It seems every evening Little Miss (my kindergartner) and I butt heads. I know part of this is because she's 5, and it's that age and stage, and she's so advanced that the sass starts sooner...some days she's like a mini-teenager. But I also know that part of it is her dealing with the situation we are in within our family and processing her own pent up anger and frustration and confusion.
It's such a layered, complicated situation, and the unfairness of it all drives me to my knees and to tears almost every night. At times, it seems too big, too overwhelming - and when I think about the reasons it has come to this, I struggle with anger and bitterness. Which I don't want to do. So it's easier to let it all go, to push the deeper layers aside, and just deal with the surface level tantrums one at a time than dwell on the real issues.
But you can only do that for so long, and tonight, this all came to a head in the form of a green snail.
Little Miss loves her stuff. Gifts are her love language by far, and she collects miscellaneous items like a rocker collects guitars. And they're just as valuable to her. The "junk" you get at the dollar store or from school fundraisers will light up her life like the 4th of July. It's unbelievable. So when she was cleaning out her toys the other night and found her long lost little green snail squishy light up toy, well, it was better than Christmas morning. She was ecstatic.
Until she lost it again.
So we spent a good long while searching. Gave up. She searched more later. Gave up. We forgot about it. Then she remembered it. And cried for literally hours off and on. We searched again. I mean, everywhere. In all her buckets of toys. All her drawers in her room. Under the couches. We talked through when she had seen it last and what she thought might have happened to it. No avail. We searched everywhere obvious and then in desperation, I checked the not so obvious places like the pantry and refrigerator.
All the while, I was growing more and more frustrated, because A. I didn't understand why the snail was so important in the first place, B. her tears were stressing me out and causing my own emotional over-reaction, C. the fact that something wasn't where it should be just made me mad and D. This was taking up so much time I didn't have that I needed to be doing a hundred other things.
Along with the truth that with everything else going on this week, it felt like just one more battle lost. I needed a victory, and I needed it bad.
I started unloading the dishwasher and sinking into a depression while she sniffled on the couch. I prayed, and ranted, and vented to God silently while banging dishes around. Nothing was fair. Nothing was right. This wasn't about a green snail anymore. It was about so, so much more. And it was ugly.
Finally, I finished the dishes, dried my eyes, and went and held her. She was trying to put on a brave face. Said it didn't matter. Said I didn't have to look anymore. Lower lip quivering, holding her stuffed animals, she looked exactly like I felt. Forgotten, lost, defeated.
I held her and with tears dripping into her hair, we watched a cartoon and pretended together it didn't matter. Brave warrior princess faces on, but armor tattered and torn. I closed my eyes and silently asked God with the little bit of mama strength I had left to show me where the snail was. I asked for His glory, and for her happiness, that He just right then, right there, supernaturally TELL ME where the snail was.
Immediately, and I do mean immediately, an image of our computer desk in my office popped in my head. I didn't even argue. I threw back the blanket, walked away, didn't say a word of explanation, just walked to the computer desk. Opened the top drawer.
And stared directly into the googly eyes of a little green squishy light up snail.
I started giggling and couldn't stop for thirty minutes. That kind of giddy, in awe, disbelief sort of laugh that comes from your toes, that comes from realizing the God of the universe really does see, and really does care. And was a dead-center-target-hit for me that if God cares about the location of a little green squishy light up snail, He cares about the big things in my heart. And He's in charge of those too.
I presented the snail to Little Miss, who lit up like a Christmas tree. It was a happy moment. And with my teary eyes looking into her own hopeful watery gaze, I told her exactly what had happened. And got to teach her a lesson she'll never forget about the goodness of our Heavenly Daddy and His love for us that is comparable to none.
He is good. He is enough. And He still gives gifts to His kids.
Big ones. Little ones.
And green ones.