I was in a rush looking for a shirt for Hope to wear in a pile of Rhema-hand-me-downs. All of the shirts were… how shall I say it?… well-worn. I grabbed one and gave it to Hope. She put it on with exaggerated flair. As if she’d been shopping on Rodeo Drive, she said, “Oh! I just love the fancy chewing on this top!”
I watched as she fingered the chewed collar and holey sleeves. Then we burst into laughter. Holding our sides, tears in our eyes laughter.
Rhema goes through shirt-chewing/eating/ripping phases. By the time she’s done, most of her tops are un-wearable – they are either thrown out or used as rags. The shirts that remain become brittle around the collar after washing.
“Hold on, babe. I’ll find you something else.”
“No. I want this one!”
She twirled and giggled.
“Hope? Don’t ever change, ok?”
On New Year’s Day we were talking on the phone to Brandon (in Kuwait). I told him about Hope and how she’s proud to wear Rhema’s old shirts.
Brandon said, “Hope, remind us. When Mommy and Daddy start complaining and when we’re not thankful, remind us of fancy chewing.”
This past week ranks right up there at the top as one of the hardest for Rhema and me. There’s something really troubling my girl and its manifested itself in endless days of screaming, hair-pulling, hair-eating, body-twitching, non-compliance, crying jags, property destruction. (Whatever you can imagine from that description, it’s worse.) And I have been digging, clawing for the secret of contentment. Fighting not to drown in despair, loneliness, hysteria and 15 bags of blue cotton candy.
I’ve been battling not to protest the shirt I’ve been given.
To see the fancy chewing.
(I see it. I do. It’s rich and intricate and beautiful.)
To wear it proudly because it humbles me.
To be thankful.