She had recently loaned me a book that communicated to me all that I needed to hear about a radically different approach to raising/teaching/loving my children. Finally, words that I had often waded through in my own foggy mind but here they were after the fog had lifted, confirmed by a brilliant author with a lifetime of experience (and a little over 70 children having passed under his roof). It was a book that challenged parents to look at the nature of God and His example as a Father, allowing our children the freedom of choice just as He does while giving them the responsibility of the repercussions. Who do we parents so often think we are, trying to break the will of children and make them in our image? He has made them in His and each uniquely different. It is our responsibility to allow them to be who God has made them to be, while helping them navigate the challenging lessons of life while still safely protected under our roofs.
We talked today. I was calling her back after coming home too late to respond to her invitation to get together. This morning I called, hours after a difficult night for her. She was implementing some of these same principles in a challenging situation gone on too long. With only three hours of sleep, she was unusually peppy. Plowing through her day at home with her mama hat a little off-skew, she was resolute in winning her daughter. I offered her an out by suggesting another day to get together. She insisted that today was still a good day.
My girls and I met up with her later. We brought a bottle of the beverage she turned me onto, with a gift card for caffeine and a homemade hair/sweater accessory flattering it nicely. Our girls ran circles around us as we chatted on a sunny bench. I admired her for her commitment to her children. I looked up to her for her fortitude. I marveled at the love mirrored so beautifully in the eyes of her little ones, even the littlest who had to sit quietly beside us.
I brought my friend a gift today. It was the least I could do after she had so blessed me with the gift of wisdom and the example of her life as a mother on one of her more trying days at work.