Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Finding Myself in the Wild Orange

The first time it happened, she was dressed to the nines, and we were driving to Maryland to celebrate my grandma's 94th birthday. I turned around to check on her and discovered her holding her sippy cup upside-down and shaking it (hard as ever she could) into an open, not-quite-three-year-old hand.

The hand and the fancy-schmancy dress were covered in strawberry milk.

I'd just started to roar--I do, sometimes, having not yet transformed into a mother of the Michelle Duggar variety!--when a memory came out of nowhere. I was three. I was already wearing my white dress, so we must've been about to walk out the door for my dad's company picnic. My mom was probably stacking food or topping off my baby brother; I can't remember.

What I do remember is thinking I'd look even finer if I shaved my face. (I didn't seriously injure myself but bled all over my white dress.)

So, in February, for the first time--I swear!--in almost three years, I thought, suddenly: maybe there's more of me in that Wild Orange than I'd like to admit! I didn't much like the thought of that at all, so I just took her sippy cup; shot her some serious stink eye; and reverted to denial.

But, the other day, I came across a portrait of myself at three and thought with surprise: Clementine looks like me! I called her over and held up the portrait. "Do you know who this is, MeMe?"

She looked carefully, smiled, and laid her hand across her chest. "Me?" she asked, and I saw the uncertainty in her face because of "her" short hair and the unknown, fat-cheeked baby.

I heard the Lord whisper into my heart: You're in there. I tilted my head and studied her, considered (as if for the first time) the chattering social beast of her, and I knew the Lord was right. I wondered: is it the me in her that offends like fingernails on a chalkboard? And I was flooded with regret for all the times I've roared and spanked (and roared while spanking), and--loving her more than I ever had--I prayed for help in becoming the mom she deserves.


  1. Well look at that. Being a mom is so hard...especially when they are Clementine's age. Thankfully they get easier as they get older and forget the years when we raged at them.

  2. Wow the pictures defiantly resemble...You are a great Mom and Clemmie is worth all the aggravation, trials and tribulations etc. Love you!