Friday, February 28, 2014 (Alex 8, Ana 4)

Dear Ana,

You are 3/4 sweet little girl and 1/4 junkyard dog.  When you were a year old, I watched Alex make the mistake of snatching a toy from you and turning his back.  You barreled toward him, tackling him to the ground.  You finished by chomping his leg.  (Thankfully, the biting part only happened when you were actively teething).

It’s hard to know how to handle it at times because your attacks are always provoked and your targets are older and bigger than you.  Last year when one of Alex’s soccer teammates was injured by an opposing player, Dad proudly restrained you from running onto the field and charging the offender.

Recently while watching the animated movie Turbo together, you leaned across me.  “MOVE, Mommy!”

“What?”  I asked.

“I’m going to spit on him!” you said hissing at a character who was being cruel to the protagonist, Turbo.

So it really shouldn’t have surprised me when you announced that you wanted to kill two older girls who had teased, pushed and shoved you throughout a make-up gymnastics class you attended a few weeks ago.

“It’s wrong to kill people,” I told you.

You looked at me puzzled.  “But they are really mean, Mommy.  They are bad guys.”

“But that doesn’t make it okay for us to kill them.  Killing is bad.

“Well let’s at least put them in jail,” you said.

I tried to explain that even jail isn’t an option for garden-variety mean girl behavior, but you didn’t look convinced.

A week later, you stopped me during your bedtime prayer.  “Can we ask God and his angels NOT to watch out for the mean girls from gymnastics?”

“No, honey.  We can’t,” I said.

“Why?” you asked.

“Because God loves them just the same.”

You didn’t like that idea AT ALL.  But last night you stopped Dad during your prayer.  “Can you ask God to bless the girls from my make-up class?”

“Who?” Dad asked.

“I don’t know their names but you can just say, ‘Bless the mean girls from gymnastics.  One has blond hair.  One has brown.’  God will know.”

And so Dad did.

I’m not sure who gave you the idea to bless these girls.  It surely wasn’t me.  I was fine with stopping at not killing or putting them in jail.  I only bless my enemies . . . NEVER.  When I think about people who have mistreated me, I’m usually content to dwell on their offenses.  So it was humbling to watch your hurt and anger soften and transform into something much greater and more powerful.  GRACE.

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