Tuesday, May 23, 2006

She watches what I do: delight in the life of a little girl

Kks struggles to sleep in the spring/summer evening light, making the morning schedule its own struggle. I needed to be out the door by 815 am. I knew she needed to sleep, so she was not brought to the waking world until about 805. With little time to get ready, I threw a summer outfit on, handed her a portable breakfast and scooted off in the car.

Upon arrival at the child care facility, I got out to let her out of the car seat. Kks proceeded to lick her thumb and wash my face--one of my occaisional pre-child care grooming activities. I could not contain my laughter. My spiritual director likes to talk with me about this blog as one of my acts of "delight" in my daughter. My recent theological reading references God's delight in us and how we are called to live out that delight in others. Today's little episode with kks reminds me of what delight looks like: she watches the things I do and processes it lovingly. She had a smile on her face as she wiped my face clean. I had just as much fun telling my wife about the episode; we delighted together.

Delight can be contagious, especially when we know the ultimate source of that delight.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Yelling and exploration

I remember growing up the anxiety that was spread when voices were raised and escalated to shouting.

Hearing my own escalating voice sends shivers down my spine when I address young kks. Why do I bother yelling at kks? Yelling indicates I drifted toward laziness. Sometimes I am lazy. Other times, I am purely anxious and looking for an easy target. Kks doesn't deserve that. She struggles to articulate, and I know I am a contributing factor. I know I can do better.

We recently returned from a trip to the UK. The extended time away made me realize how much joy I can have exploring with kks. With a renewed devotion to sabbath and a reasonable schedule, I look forward to exploring with this precious little girl. I hope she will enjoy the time with me. Sometimes she doesn't trust that I will be there, because I am so easily distracted. Maybe the trip will be an indicator that we can spend some extended time together. And maybe I will make more time to communicate with her so that she will have the opportunity to get to know who I am.

It is also entirely possible that kks is developing a strong will of her own and will make me crazy regardless of what I do.

Such is the exploration of love in the parent-child relationship.