Since the end of last year (probably due to all the changes in our family-- moving, new baby coming, etc), my big girl began to struggle in a way she never had before... when I dropped her off at preschool there were tears and fear and not-wanting-mommy-to-leave.
Her loving teachers would guide her into the room, and I would leave-- with her crying, a ripping-off-of-the-bandaid if you will, not wanting to linger and drag it out. Because I knew within minutes of me leaving she would be fine.
This became a problem at Sunday School, too, which was again, something we had never seen from Gigi in her four years of church-going. But there she received love and redirection as well, and most days she ended up staying and having a fun time with her friends.
Today, we came full circle.
When I picked her up, her teacher was eager to speak with me. I feared that this meant she hadn't had a good day (nothing like expecting the worst, huh?). But it turned out her teacher wanted to tell me about the amazing day she'd had.
A new preschool friend, Finn, was having a sad day, missing his mom. Gigi, the old pro, was extra sweet to him, reassuring him throughout the day and showing him the love he needed.
Finn, don't be sad, the mommies will be here after nap. Do you want to come sit by me?
It was her "share day" which means in addition to bringing snack, Gigi also got to bring something to share with her class. She chose the princess book/map set that her cousin Riley's family gave her. She was extra teacher-like as her friends sat in the circle waiting to get to see her special toy. She offered them all a "princess" figurine to put on the map. And when Finn said he didn't like princesses, she pressed on.
That's okay, you can have an animal! Come closer to the map with me, Finn.
Her teacher's heart was warmed, knowing how Gigi had struggled herself somedays, and now seeing her pay forward the love she had received that helped her stick it out.
Before drop-off I always ask her if she can try to be a good friend, and today I got to see a glimpse of the fruit of that training. I told her how happy it made me that she was showing her friend the love of Jesus. And her heart seemed to swell at knowing that she had done just that.
Her daddy called to say hi, and she told him, I was a good friend. Finn was sad and I gave him love.
And in seeing the sweetness in my girl amidst many challenging hours and days of mothering... she gave me love, too.