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.