I’m not ever going to figure out how to be nice to JuJu, Bella frustratingly admitted as we cozied up to read two of her favorite bedtime stories.
Thanks for sharing that with me. I said. Tell me more about that.
Well I was mean with the jump rope, she explained.
Did you hit her with it? I asked as I motioned like a cowboy about to lassie the bull.
No. I didn’t let her take a turn and then Miss Ashley had to talk with the both of us. I’ll never know how to be a good friend to her, Bella shared with discouragement in her voice.
No biggie, I responded. Sounds like you learned that JuJu likes to take turns. Sounds like you learned how to love JuJu better. Just sounds like you learned something. That’s pretty cool. Let me tell you a little secret, I invited Bella to sit closer to me. God is love. And each day we learn how to love, which means each day we get to learn about God.
Bella was a little preoccupied with The Little Engine that Could book she held in her hand. She wasn’t all too much interested in my best attempt at parenting a vulnerable moment. But I did my best. And I hope something stuck or I hope that over the years to come as we have more and more bedside conversations that something will stick. I hope that, in my own actions, I can show her the art of becoming. I hope that my daughter learns to see the world not through the shame of her mistakes but through the beautiful opportunity to learn how to love.
Bella was so focused on her first failed attempt at love to realize that each try is so full of potential. Each day we learn a little bit more about our friends, our families and our neighbors and it’s a gift that opens us up to giving and receiving – a flow that makes this world all worth it.
The big trains were too proud and too afraid they didn’t have it in them to give and exchange love. They shut the opportunity down. Their loss. They missed out having an entire book written about them.
It was a tiny blue engine, full of the belief that through effort and awareness, she could bring good things to the world. And she did. And everyone cheered. And everyone celebrated.
May my little Bella never shy away from a life curious about the mystery of love and the beautiful creative ways it reveals itself to us through the reality of relationships.
And may her tiny little voice always bellow out a resounding : I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.