I have a horrible confession to make… I have not always been the mother I wanted to be (and sometimes I still am not).
I prayed for a daughter ever since I was little. One whose hair I would lovingly brush and braid and tie up with ribbons. One who would wear the most darling dresses and cutest jeans. One who would sit and have quiet little tea parties with teddy bears and mommy dear. A daughter who, when given her first doll house, would love on the miniature people, set up the dining room, and have great feasts and adventures within the molded walls.
God told me I would first have a son. The only thing I wanted more than a daughter, was a big brother to take care of this precious little girl I knew would someday issue from my womb.
Zach came into this world with curiosity and patience. If first babies could be picked, he would be the one to have. The terrible twos were not much more than a speed bump, he was always obedient, always darling, always a model. I would even have moms of less obedient children ask me, “How do you do it?” and I, young and naive with only one child, would begin to advise. I was convinced my darling child was all because of ME. (I had fallen away from God for a time when he was younger so I had no clue then, it was because of GOD!)
I must concede here, apology calls were made at a later date.
22 days after Zach turned 4, Ashley entered the world…. SCREAMING. And she didn’t stop. Within the first few weeks I felt like a failure as a mom and my sweet little girl, who had to be taken early because of infection in my body, resembled a screeching alien more than a pudgy ball of delight.
|2 week old Ashley and her grandpa|
I still loved her and I still tried to dote on her. It was hard, though. Long nights were spent pacing the floor with colic. She would only settle down for her father, but he had work and was either gone, or needing sleep to be gone ‘bringin’ in the bacon’! I did the best I could
At least while she was a baby I could dress her like I once had done with my baby dolls. But the older she got the more I realized I was not dealing with the typical little girl and she was not at all like her big brother. Where before a simple “no” would suffice with Zach, spankings and time-outs wouldn’t even work with Ashley.
|She did have her sweet moments! Here with her big bro :)|
As she got older and bed time would approach I would almost hyperventilate in anticipation. Lying on the floor and kicking her door in protest of the nightly need for sleep was a regular and screaming some nights was a bonus.
Poison control’s number was posted clearly on the fridge and Syrup of Ipecac never went far back in the cabinet. At one point, after an unnerving sleep walking incident, I had to tie her door shut at night because I feared she would get up and go un-knowingly for a walk outside. Living in bear country (or any country), I was terrified.
She destroyed her doll house because she liked it better as a jungle gym. She HATES pink and frills have got to go. Her hair was so thin (and she was so wiggly) fixing it beyond brushing was a long shot. I was too exhausted from the work that was her to sit down to a serious tea party. She usually roped her baby brother, when he arrived, into those. She would tag him with a bib and serve him, then reprimand him for playing the game wrong!
|Ashley and Brenden on one of his birthdays, she was 'helping'!|
Speaking of her baby brother, when I found out I was pregnant with Brenden I was excited… then I cried. “Please Lord, I can’t handle another Ashley”. Having returned to a faith walk and the pues of church, my hope was in God. Whatever child he blessed me with, I had to Trust He would give me the strength to manage.
Brenden was more mild mannered than Zach. Of course, I didn’t know it was because he was almost deaf in his early years… but that isn’t the point of this article. The point is, here I am, up to three kids, two of which were boys and marvelously behaved and one of which was the coveted girl and I felt like I was constantly in an uphill battle with her.
I began to think I just wanted a daughter I could love who will love me back. The daughter I had dreamed about.
One day, after a despairing struggle with her, I sat down and had a hearty cry. I began to pray and seek God’s forgiveness, his council, and his hand to help. I realized, at first in despair, that because of female problems and 3 miracle babies already, Ashley was likely the only daughter I was going to have. I had a choice. I could either battle her till the day I die, or I could embrace her and love her as only a mother can. This heart altering realization formed into the finality of my prayer… that God would grow my heart for my difficult child, that he would create in me a love that surpassed all understanding. That I would see my daughter in His beautiful light, and not my own obscured bulb.
Guess what? God truly does answer prayers.
|Me and my girl a few years ago at a Superchick concert|
I have a (currently) 12 ½ year old tom-boy who will, on occasion, wear loooong skirts and imagine she is a pioneer girl! She loves horses and she loves the Lord. She is not boy crazy (my husband deeply appreciates this!) and she is bossy at times… driving us all batty. But she is passionate. She loves each of us deeply and, even though I know we drive her crazy sometimes, she is crazy about us.
|The most wonderful thing about Ashley: her heart for God :)|
She is a brilliant artist, a hard worker, and a deep lover. The well-being of animals is close to her heart. She is a die-hard daddy’s girl. She is better than the daughter of my dreams.
|Birthday horse ride last year! Amazing!|
After that prayer I lifted up in despair, God began to work in me. He healed my heart and I fell in love all over again… with my little girl. I became her passionate defender and ready protector. I saw our relationship blossom and bloom and I can’t imagine my life without her.
|Families that serve together stay together!|
The funny thing is, a year after that prayer, God blessed my scared womb with one more child: a daughter just like me. I see now how the dynamics of all my relationships with my four children have given me deeper faith, a deeper love, a deeper devotion, and a deeper appreciation of each one of them that I wouldn’t have without Ashley.
|Christening in 2003|
I’m so glad God knows what I need better than I do! May you rest in God's great peace and provision today.
Post note: In 2007, tests confirmed what I had suspected all along; Ashley has moderate to severe ADHD. And I wouldn't change the way God has made her for a minute... she is perfect!