It’s a really weird thing to have your oldest child start turning into a big kid. I’m used to babies since they’ve been my focus for the past eight years, so Brooke routinely catches me off guard with her…I hesitate to say maturity exactly…but something like that. The smallest seed of maturity is almost peeking through, and every once in a while I catch a glimpse.
The first time I really noticed this was a little while ago. I had to give a lesson in Primary and told Brooke that I would be teaching. She said, “Are you going to use that voice?”
Me (taken aback): “Voice? What voice?”
Brooke: “You know. That voice you use when you talk to little kids. Like this.”
She then proceeded to do such a spot-on imitation of my “teacher voice” that I was gobsmacked. How has my mostly oblivious child picked up on my perhaps slightly obnoxious mannerisms and started ribbing me about them?! Is this my life now?
My mind instantly recalled all the teasing my sister and I did to my poor Mom, my favorite being the time my Mom made a laughing sound, but her face didn’t smile. That right there was UNFORGIVABLE to my sister and she never let my Mom live it down.
Now here I am. Payback. I think I preferred being on the other side of the equation.
But back to Brooke. She gets jokes now. She can understand deeper themes in books. It’s really kind of delightful in a way. And scary. Let’s do more examples.
Now that Brooke is eight she gets to accompany me to the general women’s session of general conference. This wasn’t exactly welcome news to Brooke. On the way over she was grumbling and complaining about having to get a dress on and go to a boring meeting. During the opening song I noticed there were young girls mixed in with the women singing in the choir. Hoping to cheer Brooke up a bit I excitedly said, “Look! There are girls your age!”
Brooke (with mock enthusiasm): “Yeah. And look! There are grown-ups YOUR age.”
Brooke asked if we could just skip out and go get ice cream instead. After all, that would be way more fun.
I sensed a great opportunity for teaching a lesson and began a sermon. “Brooke, we are about to be nourished by the word of God. That’s far better than ice cream. Jesus taught that we can eat ice cream and if we eat ice cream, that’s it. We’ll still get hungry later, but if we ‘eat’ the words of God, we’ll never hunger again.”
After a moment of silence, surely allowing the Spirit to pierce her soul with the truthfulness of my words, she said eagerly, “So, you’re saying I only need to go to one meeting, I’ll hear what I need to hear, and then I will never have to go back to church again?”
Um. That is not at all what I was saying, but that was pretty sound logic, and I was rendered speechless.
Luckily she’s also starting to understand the beauty of a compromise. We made it through the meeting without further incident and then I finished off the evening chatting with my favorite almost-big-kid-eight-year-old…
…over a bowl of ice cream.