The pride

I know this blog is about David but today I’m taking a time out to talk about my other pride & joy. My first born, the daughter I dreamed of but never allowed myself to truly hope for, the girl who drives me to tears, fits of giggles, forces me to get alone time by locking myself in the bathroom but rush to school every afternoon to pick her up. She is the most intense, stubborn person I have ever met and takes after her dad so identically sometimes I don’t know what to do with either of them!
Lately, I’ve been focused on the “difficult” parts of her personality. She is defiant, she is stubborn, she is moody, she is intense. On a good day, this makes her fun & full of life. On a bad day, I have no choice but to drop her at a friends and wander aimlessly around Trader Joes with a Starbucks in hand just to decompress.
Ella had been asking to ice skate for awhile. There was a rink that was having a DJ, prizes & ice skating day so I decided to bring her and David while Jason was at a men’s conference at church. As soon as we got there, I got nervous because I realized I had to stay with David and so I couldn’t skate with her. She was excited to try even without me so we rented her her skates and helmet and put her on the ice. At first she clung to the railings while David and I walked alongside her. But after 10 minutes she started getting more comfortable and started letting go. She would try and skate a step or two at a time before she would cling to the railing again. After one loop around the ring, and her hanging onto the bars for most of it, I thought she would be “over it”. It was lunch time, I was hungry and so I told her just 10 more minutes. Ten minutes turned into hour and a half! She loved every second of it and I couldn’t get her off the ice. By the end she was skating 10 to 12 feet distances all by herself, not hanging on to anything! I was so damn proud, I literally couldn’t stop smiling. The entire day she kept turning to us smiling and saying “Mama, I’m doing it!” I don’t know if I’ll ever get her sweet little voice out of my ears and I pray I never do. She was full of such exuberance, such excitement, and such intense determination. By the end, she was trying to practice turning. She was amazing! There were times she cried, times she got frustrated, but every time I asked her if she wanted to stop or come back to the rail, she said no and kept right on trying.
This weekend, I saw another side of her spirit. Determination. I don’t think I realized how determined she is because I always saw it as defiant. My heart was literally bursting with pride and I pray that from here on out, when she’s being difficult, I can remember that it’s maybe a little more about determination and cut her some slack.
I’m so incredibly grateful I saw that side of her. More importantly I’m so incredibly grateful I noticed. What a blessing to her to have her mother see her not as difficult but as disciplined. I’ll take a disciplined child over a genius child any day (although I happen to think she’s both). I thank God for my “spirited” daughter and the humbling lesson in seeing the positives in people instead of the negative. Go Ella Grace!