A Princess and a {Sweet} Pea

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This girl. How do I put into words what she does to my heart? I feel like it beats in a special rhythm for her. I can’t imagine loving someone with a feistier, deeper, more protective, more undying, unconditional love than I do Hayleigh and Braxton. I love Peter with a deep, never-ending love, but every mother knows that a mother’s love is entirely different than any other kind of love you experience. It is not greater than the love for a spouse, but the composition is inherently different. There is nothing more soothing for me than feeling my babies laying pressed against my chest. It is home.
I have always loved to just sit back and watch Hayleigh play and grow, but lately it has been especially entertaining and heartwarming. She has such a beautiful imagination which I thoroughly enjoy watching develop. I do my best to fuel her creativity and imaginative play. It was such a big part of my life growing up. My sisters and I would play pretend for hours and as I got into elementary school my imagination led me to write lots of stories. I also remember crying and crying when I had to learn to read because I could no longer make up my own stories to the pictures in my Berenstain Bear books. In my mind, once I could decipher the jumbled word jargon on the pages the mystery would be gone (even though I already knew the books by heart). Hayleigh already sits with her Berenstain Bear books and makes up stories. Sometimes I find her in her own world talking on and on about things going on in her head. She is always pretending something, whether it is that the ottoman is a playground…or boat…or school bus, that she is a baseball player…or a chef…or a mommy…or a fire fighter…or a dancer…or a doctor who hears cookie monster inside her patient’s tummies, or her most recent mind creation: her two imaginary friends, Murphy and Acey. Murphy is sometimes scary but Acey is much nicer and seems to be coming around more lately. This girl never ceases to make me smile, or laugh right out loud.
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Hayleigh’s latest obsession is dressing up. I was planning on her being a bag of jelly beans for Halloween (a clear garbage bag filled with balloons) but she “couldn’t want” to be that. She “could only want to be princess pea” from Super Why. I had already bought her a couple dress-up dresses from Goodwill and was planning on giving them to her for Christmas. One of them is perfect for a Princess Pea costume so I brought it out early and gave it to her. She was so over the moon excited about it that she wore it for two days and two nights straight without taking it off until I had to convince her to let me wash it so she could wear it again the next day. She, as most little girls do I am sure, has an infatuation with princesses. I did not try to instill this in her. (I found early on with Hayleigh that she makes up her own mind about things and does things in her own time.) Watching her prance around, (and even ride her tri-cycle) in her princess dress made me swell with love and pride. It was just so stinkin’ precious and so kid-like. It made my heart ache in another way too though. It revitalized within me the deep desire I have for Hayleigh to recognize who she is as a child of God, a co-heir with Christ, a princess.
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This world is such a challenging place for young girls. It feels cliché to say, but maybe that is because of how true it is. Sometimes I feel hopeless and utterly helpless to raise her to escape, or to bypass, the snags in this world. How will I ever raise a daughter who cares supremely about inner beauty? How will I raise her to be secure and significant in Christ alone? How will I raise her to have a healthy self-image-not selfish or prideful but also not self-loathing and self-deprecating? How can I help her to really grasp and achieve that balance, especially when I myself struggle to find it so much of the time?  How will I raise her to find her worth in who she is in Christ and to view and value herself as a princess?
Sometimes I long for her not to grow up and shed the princess costume and pretend world in her head. Sometimes I consider locking her in her room and never letting her leave the house. Sometimes I pray for the rapture. I am not crazy. It  just scares me to death to think of what she will have to face, and that in time she will have to face it without me right by her side. It also saddens me to think of her loss of “innocence”. I know Hayleigh is far from perfect, but what I mean is by “innocence” I guess is her natural self. Right now I see so much of her raw, unadulterated, God-given personality. I see her for who she is, untainted by societal pressures, norms and expectations. She is exuberant, passionate, social, sensitive to other people’s feelings, caring, fun-loving, sometimes shy and unsure, and always observing and processing things. I don’t want her to sacrifice or alter in any way who she is just because she learns as she grows up what is “cool” or normal. I know that to some degree this is inevitable, but that saddens me. I so love to just watch and revel in who she is, at the core of her. This is so evident in children this age and the older they get it fades a bit, and changes. I am already mourning when she becomes self-conscious about her own loud enthusiasm and replaces it with a more demure façade. (Not because being demure is bad, obviously, but because that is really so not Hayleigh). I want to instill in her a healthy love and acceptance of who she is. So often people go so far in one direction or another along these lines. They focus entirely on self-esteem at the loss of sacrifice and care for others. Or they harp so much on the horrible, sinful state of the human race that they lose sight of how much God cherishes us: his beloved children. I so desire for my children to be able to find a place where they are confident in who God made them to be, assured of their relationship with God, and secure in their calling to love, serve and share their faith with others. I guess I want them to have a peace about who they are and who God is, and not be distracted or hampered by thoughts of confusion or inadequacy in relation to self. This way they can be free to be others-minded. This is something I have not mastered by any means. Hopefully I can figure it out enough that I can share with with my children.
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I know this has been “rambly” and ineloquent. I just have so many thoughts and emotions coursing through me as I write about these things, especially as they relate to my babies. As for right now I will continue to do my best. I will soak up the adorable, imaginative moments and all the other moments where I see the true essence of Hayleigh in all its beauty. And when she dons her princess costume yet again today and I bask in the cuteness, I will whisper a prayer that someday she will come to recognize her identity as a child of the King, which makes her a real-live princess to be sure.

