I’ve mentioned before that Joy doesn’t cry often. Even when she was a tot, she didn’t. In fact, I still remember one day that we had company over and she did something very totterly …. like fell out of a chair or bumped her head on a table. I don’t remember WHAT she did, but I do remember HOW she reacted. She wasn’t hurt … at all. But, she was fully and completely embarrassed by her mishap. She was only around two years old, but she melted into a red-faced puddle of shamefacedness. It was then that it hit me how seldom she cried and that this sobbing emotion was linked to embarrassment.
Fast forward nine years.
And we would land in the midst of a month of turmoil. I think we saw tears three or four times for several weeks in a row. It was very unsettling. Part of it, surely, had to do with simple hormones. And part of it had to do with some pretty big struggles between others involving Joy.
But, I was quite aware that
part of the problem
had to do with simple familial disapproval.
Many weeks ago, Joy got it into her head that she wanted her hair cut …. like Justin Beiber. Nevermind that his hair appears to be very fine and very straight and her hair is coarse and curly. Nevermind that he’s a guy and she’s a girl. Nevermind that she would be copying a teen idol which is very unsettling for this mom whose mantra is “Be Yourself.” I shared with her that I didn’t like the idea. I explained how it wouldn’t look like she was expecting.
But, in the end,
she persisted and
I decided it was not an issue
to be made into an issue.
I cut her hair.
(I do all the hair cutting around here. A just salon costs too much.)
Oddly enough, she doesn’t seem too concerned
about these comments.
BUT, what I believe has been disconcerting to her is that
James, Glory nor I care for the cut.
We didn’t talk about it often, but
when it came up
we were open about our opinions.
And I saw this injure her.
It made me think about my own childhood experiences. Still ringing in my ears is the question I heard when I was young, “Why can’t you be like everyone else?”
And it made me think of my big kids. With a nose ring and a lip ring, and what we refer to as “Rainbow Brite” hair (because she’s had so many different colors of stripes through the past year or two). My oldest daughter is beautiful …. but doesn’t dress, act or do exactly like I would like. It’s not that I dislike any of these decorations, it’s just that I think there’s too much going on at once. But I accept her … love her … embrace her …. right where she is … completely and fully.
Then there’s James. His choice for body deco is a lip ring and dreads. I like them both. But, he keeps late hours playing video games, smokes and is incessantly late for …. well …. everything. But, even these things can’t flavor my love. Love can’t be conditional on behavior or looks.
And because they know that I accept them unconditionally, my man/child and my oldest girl are very open and very honest with me.
And honesty is personally my most coveted character trait in a person.
So, it occurs to me that I’m tearing apart my youngest
by choosing a different set of standards to love her by
than I do for my older kids.
I pull the big kids aside and we have a little talk.
No more disapproving comments.
If Joy wants this hair cut, we need to love her with it.
So, that’s where we are. The tears have dried. Joy is doing better.
And I’m thankful for a Heavenly Father who speaks to my heart
talks to me
and let’s me know where I’m botching things up
because I know I’d never be very good at this “Mommy thing”
or this “Love thing”
if I had to do without His help and direction.