stream of dedicated, baby-wearing Attachment parents attacking the blog- I love you and all that you’re about! If you and your kid decided that you want to continue to nurse until he’s old enough to read Oliver Twist on his own, that is completely within your right in your own parent/child relationship to do so.  I wore my baby everywhere until she pushed her independent self away from my body, craning to see the world beyond the brown stretch of the Moby.  I still lay down with her at night because she needs it.  I have no issues with the stances attachment parents make as long as they do it after assessing their own child’s personal needs.  My problem is with the label- not the method.

I am not an attachment parent.  I am Ellie’s parent.  I am going to do whatever brings out the most potential in her.  Whatever inspires the most bravery, the most growth, the most cognitive responses.  I don’t lay down with her and comfort her because I think every child needs that- they don’t.  I do it because SHE needs it.  I don’t respond to her every demand, because she is a child and it’s my responsibility to teach her patience, authority and obedience.  Her little intellectual brain is capable of manipulation, coercion and deception.  I trust, that as her parent, I am able to tell the difference between those tactics and genuine fear, angst and loneliness and respond accordingly, with grace and with love.  

I met with Sister Sunshine today.  She doesn’t know I call her that, but it’s so fitting.  Do you know one of those people who see God’s glory and wonder in everything?  I’ve met a few people who fake it, and they’re really annoying.  

Oh what a beeeeooooootiful sunset! Isn’t God marrrrrrrrrrvelous?????

Shut up.

Sister Sunshine’s not like that at all.  She sees the beauty of ordinary things, and then makes you see them too- especially when you don’t want to.  Where you see darkness, she sees God waiting in a big room, full of your friends, ready to flick on the light and surprise you with a party.  Where you see fear and failure, she sees a deep, green pasture ripe for growth. Where you see loss, she sees God pruning the garden for a bigger, more beautiful rose bush. She’s got grown kids, and years of ministry experience so she’s not scared off by my three day old mascara or my kid smearing cream cheese on her black cape. I always feel better after coffee with Sister Sunshine, and for a little while afterward, I’m able to see things the way she does, too.  As God does, I’m sure.  How pains and trials are never over-whelming because God is here.  How I don’t have to feel lost in the sea of labels- Attachment parenting, SAHM, working Mom, Can’t-keep-it-together-long-enough-to-order-a-pizza Mom- because God gave me the only label I will ever need.  

Beloved.

Now, that’s something I can subscribe to.

 

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