I Forgot You Were Four

I'm sorry.

I forgot you were four.

I rushed and pushed and let exasperated sighs slip and angry words bark.  I forgot that you're just figuring this stuff out and that so many things that are old to me are still brand new to you.

I forgot that you need time to process, to investigate, to explore, to decide.  I forgot that the tiny moment of patience by me can prevent an hour of frustration for all of us.  

I forgot I was the bigger person.  Not you.  I forgot that bigger doesn't have to mean more right, more stubborn, more uncompromising.  It can mean bigger in patience, in understanding, in compassion, in sacrifice.

I forgot that you didn't understand that word.  Instead I got frustrated that you didn't heed the instruction.  I forgot that you had no idea what it even meant.

I forgot that as blessed as you are by them, it's hard sometimes having older siblings who tell you what to do.  I forgot how frustrating it must be to be told you're wrong over and over and over again. I see why you push back so hard and why you feel you have to fight to claim your space.  I hate it but I understand why your defenses are up constantly.  It breaks my heart.  

I forgot that you needed time and hugs and books and someone to delight in you.  I forgot that those things couldn't happen on my schedule but had to be the fruit of time and attention and a mother's heart that's open to life.  Your life.  

I forgot that being younger is still not a concept you truly get.  So it must feel sometimes like everything is not fair.  There are things that you can't do and you don't understand why not.  I forget that I feel the same way sometimes, too.

I forgot that you don't have the ability to think before you act sometimes.  Or always remember what happened the last time you did that.  Or consider what others are feeling or thinking outside of yourself.  I forgot that you needed someone to help you learn that.  We'll work on it.

I forgot how much four year olds love to help and how much delight you take in working alongside your dad.  I forgot that you would soak up time spent in the garden and stirring the sauce along with me.  I forgot that you hadn't done those things before.  I forgot that even though it takes more time, it's your job to need those things.

I forgot that four year olds say the funniest things and can have the biggest hearts.  I forgot that one of your hugs can remedy a multitude of wrongs.  And mine for you, too.  Thank God.

I forgot that in the midst of the frustration and the fight of today lies the spirit that someday will slay dragons and fight for beauty and truth and goodness tomorrow.  I forgot that God gave you this fire, dangerous though it may be, as a gift to be used for the world.

I forgot to lead, to love, to model, to respect who God made you to be.

I'm so sorry.  

I forgot that you were doing exactly what you were supposed to be doing.  

Being four.


26 comments

  1. Well I needed this today with my newly minted four year old who's been driving me up a tree this week. Thank you for writing for my heart Mary.

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    1. I'm glad it could help <3 I'm right there with you!

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  2. Oh man, Mary, I needed that! Thank you so much. Sitting here bawling on my couch while tr said 4 year old doesn't nap but is tucked away in his room reading books so I can think...and read your post, and repent.

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    1. Sometimes a little bit of space is the best thing :) You're doing a great job and those kids are blessed to have you!

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    2. From the nap striking 4 yo land here too :-)

      Thanks for this post, Mary! You're such a dear person, lucky boys of yours for having such mum! ♥

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  3. Wow!!! I forget all these things daily! Thanks for reminding me that my little ones are still learning and desire to be seen.

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    1. Me too. But God's working on us day by day. I'm grateful for the reminders He gives us! <3

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  4. Thank you, Mary. Times a million. Got a grumpy little old man in the basement who needs to be snuggled up extra tonight.

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    1. (and by that I mean a 4 year old who acts like a grumpy old man. Not, um, an actual old man in my basement, in need of cuddling.)

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    2. Hahaha! Yes, if that were the case, we'd need to talk ;)

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  5. Mary
    So appreciate your post, you've made me stop and think I need to give my Master 5 a bit more attention. I do know being the youngest of 6 boys can be tough at time.
    btw have been enjoying your recent posts just haven't managed to stop and say 'thank you'. xx

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  6. This hit home with my own little 4 year old. Thank you for the beautiful reminder.

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    1. I'm so glad it could help. This motherhood thing sure is humbling sometimes and I definitely need these reminders often.

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  7. Thank you for the reminding me that our little ones are just that--little!

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    1. I forget so so often. Thankful for God's mercy and new days <3

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  8. This is something to print out and put up where I will see it more than once. This also holds true for my 10 yr old, my 9 yr. old, my 4 yr old and my 3 yr old. Especially with my oldest I too often assume she should know x or y and without delay!

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    1. Oh, yes. Thank you so much, Caroline. And for the reminder that it's definitely not limited to the toddler crowd!

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  9. Oh my word. This is beautiful written and very touching. This really hit home tbh as on a daily basis, I forgot all these things on a daily basis. Thank you for reminding me.

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    1. Thanks, Laura. I'm so glad it was helpful. I'm with you and forget it often, too <3

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  10. Thank you so much for this, Mary. My 4 year old boy is sandwiched between his two older siblings and twin two year olds and a baby. It's work for me every day to remember these things and act upon them. This was a great reminder, as well as encouragement that I'm not the only one who forgets and falls, and tries again.

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    1. Definitely not the only one! I just try to remember that He was the one who made me their mom so it's going to be Him that keeps making up for the ways that I lack.

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