When my daughter was born everything about my life came into focus. If ever I had trouble sensing the choice and the value of each of my actions, if ever I reacted to life without a feeling of God’s eyes on me, then having a little pair of eyes studying who i am and what I did was enough to give me this self-awareness. I wasn’t being scrutinized for criticism or correction, but as a guide to follow into the larger world: “This is how a woman looks. This is how a woman acts.” Which was infinitely more scary.
But as unqualified as I felt, the colicky baby years were still good for the two of us. I had a secret weapon-complete dependance on God to help me be who I was meant to be. This lay the burden of raising a healthy child partly on Him, where it should be anyway. He’d have to supply the patience I was trying to show but not really feeling inside. He’d help me adjust my attitude, if only I’d listen, and give me the strength motherhood requires. He’d remind me of the gift of parenting so I wouldn’t get too caught up in busyness to remember to relax and enjoy my child.
It’s been over 14 years since our relationship began. She has my voice and mannerisms, and is taller than I am. I can see that my fumbling example is lived out in front of a more sophisticated audience. These eyes watching me have grown enough to recognize sin, selfishness, and insecurity. They can potentially compare me to the women around me and find shortcomings or, as they are peering from a higher level now anyway, can just look down on me. It can be unnerving to be so “seen.”
I still have that one thing going for me: I know I can’t be my daughter’s good mother without help from my good Father. And now she’s old enough to know it too. She hears me ask Him for guidance and for forgiveness all the time. She’s a witness to both the smooth moments of submission that I am proud of and the reluctant ones that I cringe to think of. She’s heard my voice lift to Him for help finding car keys and for healing. Even if I don’t show perfection, I can at least direct her gaze to the Perfect One.