Today’s Five Minute Friday prompt is: Joy

Joy was the original name we had planned for a daughter. We both really felt like we were going to have a girl first. But my sister, whose middle name is Joy, really wanted to save the name for her own. So we switched it to a middle name. Althea was my great grandmother’s name and became our choice for our first born. We decided to call her Thea for short. Althea is Greek and means healer or wholesome. Thea means goddess, though I don’t tell her that. Approaching five she already things she is almighty and the center of the universe. Joy seems like a natural extension. I always felt like her name was a blessing I was speaking over her, that she would be a joyful child who brought healing to others. I imagined she might be a doctor or pray for others and they would be healed.

But then she grew up a little and she was no longer the sweet baby and precocious toddler. She became a preschooler with a mind of her own and a strong will. Each day begins with anger and whining before she even emerges from her room. I blame myself, perhaps I unintentionally let her believe that she really was the center of the universe for far too long. It was never on purpose, but almost three years of being an only child, only niece and only grandchild to adoring parents, aunt and uncle and grandparents has a way of doing that.

It’s hard not to feel bitter some times as my friends describe the wonderful bonding with their daughters and how much they enjoy each moment of their days with them. We do have our moments, but mostly each day is more a wrestling match than a dance.

Some days I have trouble seeing the joy, I only see the goddess, mighty and wrathful. But I try to remember that we called her healer and wholesome first. Somewhere, underneath the whining and the screaming, the immoveable will and grandiose demands and threats, I know that the joy is there. The hardest part about parenting is trying to bring out the best in your child.

Today, I chose to pursue my Joy. I can’t make promises about tomorrow, next week or five years from now. Such grand goals of idealistic parenting don’t last long around here. But for this day, in this phase, I choose to see her has friend rather than foe; to love her for who I know she is inside, rather than what she behaves like. Honoring the strength of her will, even as I must bend and turn it in healthy directions. She is wholesome, she is joyful. She is my daughter.


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