Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Letters to Eliana

*Chuckle.*

My little mirror.

Wherever did you find that frown, knitting itself together between your green eyes?
And how did you happen upon those tears, dangling precariously from your lashes?
And that petulant gaze- who taught you that?
The slumped shoulders?
The crossed arms...
The...

I know. Oh, yes. I know.

My love, you are my reflection. And I'm sorry to say that there are many times when I am disappointed with my appearance. It would seem that you mimic me in more ways than just the blond ponytail brushing across your shoulder.

That frown? It was taught and caught in the course of a day, when the distractions and struggles of lessons and rain and baking and tiny spaces took up residence on Mama's forehead. When you tugged at her leg (repeatedly!), the looks and the sighs you began to receive were in sharp contrast to the smiles with which she began the day.

The pouty, petulant look? This was the result of too many sharp corrections, and not enough follow-through. Surely my face displayed the pout of one whose quiet reading during lessons was interrupted one too many times.

And the slumped shoulders my reflection casts back at me? Yes, I bent, martyr-like, when began the third night in a row of a bedtime routine without Daddy. I slouched in exasperation when the apple juice was spilled. I see now how very evident this reaction is to my little ones, and especially you, Eliana.

Your character is being written these early years; it should be carefully tended. Carelessness in front of my mirror writes itself in an unlovely way directly upon your heart. And yet...

I am fully aware of the sin that lies rooted there as well.
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. (Psalm 51:5).
I long to show you through my own refining how to master your emotions. For, my love, how will we ever face the the inevitable pain that life is sure to throw our way when these simple days command us so?

Though my mirror is only two-and-a-half feet tall, I catch my reflection often. So, smooth, brow. Lighten, eyes. Back - straighten, strengthen!

As ugly as my expressions can be, you still frame my reflection with direction and purpose. I love you, my golden, gilded mirror.

Love,
Mama

21 fellow travelers shared:

Maxine said...

How precious, Elise. This was so exquisitely worded and so true. May the Lord help you to be that reflection of His image that you so desire to be for your little girl. Remember, it takes a lifetime. My daughters often see that lack of refining still, but He's not finished.

Mindy said...

Oh, how sweet. It is amazing that they pick up on so much and just as amazing that you do too! What a good mommy you are.
Did you get my email? It seems as though you are doing better lately?

henryteachers said...

Yes, our kids sure follow our example...the good and the ugly! I'm so grateful for repentance that even as adults we make mistakes and fortunately our children are so forgiving to us.
It is always great to stop by your blog. I'm finally finding some time to.
Mindy :)

Joel and Jaime said...

Elise, I am so glad you are 'back'. I was really missing you for that little while that you were gone.
I enjoyed seeing the picture of you and your husband in the last post. You both look so content.

:..Rebekah..: said...

Absolutely beautiful....and so full of truth! Thank you, thank you, thank you for this. I am so amazed at how God can convict the heart, yet do it in such a beautiful way and with such beautiful words. His grace is so good that he teaches us in such wonderful and creative ways. I am convicted that I am not more mindful that my children are little mirrors of myself, but instead of being down because I am not all that I should be, I'm encouraged and even more excited about the wonderful gift and responsibility of motherhood.

Wendy said...

I love reading your letters to her. Always so beautiful. I know she will love them someday.

Andrea said...

Elise,
This *warmed* me. You are such an encourager to me to "Feed, Love, Lead" and to control my emotions and even facial expressions, for my children are watching! (How scary. :) Grace, I pray grace.

Alycia said...

Such a tender letter Elise. I am so blessed when I come to visit your blog. I have been away from blogging for some time and am not quite back to it yet ~ but I am so thankful for the moments I have to stop by yours and read your posts. Blessings to you and your sweet family this Christmas...

randi---i have to say said...

For better or worse, my girls are a reflection of me too. Somethings are good, but somethings are oh-so bad. If anything, God has rooted some attitudes out of me by showing the clearly through my girls. I am thankful for these--for the girls and for myself!

HeartofWisdom said...

Beautiful photos, encouraging words. Thank you. I will be browsing your blog.

Congratulations on receiving the Homeschool Blogging Award nomination. You're part of a great bunch.
http://heartofwisdom.com/blog

Audrey said...

These things are so evident to me as my children grow. In my oldest boy I see my sarcasm. In my second I see my anger in times of unfairness. In my third I see my insecurity.

Ah, but my little girl I see things that make me shudder. That scowl across her deep set eyes of which she and I share, is that what I look like when I am upset?

Some days I want to run and hide for fear of ruining my dear children. Then I remember that if The Lord could pull me out of the mire that was my childhood, oh how much more these little ones, He will Bless.

Alas , how much I do desire to be that place of perfect peace for my children. I suppose that title is only held by Our Father above.

Love
Audrey

Beverly said...

Yes. How often I see my lack of grace in my daughter. Too often. What an excellent reminder, and another sweet letter to your precious Eliana. She grows more lovely by the month!

jen said...

Yikes! I have twin girls. I really don't want two of me walking around. Time to straighten up! Thanks for the reminder.

Erna said...

I am all too guilty of portraying the wrong things at the wrong time. Oh, how I wish I had the restraint I need on a daily basis. How grateful I am for God's grace!

(P.S. Thanks for sharing your cookie recipe and other thoughts on my blog, I appreciated it!)

bluemountainmama said...

i think these letters are my favorite posts you do, elise! always so thoughtful, touching, and wise.

i always feel my heart sink, when i see an *ugly* reflection in sirlaughsalot and realize it came from his mama. voice tone is something i've definitely been noticing, and realize i need to work on. thanks for this beautiful reminder to reflect Jesus to our little ones.....

Christine said...

I have often thought this, yet never as eloquently. She will treasure these words as she grows up.

Jenn @ Munchkin Land said...

Oh Elise, what wonderful words and great reminders for us as mommies. I often wonder where my daughter gets her facial expressions and/or sayings. Then I catch a glimpse in the mirror and a lightbulb goes off. Its hard to constantly watch ourselves but so important! Thank you for your words!

JacciM said...

Hi, there :) This is my first time visiting your blog (I came across you through the HSBA) and I have *truly* enjoyed reading your sweet posts. Congratulations on your nomination!

I'll be back ;)

Blessings,
Jacci

Keri said...

Such beautifully written words!

http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/Keri/

Joy said...

oh how very very true! Your beautiful words came to mind this afternoon when I caught myself scowling at my son...thank you for reminding me to focus on Christ so that I will reflect Him! This letter reminds me of a father's song whose line says something like "Lord, I want to be just like You, 'cause he wants to be like me."

Anne said...

Your letters to Elaina make me cry every time! They always hit home. I love your honesty and sincerity. You have such a gift for writing! Thanks for being so open and sharing.

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