Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Student and Her 7 Year Old Teacher.

The other night, I was looking at Abi's cheek, and an epiphany hit me. (It does happen sometimes, between untangling necklaces and making noodles with butter and salt for the 12,215th time in a week). I was just studying her- her simplistic complexity, the curve of her chin, the freckle on her cheek, the sleepy smile on her face even in her slumber... And BAM. Just like that, I realized.

This child teaches me more than I give her credit for.

Sometimes, I get so lost in the parental hierarchy, where I am Queen, I sometimes forget to stop and measure the lessons she has taught this mama of hers. I get lost in the teaching and forget that I, too, am learning.

She has taught me to slow down. Few things are worth hurrying about. Rushing makes you miss the caterpillars, scoot right by the rose buds, and makes you fall and skin your knee.

She has taught me to write it down. When Abi is happy, she journals about it. When she learned about ovulation tests (a recent lesson), she journaled about it. When she and her BFF, Hannah, argue, break up, and get back together, she journals about it. And then, ages later, she re-reads it and remembers.

She makes eye contact. When her heart is talking, she likes to look deeply inside you.

She forgives. And moves on. Recently, a child pushed Abi down at church. The next Sunday, she walked up to the child and gave him her two prizes that she had won. Not long ago, an adult hurt her feelings pretty deeply. The next day, she walked up to him and hugged him and then said to me, "I love him." Wow. And ouch.

She is slow to anger. Abi has her own life rhythm. Anger throws off the timing for her, so she just doesn't go there.

She is protective and loyal. This kid understands friendship and family better than most adults who live 90 years. Quick to believe the best about others, she will defend her loved ones at ALL costs. Last year, she came home crying because a little boy (who was a little slower than the others) got in trouble during class, and it broke her heart that the teacher disciplined him.

Unashamed of her Jesus. And not afraid to give. Every week, we eat wings at a local place. And every week, we give her quarters for the candy and toy machines. There's been several times I've seen her win prizes and walk around the restaurant and pass out candy to every child there. And if she even THINKS someone needs prayer or needs to know about Jesus, she'll tell them they need it. (Who's the pastor here?)

There are days when this child literally drives me mad. As with every parent/child relationship, sometimes I feel like if I don't get away from her, I might need to pad the walls of my closet and lock myself in there.

But there are other times that I ache when she's at school.

That night, while I was lying next to her, studying her face... making myself photograph her innocence and the flawlessness of her skin before adolescent acne and makeup marks it, I realized. I realized that I spend so much of my waking hours, trying to make life count for her. I try to teach her as much as I can. Whether it be how necessary it is to put your dirty dishes in the sink, why you don't need to spray a whole bottle of 409 on the table to clean it after dinner, or what an intestine is. I teach her to say "thank you," not to run through a parking lot, and wash your hands after you use the bathroom. I educate her on responsibility, money management, and decision making. I explain Bible verses to her after our devotion at night, remind her to call Nana Kim after she gets a prize in the mail from her, and the importance of soaking up the time she gets with her grandparents.

But my little student? She's quite the teacher in her own right.

I've got alot to learn.

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