On a much lighter note, my Braxton Boy is 8 months old today!
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He is FINALLY sleeping at night thanks to a little classical music on repeat and a healthy portion of protein at dinner!! Whoo hooo!! (I know what it says in the baby books about sleep aids being of the Devil, but if you are going to judge me please do it silently.) This means a decent night’s sleep for me and no more remixes to the Kci and Jojo song “Crazy”. Oh yes, it was a real thing. Here is a little taste of my sleep deprived musical genius: “I am going crazy, crazy, crazy listening to you lately. Goin crazy crazy crazy cuz you’re not sleepin baby. Crazy, Crazy cuz I still hear you. Crazy Crazy cuz you won’t sleep through. Crazy Crazy cuz I keep seein you at 2am…..If I could sleep again, then I won’t go, if I could sleep again, I won’t go crazy.” I am sure it will be in the Top 40 before you know it. Get your autographs now and you can say you “knew me when”.
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And since you made it this far in the post, I assume you are at least remotely interested in my kids, so let me tell you that since he has been sleeping Braxton’s personality has emerged even more and he is developing much faster. He is waving, almost crawling, and has this adorable thing that he does now. When we ask him if he is a “big, strong man” he flexes his “muscles” and yells. It is pretty hilarious. Okay, that is it. I have imersed you enough with my pictures of and thoughts on my kids. You may now come up for air. Smile
(A few of these photos (the clearly better ones) were taken by Rachel Ann Photography. We had family photos done!)

4 comments:

  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the new design and all the kid tidbits. Your writing is amazing, and it got me thinking. I am inspired by how you tied together Hayhee's imagination with how God sees her and I too hope she never changes who she is to be cool. Is it weird that I mostly hope my kids don't grow up to be bullies, telling other kids what is cool and acceptable? I want desperately for my kids to make being kind the cool thing to do.

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  2. They are absolutely beautiful children. IT was a such a sweet post! God is so good!

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  3. Oh, your little ones are so SO cute! And I can tell they have a wonderful mom, too. :) It can be so scary raising children, and I so relate to what you are saying, even though my children are a older than yours, I worry about these things! But your children will know two very important things: that you love them, and that the Lord loves them. :)

    I hope you have a good night, and a lovely Tuesday! :)

    Blessings,
    Jenni

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