Last night when I picked Emma up, while playing, she rested her head on my shoulder and said,
“That’s so sweet, honey,” I was so surprised. She said it in the exact tone that I use with her. Later that evening she, again, rested her head on my shoulder and said,
“Oh, sweet pea,” again I was taken by surprise by her mimicry of my tone of voice and words.
I hear stories from mothers that say one day their child looks up at them and repeats something horrible or tiresome that they say all the time. Like,
“Not right now, Mom, I’m busy.” Or a cuss word; or just something that reflects back to you that maybe you’re not doing as bang up a job as you thought.
I’ve been bracing myself for that day. The day when I am convicted that I don’t pay enough attention to my daughter, or the day that my potty mouth finally catches up with me.
This I was not expecting. I was not expecting my daughter to reflect back words of love. She actually hears me when I tell her I love her or when I use soothing tones or sweet nicknames.
As a mom we have so much power with our words. Especially as we grow older and our girls grow into adolescents and then into adults, it seems like one offhand comment has the ability to fell a woman and tell her that her mother doesn’t see her for who she truly is or love her for who she truly has become. That the one person that is supposed to know us and love us unconditionally does not. Of course I hope that my overarching motherly message is that I love her and accept her no matter what her decisions are (okay, unless she drops out of college, takes up exotic dancing, and decides to run off with Jim Bob, then we may have some tense conversations).
Maybe just maybe that is actually what is happening. Maybe just maybe my efforts to love on her and be gentle are penetrating. Maybe just maybe the foundation that I am laying down now will be solid. Maybe just maybe when she’s fourteen and I say, ‘no, you can’t go to the party with that boy,’ after the door slams, I can know that I made a good decision. Maybe just maybe when the hormones settle she will know that I love her.