Emmy turned 5 last month, and it has had me doing a lot of thinking. I’ve been looking back on the last five years– the first five years of her life, and my first five years as a Mom.
One thing I feel like God has put on my heart this summer is how Emmy is her own person. She is not an extension of me. She may have my nose, and eyes, and toes(<–Strange, but true fact). But she is God’s creation, not mine. He has a plan for her –far better than the plan I could ever imagine up for her, or try to micro-manage.
Allow me to explain how this looked in my life recently.
I’d been planning Emmy’s birthday party for the past few weeks. So far in our little family, we only do birthday parties for our kids every other year. And I want to make them special, and not too crazy. But this time around, I felt God quietly speaking to my heart that something was :a little off: in my party planning.
I really felt like I was being simple in my planning. The menu was simple, and the guest list was fairly small (except for my family!) and I felt like I should be able to handle it.
But that wasn’t it, there was something else.
As I looked at my Pinterest board for her party, filled with ideas to make a vintage paper doll theme birthday party, it hit me–
I bet if it were up to her, Emmy wouldn’t really prefer a vintage paper doll themed party.
While Emmy does enjoy her paper dolls, and I’m sure she would have been fine with it in the end- I just felt conviction that my party plan for Emmy was more about :me: than about her.
It wasn’t celebrating who she is at 5,
it was celebrating who I am at 28—
and quite honestly, who I WISHED Emmy was at 5.
Who did I wish she was more like? ME.
But she is not me, or an extension of me. (Lucky for her!)
She is her own little person, created by God, with all strengths and weaknesses -and preferences and hobbies!- that He had in mind for her from the very beginning. (Praise God for that!)
So, while I prefer soft pastels and florals— Emmy gets her heart-eyes over BRIGHT colors and loud patterns. And she loves to wear the same outfits over and over again.
While I would love to dress her in outfits similar to my own favorites, she would prefer to wear her favorite dress every other day. If not that, then she prefers big t-shirts with animals and unicorns on them, and nothing with too tight of a waist band around that little belly.
She dislikes the matching brown Saltwater Sandals I bought her this summer, and much prefers her beat up navy blue Toms. And she often requests “I just want to let my hair be crazy today, Mom!” when I approach her with a hair brush. (My dreams of braids and cute top-knots are set aside often.)
While I dreamed of having a child who enjoys tea parties and dolls and books and crafts, all of which she does— they are done in ways quite different that I would have enjoyed as a kid!
While I dreamed of having a child who enjoyed kombucha and interesting foods, she would eat hotdogs and PB&J every day if I let her.
So, by God’s grace, I crumpled up all my ideas in the imaginary trash can- just a couple days before the party! And I took Emmy with me to the birthday aisle at Target, a weight immediately leaving my shoulders!
Emmy is always planning imaginary parties, and so she was rather excited that I was including her in the process. Can you guess what stood out to her most in the aisle?
The UNICORN plates and napkins. So Emmylou. 🙂 We threw them in the cart, and she was giddy with delight. And honestly I was too! It’s such fun to bless your kids on their birthday.
And while, I’m her Mom and still the one in control: I said no to a piñata and balloons all over the floor, and noise makers and party hats. But, I said yes to colorful pom-pom garlands, and pink polka dot cups, and stickers and candy for the party bags.
Instead of a paper-doll craft, the girls made masks with feathers and stickers and markers.
Instead of me trying to micro-manage a super cute Pinterest-board party, that :I: would love if I were 5! , I was able to relax and just be thankful for my little girl on her 5th Birthday party and enjoy the person God made her to be at this age.
When I was shopping at Aldi for food for the party, the pastel peony flowers caught my eye for a second…but they were outshined by the bright orange gerber daisy bouquets that I knew my little girl would love. And she immediately gasped at “how lovely!” they were when I showed them to her when I got home.
I never would have picked them for myself! But I am so enjoying them as they still sit on my kitchen counter this week, a bright and cheerful reminder to me of God’s grace in my life! He blessed me with a little girl who loves unicorns and bright colors, and who I could never have thought up on my own.
Setting aside my (stronger than I realized) preferences was such a simple way to bless my daughter and show her God’s love.
It might sound obvious that a child’s birthday party should be more about the child than the Mother! I’m glad God was faithful to show me this when Emmylou was turning 5, and not 15. I am glad for the gift of who my daughter is, and His plan for her life, and I’m truly excited to get to watch it unfold– in her next 5 years, and beyond.