Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day Lesson

Yesterday I shared our Valentine's day creations:  Aaron's Harry Potter box, "Give me a valentine, or I'll use the tarantallegra spell on you!" and Norah's Puss-n-Boots box, "Candy, please ..." (big, sad, kitty-cat eyes...)  I'm so glad that they turned-out so well ... especially seeing as just five minutes into the project Norah was getting frustrated and saying, "no" to any and all of my suggestions.  Yep ... it was a doozy!

My sweet daughter has inherited a double-dose of the perfectionist gene.  Poor, sweet girl.  She has very, very high expectations for herself and everyone else around her.  Even Puss-in-Boots.  As I laid out for her my strategic plan for the boxes, she immediately began to second-guess all my ideas.

"How is that going work?"

"How will we do that?"

"What about his color?"

"What about his hat?"


I tried to encourage her to take each little step just one at a time, but she wanted to have the finished project right now and it needed to look just like the DreamWorks version she had in her head.  Aaron, meanwhile, was puttering along with his coloring and being his usual "go with the flow" self.  I love that boy.  :)

At about the time that we were tracing the cat's face, Norah started really getting upset.

"It doesn't look anything like Puss!  I want to just start over." (grumble, mumble, grumble...)

No problem.  I told Norah that she didn't have to do any of the ideas I had.  She could simply do what she wanted and I would help out where she needed me.  (Trying in vain to keep my voice neutral.)  Nope ... she wanted me to be able to see into her head, extract the image and produce it.  Here's where it got fun!  (And Mommy started her deep breathing and shoulder relaxing exercises!)

I sat at the computer with the traced image on the desk.  Norah perched next to me on the chair and told me where to color, what color to use and how to color properly.  Whenever I suggested that she would do a fine job, she returned to saying, "It's nothing like the real Puss."  My mantra sounded something like this, "Let's just keep working on it and I think you'll like it in the end."  Over and over and over again.  We chanted at each other for about 20 minutes ... good times!

Finally, I felt that we had colored, shaded and toned Puss as best as we could with the resources available to us (i.e. crayons and markers ... no CGI equipment available that day).  Norah was still uncertain, but Aaron (who had finished hours ago!) complimented her/our work and spoke her love language of encouragement.  Did I mention how much I love that guy?

After a few quick lines with my Sharpie, even Norah was satisfied that we had a rather convincing Puss on our hands.  Perhaps even worthy of holding her precious valentines.  As I finished gluing on her paper sack and cape, she was heard to exclaim, "I love it!  It's the best!"

I smiled.  I told her I was happy she liked it.  I took her picture.  And I tried not to cry.

So much work.  So much doubt.  So much energy spent.  And so much joy when it came out right.

It wasn't until later (when I cried) that Brett made a rather wise comment.  He said that this experience is a lot like when God is doing something in our lives ... making something happen ... making something new.  He has a great plan for us (a job, a relationship, an opportunity) and we get excited when we get a glimpse of it.  But ... then we try to take over and do it our way with our plans and our vision.  All the while, God is still doing it His way (in spite of us!) and we are really wrestling against Him.  We complain about the lengthy time-schedule, the bumps along the way, the internal work that is required.  How it doesn't quite look like what we had in mind.  It's hard.  It's not worth it.  I've gone and done it all wrong.

Finally, God is done.  (With that project, at least!)  The creation on which He has been working for us is ready and we stand back and say, "Wow, God!  I love it!  It's the best!"  And suddenly all that hard work; all that emotional stretching; all that growing up was worth it ... because God knew best.

He always has our best in mind when He's at work in our lives.  Even if in the middle of it all we question Him and try to do it our way.  Thanks, God, for working in my life ... in spite of my efforts and interference!

So, that was my Valentine's Day lesson via my kids!  It was tough ... but the smile was oh, so worth it!


  1. Have I told you lately what a good mom you are?
    Love and hugs to you and your precious family!!

  2. Awww ... thanks! I hope we get to see you sometime so we can get some of those hugs in person! :)

  3. good job, Mom! Nobody said it was gonna be easy :)

  4. Way to not lose your cool... I'm not sure I would have been so graceful and patient... but since she is a Lion like her Uncle Joshua, I can relate... patience goes a long way! There are a lot of projects that I begin and let him finish because I know he'll want it to be done perfectly his way! :-D
    Love you!


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