Last week, our 4-year-old daughter started pre-school. She has always been extremely attached to mom and dad, which has made the transition to pre-school a little more difficult for her.
This morning, dropping her off, I was a mess. There will be no macho dad talk here, just real talk about how I cried like a baby, and it was one of the hardest conversations I have had with her to date. Likely more so for me, than her.
Our drive to school was about 25 minutes long, and it started out great. We began it by talking about ways she can cope with her sadness that may come while she is at school. She was ready. Then about 10 minutes in she started to get quiet. I watched her through the rearview mirror as she stared out the window not saying a word. I put on one of her favorite worship songs and we began to listen. I continued to watch her, and she looked defeated.
“Dad, it’s just I feel all alone at school because you’re not there.”
Gah, that hurts.
“Lucy, do you know what this song is about?”
“No, I just like it.”
It is at this moment that I began to share in more depth than I ever have to her, about God’s great love for her. How no matter what she does, feels, or thinks, He will love her. He has chosen to rescue us at our lowest. A point I was really hoping to hit; He is always with her.
It was at this moment that it hit me. The best way I could show her how much He loves her in that moment was to be completely vulnerable. My eyes welled up and the tears began to fall. Maybe she saw me cry, maybe not. Either way, I knew I was about to say the hardest thing I had ever said.
“Lucy, I love you so much. I need to tell you something though.”, I was completely choked up at this point. “There will always be someone who loves you more than me. I will never be able to love you as much as He does. Jesus will always love you more than I do. There will be times I can’t be there for you, but He is always there for you.”
She just looked at me like I was crazy, and probably thinking, “Why in the world would you ever tell a 4-year-old that someone will love her more than you do?”
She seemed to brush off the whole conversation by the time we got to school, which was still a challenging but not as bad drop off by the way.
But it really hit me hard. It was truth, but it was a truth that for so often I refused to give submit to. I had to say the words, to my daughter, in order to relinquish my control to Him. What else in my life has this same kind of control? What else do I brush under the rug and refuse to let go of? Too much. And it hinders not just my own growth, but of so many others as well.
It’s a journey, and it’s hard. But I am learning. Here’s to always coming in second place, and being absolutely OK with that.