I hope by the time Zoya reads this, she will not mind me sharing. Last night was a big night for us. Last night may have been the first time Zoya disobeyed and faced a real consequence. Zoya is a generally obedient child, and the times she has disobeyed I have been the one dealing out the consequences. I give the consequences for not staying in bed and for having a bad attitude. But last night she disobeyed and something bad happened. It wasn’t a big bad. It wasn’t a big danger. But it was outside my control. I responded very calmly. She told me right away what she did and when I had mitigated the harm as much as possible, I held her as we talked.
She was very quiet. She answered my questions as we talked about obedience, forgiveness, and consequences, but just wanted to snuggle on my chest clearly full of sorrow.
We sat there for awhile. Then after many minutes of silence, she asked, “Do you still love me?”
I’ll admit, I was a little startled by the question and it broke my heart. I had not yelled. I had not gotten mad. I had not even moved in an agitated matter. But it wasn’t about me. It was her own sorrow and regret.
How often do we do that with others and with God? How often when we regret our own actions do we think God and others won’t want us around?
I was solely concerned about Zoya’s sorrow, and here she was worrying whether or not she was still loved.
Zoya is always a very articulate child. Our discussions about life and death, evil and forgiveness, are as sharp and intelligent as imaginable. But still it took her about 20 minutes to find the words to ask me this question. I’m so grateful, I didn’t put her right to bed. I’m also glad we didn’t have the television to distract. There will be plenty of times my actions will leave deep scars on her young psyche. I’m glad no deep scars were created last night.
She is precious. Dressing her is my hobby, everything else is my deepest delight. And when I told her good night she said, “I love you mommy, even though you make red choices.” Yes, I was startled again, but she is right. I too make red choices. It is never too soon or too late to learn about grace and unconditional love.