I’ve gotten into this nasty habit lately of apologizing for my kids. Not just during the appropriate times – you know, like when they nearly shoulder check old ladies to the ground at the supermarket – but all the time. I make jokes about how crazy they are, how they must traumatize their peers with their antics; anything I can to try and prove that I really am a good mother, I swear!
I have long since played the comparison game, where I mentally force my daughters to go head-to-head with every other 4 year old I know, and see just how well they measure up in the socially-acceptable arena. It seemed like my kids were not up to snuff, and more often than not I would end up feeling like I needed to apologize for them being… well… themselves. Restaurants, parks, stores, no matter the time or place, my kids just never seemed to be as “proper” as other kids.
I started realizing how much I do this just this past 4th of July. We went to see the fireworks at our local park; it was the girls’ first time seeing them and we found the perfect spot perched on a hill and waited for the show to start. To my delight the girls were over the moon about them. They squealed and loudly oooh’d and aaahhh’d at every new color and sound, and I was absolutely swooning over what a perfect moment it was. That is until I caught wind of the people sitting closest to us complaining about how loud they thought my kids were being, and that they hoped it wasn’t going to be like this the whole time. Immediately I felt like I should have been embarrassed, look at how disruptive my kids were being! So I mouthed a silent “Sorry!” at them and began trying to shush the girls, to no avail. Nothing could temper their excitement. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized how wrong the whole thing was. They weren’t being disruptive, they were overjoyed! And it wasn’t a movie theater, for goodness sakes!
I have come to realize how completely unfair I have been to my kids by always making them out to be creatures whose very existences should be apologized for. That somehow their personalities are a problem. That their character is too passionate.
And to be frank, I’m done.
Sorry, but I’m not sorry.
I’m not sorry that they are brave, that they don’t shy away from the not-so-proverbial ledge.
I’m not sorry that they never try to temper their joy.
I’m not sorry that they are so eagerly affectionate.
I’m not sorry that they’re more energetic than some other kids.
I’m not sorry that they’re strong willed and fiery spirited.
I’m not sorry.
Because those beautiful souls of mine? They’re gifts. Exactly the way they are.
Some traits are learned or are products of environment and nurture. Some things, though… some things are woven into their very beings by a Creators hands, intricately and intentionally knitted with purpose.
And those crazy brave girls? Maybe one day they’ll reach into the darkest scariest places of the world, where others wouldn’t dare to go, to shine for Jesus.
Those wild ones? They totally and completely own themselves in every way. That there isn’t a scrap of self-consciousness in their bodies, and they welcome and accept without prejudice.
They love crazy. They will be the first to take your hand and the last to let you go.
Those girls have a zeal for life that I adore.
They aren’t always dainty or prim, they’re not afraid to climb a tree or play in the mud, and there’s not a frog yet that they haven’t squealed over in delight.
They shout too loudly about the beauty of the stars and the God who made them.
They burst into gleeful renditions of Jesus Loves Me before collapsing into an unladylike heap on the grass, rolling and laughing and snorting.
They are a force to be reckoned with, courageous and faithful to a fault.
They are going to give the enemy a run for his money.
My kids are not perfect, Lord knows, and there are a hundred things in the future that we’ll need to apologize for.
But who they are?
Sorry, but I’m not sorry.