Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Through Isabelle's eyes

For Christmas, Isabelle got a new camera. She's only six, so this was a pretty "big girl" present. But her grandmother and I knew (based on past history with her dolls) that she would care for it with the responsibility required. This past weekend she used the camera to document a conference we attended in Louisville. Both her daddy and aunt Molly spoke at the conference. I was glad she was there to capture the event.

More interesting to me, though, was flipping through the photos on her pink digital "vivicam" - viewing what she chose to capture. (Yes, the ones of me on the phone were a bit eye opening). It made me thankful that she was being exposed to Christian adults - who treasured both her and their faith. But mostly it made me keenly aware that she was real - a little person observing, listening, and absorbing the life around her.

I remember worrying so much about the type of foods I was eating when I was nursing Isabelle. I wanted so desperately to give her the highest quality of nutrition possible. How much more important are my words, my responses, my attitude towards her - and to her dad. Yikes.

During her speech, Molly passed out a copy of a prayer. It's called simply, "Parents Prayer" and it made me cry when I read it. It made me realize how many times I have confused impatience and irritation with discipline.

"Oh Heavenly Father, make me a better parent," the prayer begins. "Teach me to understand my children, to listen patiently to what they have to say, and to answer all their questions kindly. Keep me from interrupting them or contradicting them. Make me as courteous to them as I would have them be to me...Reduce, I pray, the meanness in me. And when I'm out of sorts, help me, O Lord, to hold my tongue. May I ever be mindful that my children are children and I should not expect from them the judgment of adults..."

Oh my precious little Isabelle, forgive me! I hope that as I parent you, I can learn to look a bit more though your eyes - instead of always pushing my own mom agenda. Oh - and thank you for giving me permission to use your photos on my blog! You're one amazing little girl.


Beth said...

She is an amazing little person. It is such an honor to be her godmother. I have been thinking of her so much lately, who she is, who she will become and my role in all of that. You are a beautiful, wonderful mother. Thank you for providing this post and the prayer. Need to copy that one out. Miss you. Love to you.

paige maddex said...

Thank you, dear Beth. I've been quite hard on her lately - that prayer has really opened my eyes. I'll try to get you a copy of the full thing. It's really beautiful.
We really miss you guys! Love to you, too and your sweet boys (Jared included :)

Molly Sabourin said...

Awww, I love seeing the world through her perceptive little eyes! Those photos are really special. Beautiful post, Paige. You are an exceptional mother.

bethanhubby said...

h Paige this post not only makes me cry because I miss your family so much, but also because it reminds me of what a gift Isabelle was to our family when she was born. And now, being six, she has become the special little girl that we need. Her perception has always and will always be very insightful and inevitably special. I miss her.

paige maddex said...

Thank you sweet Bethany. She misses you, too! Good luck today - I love you so much!

Kris Livovich said...

Paige, this post is much needed right now. Would you mind sending me that prayer?

You have been an inspiration to me in the kind and respectful and loving way you treat your children (at least in front of me!) ;)
So thank you for a beautiful post and some lovely pictures.

Keep up the good work, Isabelle.

*Also, I do want to garden, I have just been a bit scattered lately. My mom is around and we are so busy having fun I can hardly breathe.

paige maddex said...

Thank you, Kris. I've been feeling like a nasty, petty mom lately - so your comments mean a lot.

We'll talk about gardening later - goodness knows we have time (i think it was 7 degrees this am).

Anyway, tell your mother "hello" and remember to take advantage and take a little time for yourself!

Miss you lately. Talk to you soon!

Julia said...

Thanks for writing about this, Paige. I love the way you compare the nutrition in nursing to words and attitudes. Having a nursing, non-verbal baby was so much simpler for me than having a verbal, feisty preschooler. I felt like a much better mother then than I do now and it was so much more clear what was required. The line between irritation and discipline is constantly hard to maintain. I fail at it all the time. I guess this is why God makes these firstborn kids so tough--they bear the brunt of all our parental trials and errors. I am glad that we can ask even our children for forgiveness and find a fresh start.
I love that Isabelle took these pictures too.