Where's my Dad? Alea asks, speaking as the pink pony with the purple hair.
He's right over there! replies Roya as the littlest pet shop deer character.
No, that's not my Dad! Where's my Dad!? yells the pink pony...
I listen to these play conversations constantly throughout the day while I make lunch, clean the kitchen, turn over the laundry, go through the mail, try to tidy the living room, listen to the phone messages, input receipts into the "budget", run around constantly responding to sibling fights, cheering when they show me a craft or something they've accomplished, trying to write down a grocery list and think ahead for meals (even when they've already been prepared for me), trying to get everyone out the door on time, remembering to start the car early and brush off the snow, and oops! I forgot to water the tree again! and dropping everything when Alea needs to go to the bathroom, even though she is perfectly capable of going on her own...
No matter how much I am or do, it is not enough. Alea still craves her Daddy's love and attention, the kind of arms that throw her up in the air, chase her through the halls, and tickle her all over... She wants me to play ball and take her outside to run around. Roya needs more one on one time with me. She craves Mommy-daughter dates and drawing times together. She needs a safe intimate environment where she can feel encouraged and share the deep feelings of her heart. She stays up late into the night, waiting until Alea is asleep and everything else is quiet, so she can get me to herself... But then, I have nothing left to give and want desperately to lay my head down and go to sleep, or sit for a few minutes of quiet by myself.
Virginia Watts wrote, Becoming a single parent is like giving birth to a barbed wire fence - extremely painful.*
Yikes!! I am experiencing the labor pains, the crude and awful birth of the multi-faceted challenges involved in single parenting. My parental influence has drastically diminished. I didn't just lose Lynn or lose a father, I lost the "more" that was the sum of our parts. I went from half the pie to an 1/8 of the pie with Lynn's portion empty and terrifyingly void. Some days I think, I can do this. We're doing fine. Other days, I fall to my knees and weep, I can't do this, Lord! It is impossible to do everything by myself!
What is impossible with man/woman is possible with God (Luke 18:27).
Months ago, I wrestled with my standards of parenting... How can I uphold mine and Lynn's parental standards by myself. It can't be done. Then, I began to let go (a little) and trust God to fill the void that was left in my daughters' lives. Now I realize the standard is not lower, but much higher...
You and the Holy Spirit are always a majority, says my American friend, Carla. :)
Roya, 4 years old, told me at the dinner table, If Alea and I are in trouble, God will help us. He will reach down with His big hand and hold us, and we will reach back, like this (with demonstration) and hold on to Him. (Just like Beth Moore in believing God!)
I am incapable of accomplishing my to do list each day, touching my daughters' lives the way I want to, meeting the demands of school, schedules, errands... But I think God is taking care of us! My girls know they are loved and see God's hand tangibly at work in our lives!
And I think... What if all parents worried less about needs and roles and all the numerous good Christian things we're supposed to do to raise our children, and more on loving God, and trusting Him to be our God, teach us, and train us by His Spirit.... Maybe we would all be better off in the end, and have a Spirit-filled generation that walks the earth as children of the light...?
Maybe my children will be okay with God as their Father and me on my knees, desperately clinging to God's goodness and grace???
*The Single Parent, by Virginia Watts