I watch Claire climb up on the toy chest by the window to read her book. She is an unstoppable force, always moving, always doing, always into something. She is determined. Her daddy says she gets this from me.
But she is just like him.
She looks like him, her hands and feet are just like his. She is his mini me.
I watch her, not quite seventeen months old, sitting in the sun from the window, thumbing through her book over and over again. Books are the only thing that really hold her interest. It’s the only time she is ever still. So funny that a love for books could be genetic but it must be so. My niece Addy will tell you about “Uncle John’s room” which is our living room/office and is filled with around one thousand books. Books belonging to Claire’s daddy.
I think about Lila and how her smile reminds me so much of her cousins on her dad’s side, how her hands are her paternal grandmother’s hands.
I think of Aubrey. From me she has inherited a love for children and a love for theatre but I hear in her speech patterns and see in her expressions her Aunt Ashley.
Julia. Now that she is an adult, people marvel at how like me she is. But it’s not in appearance…we just share some inner traits that people seem to recognize. Mannerisms, ways of speaking, love of song and prayer.
Oh, and Chase. He is his father all over again in appearance, but I see some of the Blantons in the set of his eyes. I see my dad in those eyes and I like to think he gets his sense of humor from me. I know he gets his short temper from me.
They are all five uniquely themselves. People always look for sameness in their children…this one looks like that one, this one acts like that one…but the truth is, they are all uniquely themselves. They are all fearfully and wonderfully made.
My favorite phase of child development is the two to five phase. This is when they become themselves and they are uninhibited enough to just be themselves. They have all these weird little kid quirks that they don’t know to be embarrassed about. Julia sucked her thumb and had her “pwo”…an ancient purple pillow that had been mine. Aubrey came home from preschool every day and changed into her nightgown. Once that was done, she just had to watch Pocahontas 2. Every. Day. Chase carried a handful of change in his fist all day, every day. I had to pry it from his hands after he fell asleep. He also toted a basketball and would only wear “basketball shirts” (tank tops). Lila is obsessed with plastic animals. We find them in unlikely places- in shoes, on the back of the toilet, perched on top of candles and picture frames. Yesterday, I found one in the refrigerator. Claire is not quite in this phase yet, but I see it coming. She has her own self-ness too.
I love the authenticity of little kids. I love their unapologetic, this-is-who-I-am ways. I love that they’re okay with it being weird to dip their rice in ketchup, that they don’t mind that no one else in the house can stand to watch that particular episode of Barney again, that they think getting a sticker is the best thing that ever happened. They live life full on, no holding back.
When do we lose that?
When do we become afraid? When do we begin to doubt who we are? When do our quirks become something to hide and not something to celebrate?
Ephesians 2:1 tells us: “For we are God’s workmanship...”
Isaiah 43 tells us: “…we are created for His glory…”
Genesis 1, the very beginning says: “Let us make man in our own image…”
Psalm 139, so powerful to me: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
God only makes good things. You are a good thing. I am a good thing. Our children are a good thing. Our spouses are a good thing. We are all created by His hands and we all deserve to give and receive honor, to live our best selves, to love well…We are all God’s favorites, chosen to be loved and known by Him.
Not too long ago, I posted this: No One is Youer than You. At the end, I asked people to list five things that make them special. Several people contacted me and said this was so hard for them. Some couldn’t do it at all. If you are one who struggles with embracing your you-ness, I just need you to know a few things:
There is NO ONE LIKE YOU.
You are beloved.
You have a purpose, you are not an accident.
Right now, Pandora is on tv and Darrel Evan’s “I’m Trading My Sorrows” is on. Lila is belting out, “Yes, Lord! Yes, Lord! Yes, Lord!” and she and Claire are dancing wild all around the living room. Abandoned, joyful, happy dancing. They are not ashamed of who they are, they just are who they are.
This is life. This is living full. This is a celebration of who we are. Ones who are image bearers of the king, ones who are beloved and special and purposed. Sons and daughters.