…But I can’t remember when.
Today we’re going to talk about Pace. My first-born, my right-hand lady, my truth-seeker, my tender-heart. At her current stage, she can be hard to spend long periods of time with. It’s not that we don’t get along, and it’s not that I don’t firmly believe we have a beautiful lifetime friendship spreading out before us. It’s that right now she is burdened by questions…and I get to field 95% of them. They aren’t just questions that leave me wishing I’d saved my eighth grade science book (although there are plenty of those); they’re questions about intricate heart matters–that I often cannot answer (Like, “When is God going to give me a perfect body and take me up in the sky?” Guess they’re studying Revelation in Sunday school??). She hates the, “I don’t know,” response and usually comes back at me with, “Ugghhh, Mom, we are just not understanding each other right now.” Well no, FIVE-YEAR-OLD, I guess we’re not. I guess you’re just talking right over my head. It’s humbling and maddening at the same time.
Because of this daily diatribe, I have vowed to answer any question I can truthfully and to the best of my ability (As long as I’m not having a “Mommy cannot take ANY MORE questions right now. No, don’t even ask if you can have more milk. That’s a question.” I hit that wall at least once a day; let’s keep it real.). So recently, Pace has started asking me what different meats we eat are made of. Like the ham sandwich I pack in her lunch every day–“Mom, what’s ham made out of?” “Pig.” Yes! That was an easy one. “Mom, is an egg really a baby chicken?” I’m gonna tell you that answer got a bit more complicated–trying to be truthful (it is an egg and not a baby, right?) without launching into the birds and the bees at five.
Anywho, this had been going on for a couple of days when I went to pick her up from school and her teacher pulled me to the side and said, “I thought you should know that Pace is refusing to eat her sandwiches any more because they are made of pig.” “What??!!!” My first thought was, “Dadgum Seattlites and their diets! What kid is turning my child into a vegetarian?” After questioning her, however, I discovered that the only dadgum Seattlite turning Pace into a vegetarian is…me.
She very innocently and tearfully explained to me that she did not know anyone else who didn’t eat meat, but she never wanted to eat it again. She said that she loves all animals and can’t bear the thought of eating one ever again. When told to eat her dinner that her mother made her, she had a gag reflex trying take down her baked chicken and apologized to me for not being able to eat it. When I explained that God gave us animals so that we could eat them–that eating meat is what makes her strong, she asked if God wanted people to eat Locks too.
Out of nowhere, my deer hunting, meat-loving, “It’s not dinner if there’s not meat on my plate” family had created a true convicted vegetarian–who has never even heard that word spoken. I’m sure stranger things have happened…but I can’t remember when.
What Jeremiah and I have come to, I think, is that she is not old enough to make a decision like that for herself. However, the fact that she is so sweet-spirited and apologetic about the whole mess makes us want to work with her when we can. I’ve started making hummus roll-ups for her lunches instead of ham sandwiches, and if she wants the black bean and corn quesadilla at the Mexican restaurant instead of chicken, it’s ok. When we have dinner at home as a family, she has to eat some of everything I cook–just like always.
How about I leave you with one last strange happening with Pace? Jeremiah and I came home from a date last weekend and our babysitter said, “I don’t know if this will be an issue, but I just thought you should know… I was putting the girls to bed and Pace got really upset when I would not say prayers with her. I tried to explain that different people have different bedtime rituals, and I brush my teeth–just like her–but I don’t say prayers. She then said, ‘You mean you don’t know JESUS?!'”
Try fielding that one from a career nanny with good references that you hired….Aggghhh!
[These pictures are of the girls riding the new bicycles they got for their birthdays. They saved up chore and birthday money and bought them with their own little stash (Thank you family for the money gifts!). It was a sweet day and Pace still goes in the garage on the days she can’t ride “just to look at it for a little while.”]