On Nurture, Nature and the Emotional Care of a Toddler

At the moment of typing this sentence it has been 94.41 hours since I have been more than a block from my house.  I know that because I know that the last time I was in a car was Sunday evening coming home from life group and I plugged that data into this nifty website.  When I made a similar statement my status update on facebook, one of my oldest friends posted that she leaves her house once a week and did that make her a recluse.  Well, I don’t know what the definition of recluse is, but I can tell you with certainty that I’m not one. I need human contact or I feel like the engine that runs my personality begins to run out of fuel.

Thursday morning after Jonathan left for the “hopsilater”, the mackerdoodle walked to the living room picture window and looked at the empty driveway.  She burst into tears, saying “No.  We need our car.  I no want stay home again today.”  So clearly I have passed on my non-reclusive nature to my daughter.  While I was holding her, and telling her that we were going to have a good day because God tells us to rejoice every day, I wiped the tears out of my own eyes and began to evaluate the best way to handle this.

It would be easy to use my daughter as an excuse to feed the worst in my personality and to make unreasonable demands on my husband and even the Lord.  On the other hand, it would be easy to expect a level of emotional maturity from a toddler that I haven’t yet mastered myself at 35.  I want to train her in the way she should go: nurturing the nature that the Lord has given her and gently tending the little shoots and buds of things that may one day be spiritual gifts and fruit.  However, I am also called to train her in righteousness and one of the ways to do that is to teach her that our circumstances can’t determine our contentment.  That’s a pretty heady lesson for a two year old, but I suspect if I can begin now, she might find it easier to learn than she would at, say, 20.

The Lord has given us this circumstance at this time for our sanctification.  I’ve understood that for some time, but it wasn’t until today that I realized He isn’t just sanctifying Jonathan and I.  If He has set our children aside for His kingdom (and His promises would point us to hope in that direction) then this circumstance is as much for their good as ours.

This week has been a hard one.  Jonathan worked more than 40 hours in three days.  He was gone before the mackerdoodle woke up and home after she was asleep.   Wednesday I had a migraine headache which knocked everyone’s day flat.  It’s been a hard week, but that can’t shape how I deal with my children or how I relate to my husband, or how I feel.  I’ve known that intellectually for a long time, but Thursday morning showed me that if I can’t apply it now, I can’t teach it to my daughter.

Friday we have the car for Jonathan’s four hour shift at the hospital and then we have Jonathan for the rest of the day.  Saturday Jonathan doesn’t have to work until 3 pm and we always have the Lord’s day together.  The end of the week is looking up, but I hope I can teach the mackerdoodle that our joy is in the Lord, not Publix or the park with Daddy.

We’re on the beginning of a long journey together, me and my little extrovert.  Whatever the future holds, I know two things: the Lord has planned it all for His glory and our sanctification, and if the two of us get to plan anything, there will probably be a party or seven thrown in.  You’re all invited.


About Coralie

After 11 years of infertility, I am now a mother to three, a wife of a Presbyterian (ARP) preacher and a struggling homemaker. Welcome to my little corner of the net. Kick off your shoes, put your feet up and join the conversation. View all posts by Coralie

4 responses to “On Nurture, Nature and the Emotional Care of a Toddler

  • Jawan

    In true Presbyterian fashion, I’ll bring the alcohol to the party.

    I have thought about you all week. Knowing that you had a migraine Wednesday made me want to come over, put the Mackerdoodle in my van and bring her home with us to play so you might get some rest. I’m sorry I never made that call.

  • Lily

    Coralie, I can sympathise with you. At present I’m not allowed to drive after my operation and, although there is a car sitting out there, I can’t just get in it an go. There are many days when I don’t go anywhere normally but the opportunity is there if I want it, now it isn’t. I’m counting the days till a driver is available to take me somewhere. Love you.

  • Elizabeth

    I sympathize with Mackerdoodle (and you, of course). After two weekends of being snowed in and not even going to church, whatever tiny bit of me is extraverted has come out in full force. I’ve jumped at every opportunity to see people for the last week and a half.
    I enjoyed your letter and the sweet photo of your family is on my refrigerator.

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