This is Madeline.My spunky, smart, funny and wonderful 9-year-old daughter.
Well, the truth is, she's really my step-daughter....and I have to say that because it's part of the reason I write this post.
When Madeline started school, both of her parents were living in the same city. But then her mom re-married and moved to another city about 30 miles away. As you can imagine, this caused a situation where there was a dispute as to where Madeline would go to school the following year. James and I wanted Maddie to stay where she had already become established. Her mom wanted Maddie to go to school in the new city that she had moved to. So James, the judge, and Maddie's mom agreed on a school sorta mid-way between, but much closer to where her mom lived. At first, I was thinking this was going to be a lot of work, because Maddie is a 50/50 placement kid. But here's what I have come to realize; I LOVE my time in the car with Maddie. I don't always drive her, but the times that I do, I cherish. I have had the chance to share a lot of my own experiences with her, (because she is very inquisitive) and I've learned so much about her personality, her strengths and her way of processing information. She's an amazing kid!
I am able to hear her work through school issues, friends that sometimes do not-so-friendly things, I get to answers lots of questions for her about our faith, our family and so much more....I could go on and on. Lots of times we will get so enthralled in a conversation and get to laughing so hard, and she'll say, "how did we ever start talking about this?"
I have been listening to the Bible on audio since I'm in the car so much, and I'm hearing through Leviticus. I know, right? So a lot of times the narrator will begin a sentence with, "Then God said..." and his voice is real dramatic. As Maddie and I were listening to it one day in the car, each time there was a pause in the music, Maddie would say in this deep voice......."Then God SAAAAID.......!!" Cracks me up.
Maddie and Hannah have their share of spats, that's for sure. But they are also really close, and I hope they always will be.
When we vacationed out east a few months ago, the resort had activities each day. One of the days was a collaborative painting day. I had noticed when we checked in that there were really cool and unique paintings in the foyer. Turns out, these paintings are done by guests during this collaborative effort, and the good ones get put up all over the lobby and up and down the halls. This was tons of fun for me and the girls. We spent the better part of one of the mornings working on the painting. Here I am showing Maddie how to outline the groovy butterfly she painted by using a smaller brush and going very slowly.
Here the three of us are goofing around after our painting was hung up in the foyer.
The message here is just this; what I thought was going to be a real hardship has turned into a true blessing. I love my one-on-one time with Maddie. I wouldn't give it up for the world. I look forward to listening to her, talking with her, laughing, debating (yes...debating...she's a smart cookie) watching her read, nap, and sharing Swedish Fish. If her mom somehow decided to move back to our town, I confess I might be disappointed. It also reminds me how important TIME is with our kids. Time to listen, cry, understand, educate, express, instruct, explain, answer and hug. As we approached the school this morning, Maddie gave me a kiss, said "I love you!" and then gave me another kiss as she opened the car door.
I'm blessed to be her (step)-mom.