I love two year olds...
Especially that defiant, just discovering that they have a choice time many call the terrible twos... I think they are a terrifically triumphant time.
Little people suddenly realizing they are independent and have minds of their own - and being brave enough to act on that, even if their actions are often impulsive and wrongly motivated.
I'm overwhelmed by the potential I see emerging... sometimes literally exploding... in that age group.
And one of the best strategies I learned for coping with the hard days of living with a two year old ('cause honesty demands that I admit -there are some of those... depending on the child, there can be lots of those... and I've shed my fair share of tears over an unruly, defiant, strong-willed toddler - I mean, seriously, is there anything other than a strong-willed toddler, just manifested according to individual personalities?) is the strategy of letting go...
Not worrying about what the other mothers (and fathers) might think...
Parenting for my child's best, not my comfort or my "image..."
Agreeing and admitting that I make lots of mommy mistakes - and then pursuing pardon...
Looking for reasons to laugh at my little person's antics, while teaching him or her to laugh with me at my own silly antics - because there really are a lot...
Applying this strategy to my 16 year old becoming young man... and my nearly 15 year old becoming young woman... seems a good idea, too.
But it is harder.
If you'd told me that back when I just had a 2 year old, I would have nodded my head... but I wouldn't have believed you.
Now, some of their choices and many of their antics have farther reaching consequences - impacting others and determining their futures.
Their exploring and ranging and growing and becoming takes them far out of my reach, out of my sight and into situations and places where I feel I am helpless... where I rebel and have my own heart tantrum that I have to depend on God to care for them instead of myself.
Much of the work in raising them, in teaching them, in training them as they should go - certainly the foundation, at least - has already been laid.
Thankfully, I have the example of other godly mommies and daddies, both steps and kilometers further down the road than I... their examples and their stories give me hope and courage.
I do know the right "church" and "bible" answers... I just don't often like them as they feel like exasperating, perturbing platitudes... and I still have to let my heart flip flop and my stomach leap up into my throat as I (forgive me for borrowing the cliché) let them stretch their wings and fly... or crash to the ground.
These days, I'm still working on letting go and then:
...dusting them off and encouraging them to try again when they fail,
...answering questions, seeking answers and living authentically before and with them,
... applauding their triumphs,
... and trusting them to the Heavenly Father who loves them more than I do.
Yes... I love two year olds.
I'm discovering I really like teens, too!