Soon after, I had my first child. A beautiful, perfect, happy girl. I can say without batting an eye, that I was the best mother of one child below the age of three that there has ever been.
Then two things happened: I had my second child, and my daughter turned three. My perfection soon fell down around my neck, and it choked me, and I have never thought I was a perfect mother since.
Heavenly Father has a good sense of humor, doesn't he? I often find myself having experiences that I once judged someone else for. This was one of those.
For the first time in my life, I had a very strong willed, creative, smart, difficult 3 year old, and I was having a hard time. She will tell you a sad story about me slapping her face once when she was three. Don't call the police, but I did. She was freaking out, screaming hysterically, and I, the once perfect mother of one baby, had been consoling and bribing and soothing her (I can't remember the cause of the fit), for a half hour while she flipped and flopped and screamed in my face. Finally I just slapped her to shock her out of it. I know better now, today, I would just take her to her room, shut the door, and wait until she calmed down. But at that point, the whole world revolved around her and separation didn't even occur to me. Those days were stressful, I just didn't know what to do.
I remember thinking one day, that if I poured enough love on her, my heart and her heart would have to change. I think that was one of those moments of inspiration that if you trust and follow, everything changes. I started having dates with her very young. I taught her how to bat and throw a ball. I pitched to her on our front lawn every day for months. If she hit the ball over the neighbors low wall, it was a home-run and she would sprint around the baseball diamond of shoes while I clapped and cheered. It really was a "Fake it Till you Make it" situation. We learned the alphabet and sounds by stacking ABC blocks, and I read a billion books to her.
Looking back, I think that was one of the hardest times of my life as a mother, having a new baby and a three year old, for the first time. Your hormones are changing, you are getting into a groove with the new baby, and you have a three year old, who understands what you say, but has no desire to DO what you say.
That inspiration to pour more love on her was the trick. Once we had that fun, one on one relationship, she was more likely to do what I asked her to do. I have to keep that in check with everyone of my kids still.
Today, my Rilee is one of the most amazing people I know. Without a doubt, we were best friends in heaven and asked the Father to come here together. We are from the same mold, she is more like me than anyone I know, but better.
This morning, on our way to school she told me she was not eating at the school BBQ. I asked her if she packed a lunch. She said no. Then she told me she was hungry because she hadn't eaten breakfast either, "What?" I said, "You can't go clear to the end of school without eating!" Then I remembered her little friend that is in Primary Children's Hospital waiting for a new heart. "Are you fasting?" I asked, she just nodded. She has never fasted before.
We have had some hard times, that girl and I, but we hold hands and go through them together. There may come a time when she lets go, but I am going to follow her around, throwing love dust on her head, until she reaches back for me again. Remind me of that later, ok?
I trust her. I respect her. I ask her advice. I admire her. I need her, and I am strengthened by her. Being Rilee's mother has been one of the great privileges of my life.