Monday, June 8, 2015

Maggie with an e

Yesterday we spent three hours in the car, driving to a lacrosse game, then to a birthday party, then back home.  I searched for some free audio books on my phone, and stumbled across the Anne of Green Gables series, and asked Phil if he had read it as a child.  He knew the story but couldn't quite remember if it was through the books or movies, so we decided to play it in the car for the kids.  As soon as it started, John-Paul said "Oh!  I've read this book before.  It's good!" and the rest of the kids settled in to listen.  I didn't realize that even the three year-old was paying attention until we came to a point where Anne yells "I hate you!" and Xander made this big gasping sound, followed by "She said a baaaaad word!"


When I read these books growing up, I fell in love with Anne.  Who could help it?  But hearing the story again as an adult, I am really falling in love with the relationship between Matthew and Marilla.  Matthew especially steals my heart in his quiet way.  He wants Marilla to let Anne stay with them, but doesn't want to battle it out.  He quietly lets known his desires and then lets Marilla play catch up.  Marilla, being the mother hen to her brother, sees what he wants as foolish, but knows that he wants so little in life, forms such few opinions, that she better take this one seriously.  The love between these siblings is a perfect reminder of married love.  Giving of one another for the sake of the other's good.


Last night, Phil took Maggie to the Father Daughter dance at her school, and we made a big fuss of it.  I let her wear lip gloss and perfume, he bought her flowers, and she couldn't have been any happier.  Before they left, I was reminding Phil to make sure to ask her to dance, pay attention to her, treat her like a princess, cluck, cluck, cluck.  I shan't have worried.  She came back saying it was so wonderful, that Daddy danced with her whenever she wanted - fast and slow songs! - that it was so much fun.  She made him a thank you card after the dance.


There are times in parenting these kids that I am too much like Marilla.  Too much clucking in my mother hen role, too little enjoying the moments as they come, as Matthew does.  I'm especially hard on Maggie, I think.  Having only one girl in the house makes Maggie's life difficult sometimes.  She doesn't always fit in with her brothers, and they aren't always the nicest to her.  She loves attention from them, and will do anything to get it, even if it means annoying them or making them mad.  We always thought that if she had a sister, she would be so much easier!  I often try to mold Maggie into an easier child, a quieter child, a less emotionally-needy child, for the sake of household peace.


But when I can get Maggie all alone for some one-on-one time, I can see her true beautiful personality shine.  She's a joy to be around, helpful and polite.  She's friendly and compassionate and engaging.  She's funny and sincere and truly a delight!  She's a lot like Anne with an E, in fact.

Last night, I could see just how much she adores her Dad and he adores his only principessa, and I am reminded that we just need to love her, to love each of our babies exactly as they are.  To parent from a place of yes instead of no.  To celebrate their uniqueness in a house full of personalities, and to teach them by quiet example.


...retorted Marilla, "but I'll make it my business to see she's trained to be that. And mind, Matthew, you're not to go interfering with my methods. Perhaps an old maid doesn't know much about bringing up a child, but I guess she knows more than an old bachelor. So you just leave me to manage her. When I fail it'll be time enough to put your oar in."


"There, there, Marilla, you can have your own way," said Matthew reassuringly. "Only be as good and kind to her as you can without spoiling her. I kind of think she's one of the sort you can do anything with if you only get her to love you."




11 comments:

  1. This had me in tears! So so sweet and true. And Maggie is just an adorable little girl - I bet you will cherish these pictures for a long time. We just found out our fourth is another boy, so we will have three boys and one girl. My husband's first comment was that he was glad our little Katherine would still be the lone princess. Ha. That's one way to look at it :)

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  2. This is a very sweet post. =)

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  3. Um. I think there is something in my eye. :) Maggie is a lucky girl. What a sweetie.

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  4. So sweet! And I have the same issue sometimes trying to mold (um, totally change) my children in to what I want them to be instead of what they are called to be.

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  5. First, the photos...be.still.my.heart. So precious. The smiles and love in those moments jumps out of the photos.

    This post, I get it. While I'm in the opposite gender camp, I could identify with some of the same with Jonah. And then I have a day like I did with JUST him on Saturday. It wasn't anything extraordinary, but it was a 4H photography class that we attended just the two of us. Several hours away, me just watching him and encouraging him, no interruptions of little sisters, time to talk, time to love him just as he is. Because, yes, sometimes (a lot) I cluck and nag and crab. They all deserve to be loved for their unique selves and additions to our family.
    Thank you for sharing this gem of a post that hit home. Give Miss Maggie a hug from me and tell her she looked beautiful for her special date with daddy.

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  6. Tears. And good reminders about having a girl in a house full of boy!

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  7. I love Anne. And I love this so so much. A great and gentle reminder that I need to parent for who they are--not who I want them to be. I love that there was a Daddy Daughter Dance! I am really hoping there's something like that for our kids. My brother's all boy Catholic University has a Mom Prom for graduating seniors and I think that is just the best idea ever.

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  8. I love Anne-with-an-e, and as the only girl in a house full of boys, I can totally relate to Maggie. My dad was a little busy when I was a kid, but these days I really treasure our relationship. Love you, Maggie!

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  9. Oh, I love it! Maggie's beaming face is so sweet. I'm glad she had a good time with her daddy! My girls got to go to their first father-daughter dance a couple of months ago and still are talking about it! :)

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  10. So many things I love about this post! Miss Maggie looks so grown up! I love that she gets to spend time with her daddy. My girly girls are starting to love Anne as much as I do. And I, too, was surprised that ALL of them were listening to the story. It captures everyone's heart <3

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  11. LOVE Anne of Green Gables. My sister and I devoured those books as girls, and I recently started reading the series again. Such a great post! I also have only one girl with a house of boys.

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