My {Different} Girl


photo credit: dare to be different

Tonight, I was shopping at the Duck Duck Goose Consignment Sale in Pine Bluff with my oldest daughter Maggie. When I invited her to go with me I explained to her where we where going and that we would be shopping for her cousins. She would have to stay in the stroller, would miss her afternoon movie, and need to obey the 1st time. She chose to stay home and watch the movie. {duh}

Right before I walked out the door she ran to me and timidly said, “I changed my mind.” Cool. We grabbed flip-flops and headed out the door after asking if she needed a quick potty break. Driving in the van listening to Little Einsteins play in the back seat and my sweet 3-year-old singing along and following their every direction. Joyous!

When we arrived at the sale I reminded her of the rules, “you will have to ride in the stroller because it would be crowded and obey the 1st time.” She agreed as I buckled her in to the single stroller she’d not ridden in at least a year, legs too long, barely enough room to fold them to put them under the tray. She began questioning every part, “what’s That?” as if she’d never seen this contraption before. Goofy girl!

When we got inside there were very few shopper. Score! Quiet, calm, soothing music, and lots of rack of 1/2 price goodies! No this post is not about the consignment sale, although I am partial ;o)

We had only been there a few minutes when she, of course, was bored out of her mind, poured into the silly cup on wheels I’d brought as her chariot. Even with a book from the table for momentary entertainment, she was done. “Mamma! I needa go potty!” “Yeah, ya do.” I thought as I looked up and realized she’d just identified the restroom sign near us. I made our way pushing our now ‘hanging rack’ toward the bathroom. I helped her in, did what we needed to do, and returned to the chariot.

I’d knew what was coming and had an answer ready. “Mamma, can I walk? I wanna go play with those toys. I won’t run off!” “Yes baby. You can. You may play with the toys that are not in packages. You may NOT open things. These things are for sale just like at other stores. They are not ours so we need to be extra gentle with them. You also have to stay where I can see you. I will be at these 3 racks with the 5s and 6s on them. If  you can’t see me, I can’t see you. Make sure you can see me. K?” “Ok mamma!” she said as her body shook with excitement, hands clenched in front of her chest as she listened to my instruction.

We walked our separate ways, maybe 2 yards away from one another. She said, “I can see you! I’m right here mamma. K?” “Yes baby, you’re doing great!” She went about shuffling through the items left on the shelves showing me each, and Everyone and continually announcing every 5 steps she took, “I can see you! I’m right here mamma. K?” to which I responded, “Yes baby, you’re doing great!” I made sure she knew when I moved to the next rack so she could locate me and she took her turn announcing what new treasure she’d found. Where is this most days? LOVE IT! She was so ecstatic I’d given a little leeway to the original plan and allowed this adventure. Silly beautifully creative girl.

She began setting up camp with a baby in a high chair, purse on her arm, and attempting to locate some “tend food” for her baby. I finished up my search in the boy section and was ready to sort and narrow down my items to stay in my budget. I urged her to “clean up” and she quickly found all the toys she’d been playing with and put them back where she’d discovered them. Time for another potty break! She ask if she could go by herself. No one else was in there and I would be only feet way sorting so in she went. Several minutes later she came bursting out so proud of herself, “I washed my hands too!” she shouted. Boisterous responsibly independent girl!

I explained what I’d been doing and that now it was time to shop on the girl side. We headed off after a quick reminder of the ‘rules’. She helped me locate the size racks I needed to rummage through and then she headed back to the toy shelves, now the same distance from me on the opposite side. This side of the shelves where even more her speed! After finding her long-lost baby she’d returned to the shelf she found a purse with STUFF in it! Bringing it to me she informed me eagerly, “This purse has stuff in it…I wanna show my baby what’s inside.” I smiled, “Are we supposed to open the toys?” “BUT I wanna show my baby!” she whined. “You’ll have to pretend you know what’s inside and describe it to her.” Off she went, wheels turning.

She found friends! I love it when kids make friends so quickly and easily! All it took was, “what’s your name?” and their off! There was less, “I can see you! I’m right here mamma. K?” “Yes baby, you’re doing great!” interaction but I was fine with that because she was still obeying! They’d soon become intrenched in a game of good-old-fashion “house”. Chatter back and forth with this older little girl, maybe 7-8. I continually checked over my shoulder to make sure she was ok, and…there. Then I saw it. The girl had the purse. Ya know, the one with the stuff in it. They both sat down among an assortment of little toys. Maggie watched in anticipation………………she opened it.

I felt like I was watching my daughter years down the road sitting with a drug dealer or something. I know, I know, your all laughing your heads off right now. “NOT a big deal!” your saying. I know, but this felt like yet another one of those turning points. Was I going to be different. Was I going to parent different? How was I going to parent different? How far was too far?

Maggie watched the girl get each piece out. Simple little pieces: comb, mirror, keys. I watched Maggie watch. Then, she reached for on of the pieces. I decided: Different! “Maggie!”….”Maggie…baby, please come here.” The little girl heard me first and pointed in my direction. Maggie casually turned in my direction and when noticing my gesture hoped up and came over. “Maggie, are we supposed to open the toys?” “Uh, that girl…” she began, turning to point at her new friend. I interuped, “I know. Mamma asked You not to open the closed toys. Some times our friends will do things that mamma has ask you Not to do. When that happens you will need to not play with them while they are doing that, o.k.? I know it’s hard!” She gazed over her shoulder back at her new friend, “…O.K. mamma.”

I wanted to cry! I couldn’t believe I just ask my baby to be the weirdo that stops playing with someone who’s making a choise her mamma’s ask her not to make. “You don’t have to go tell her” I said quietly, trying to cushion the blow as I saw in her eyes that she felt she needed to go instruct her new friend to return the items to inside the purse. I had no idea where that childs mom was and didn’t want to be insulting. At least that was my excuse for not allowing my baby to continue in her “repentance”.

I watched, fighting back tears, as she walked to the shelf and picked out a different toy. Not even one she’d been toting around from the beginning that was now located near the new friend and “the purse”. The girl hallered, “Mamma! Mamma!” I quickly looked her direction only to notice she was talking to Maggie. MAGGIE had been the mamma in the game of “house”. {LOVE} that my 3-year-old was the mom, the responsible, the in charge one in this little game! Maggie glanced her way and simply said, “I can’t play. My mamma said we aren’t supposed to open the toys. You gotta put the stuff back in the purse.” Maggie stared at her (confused) friend for a few moments then went on playing.

{Heart Break} The girl went back to play and Maggie did her thing. I few minutes later Maggie came around the corner…with ‘the [closed/refilled] purse’,…and tears forming. “Mamma…” “What Maggie!?!” I ask with a knot in my throat as I rushed toward her and bent down. “My friends has to leave…” “Awe, baby. I’m sorry!”

I did it {different}. She was becoming {different}.

I hugged her. Strong, courageous, obedient, convicted, gentle, loving, yet still so little, girl.


About as Jules is going

Julie Rothacher is a missionary currently serving in central Arkansas, with her husband of 10 years, as youth ministers. She and Matt have 4 children, Magdalene (6years), Isabella (5years), Benjamin (4year), and Elizabeth (1year). God is leading Julie and her family on fun adventures. She is new to blogging but loves sharing what God is doing in her life which include but are not limited to the simple silliness of every day quirkiness that happens around her home with 4 under 6, a hilarious husband, and their newest endeavors: homeschooling and CHURCH PLANTING!

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