She watched my struggle, and as I put the last of our things into the car she finally asked what she must have been wondering for awhile.
“The Lord did that to you, didn’t He, Mama?”
And if I could have, I would have spun around and embraced her as I corrected her. But I couldn’t spin or bend down with the neck brace on and my back throbbing the way it was. We had been in a car accident a few days earlier, and while she was perfectly fine and (thankfully) unscathed, I hadn’t been so lucky. Muscles sore and back aching, I had learned the hard way how hard it is to recover from whiplash.
But I couldn’t move quickly to correct her, instead having to use quick words to change her mind.
“Honey, NO. The Lord did not do this to me. God doesn’t want to see us hurting or suffering. Things like this just happen. God does not do things like this. Love does not do things like this. God is helping me deal with this, but He did not do it to me.”
I asked if she understood; she said she did.
And as we drove to school a few minutes later, I thought some more about her question. It came from childlike innocence and, possibly, observations. What came from it would possibly change the way her four year old eyes saw the world.
I realized again how much she is learning from me, and was profoundly overwhelmed again by the weight of my responsibility as her mama. She learns from formal, intentional lessons, but from everyday moments that pass without a thought, too. She sees my reaction to things that happen. She sees how I interpret the world around me, and while she may not completely mirror me in her own actions, she will inevitably be influenced.
And so we’ve talked about the accident again. And again. And again. (I’m still not fully recovered, and she still hears far too often about how Mommy’s back hurts.) And I talk about the other things going on with me and with her. Because I don’t want my perspective to be a mystery to her. Because I don’t want her to wonder what I’m thinking or what I believe. Because I know that she will be influenced by something, and because I don’t want that influence to come from the changing winds and shifting sands of society.
I want my daughter to be surrounded by truth, and I’m realizing again and again that as her mama, she needs to hear that truth from me first.