I have written volumes about my feisty blonde brownie.
(Her blog name is Angela but in real life, she shares her name with a hurricane.)
The girl’s got spunk.
What we forget, I think, as mothers, is that underneath those most predominant traits are softer, subtler qualities. Just because we don’t see them daily—because, perhaps, they are recessive traits—we may not think that they are there.
Look. I have an example.
Angela is one to move through life at remarkable speeds. So yesterday afternoon, when she needed some ice water for a picnic she was hosting, she flew to the refrigerator and cupped her hand under the ice dispenser. Having gotten the ice cubes that she needed for her pitcher, she left the rest there…on the tray and the floor.
Being ice, it melted.
I pointed this out to my husband with a laugh. “We don’t need a sign to know Angela was here, do we?” Whereupon he got “that” look in his eye and asked if I’d play along with him. I said sure and was given a not-so-glamorous role—that of splaying my very large self on the floor to make it look as though I’d slipped and fell.
He called out for Angela and she came around the corner—the opposite corner from where I lay. “Do you see all this water?” he demanded, and she glanced from his face to the the puddle on the floor. He splashed his hand in it for dramatic effect. “Angela, you can’t just leave a bunch of ice on the floor because someone will have an accident!”
She continued to stare up at him with solemn eyes, wearing that all-too-familiar look of resigned consternation. Indeed, it’s pretty clear that she was thinking, “Here we go again.” She did not even notice me lying there because have I mentioned? The girl’s got focus.
I helped her along by giving a little groan and she turned.
Like the ice, her consternation just melted.
It was replaced by a gasp and a look of such heartfelt concern, that I had in an instant a glimpse into her heart. I will never forget the look of tender empathy she gave me—at least, I hope I don’t, which is why I’m writing about it.
I forget sometimes that those tougher souls have a soft spot—crusted over as it can get by my expectations and harsh words. It’s a carefully guarded “Love me, let me love you” that will rise to the surface if only it’s nurtured.
If you coax this tenderness it will come…and it will flourish if watered by our patience and love.
This is not to say that the feisty traits go away.
Instead, they are softened by the flowers we plant.