Today was a stellar moment as a mother-- My children were invited to a Frozen Birthday party! So cute... and I clearly forgot to read the fine print... You know those times when you grab the invite, type the date and address into your phone, and put it on the fridge to be lost in the abyss of stick figure drawings, finger paintings, and and notes that can only be translated by 5 year old eyes.
Well, because I didn't pay closer attention to the details, my children showed up at a party 20 minutes away from our house without their princess dress. They were the only ones... I was so embarrassed and disappointed in myself. I didn't have time to run home and get them dresses. I just had to leave.
The reason I couldn't be an awesome though late mother-of-the-year, and return to save the day with princess dresses, was I had 8 young girls coming to my house for an activity. In my church, I work as a leader for activities for girls 8 to 11. Today as I was rushing home, stressing about my non-princess dress wearing girls, I knew I needed to prepare an object lesson for my activity. Through the help of Pinterest and a small adaptation, I stumbled upon the lesson of the orange.
I put an orange in a clear glass vase and it floated. We talked about the peel being a protection and a shield for the orange, and by extension, a protection and a shield for us. I took a second orange and begun peeling, using it as an example of how we can make ourselves vulnerable to the outside world by not being prepared spiritually. Each peel piece removed was shown as a hole in our spiritual armor. When placed in the water, the peeled orange sinks.
After the activity as I was cleaning up, I thought of my two dress-less girls. They were unprepared for their princess party, but I had sent them out into the world with a much more important covering; the peel of an orange. They both know they are children of God. We talk about it, pray about it, sing about it. They both are told loudly and often that they are smart, kind, and good. Before they leave to play, I try to remind them to be a good friend. I am teaching and will continue to teach them to not follow the crowd but to be themselves. I sometimes fear for them and how others will treat them, but I hope I am teaching them how to treat others. My favorite book is, "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" by Carol McCloud and we read it often. My kids will comment, "Mom, I filled their bucket," when they were kind to another person.
I want to raise strong, independent, faithful children who know their Savior. I want to raise children who are kind. They may not be dressed appropriately at all times... They may have an occasional messy ponytail, or an extra skirt over their clothes that clearly doesn't match, or sparkly church shoes at the park, or a dragon cape, but my hope is that they will be prepared. They will have their peel of an orange to help them float; to protect them from the world. They will be dressed with much more than a princess costume; they will be wear their armor, be protected, and they will float.
Sidenote: When I got my girls from the party, I asked how it was, and I apologized for forgetting to read the whole invitation. Blake, my 5 year old looked at me and said, "What are you talking about?" I, of course, was still picturing the traumatized girls crying in the corner because their mean mom forgot their dresses. When I explained about how the invitation said to wear princess dresses and we, well....didn't, she said, "Mom I didn't care. They had a piñata!"
Yep... That's my girl. We may not always be on time or dressed appropriately; but give us some candy and a baseball bat and we will be happy!