Recently my mom shared with me a cute little story about one of my young nieces. The story goes:
The family was enjoying a day of swimming and fun in their pool with both sets of grandparents. Dinnertime came with the hopes of getting back in the pool afterward. However, dinner was longer than expected, it was getting late, and the kids were getting tired, so my brother put the cover on the pool and closed up the pool area. When my niece questioned him about it, he explained that it was late and everyone was tired, so they weren’t getting back in the pool tonight. Adding that it was almost time to get a bath and get ready for bedtime.
She said: “So you lied to me?” He said: “No, I didn’t lie – things happened and I had to change my mind about getting back in the pool.” Needless to say, she was disappointed. And began: “But daaaa-deee, I don’t want to get a bath. I want to get in the pool.”
Daaaaa-deeeee listened but stuck to his decision. This went on for a while. “But I don’t want to get a bath. I want to get in the pool.”
Then my brother sat down on the porch swing and she climbed up on his lap and snuggled up. He swung with her for quite awhile on his lap, trying to give her time to wind down. The whining melted into a calm and loving moment.
The little one was nearly nodding off when she whispered: “Daaaa-deeee?”
“But I don’t want to get a bath. I want to go in the pool.”
My mom laughed as she told me this story – so adorable and so real. I believe mom delighted seeing her own son parent with such love and patience.
But the story affected me differently. I kept replaying this interplay between father and daughter again and again. Hearing about how my niece relates to her earthly father teaches me so many things about how to relate to my Heavenly Father!
Firstly she was not afraid to ask the hard question: “Did you lie to me?” She listened to his response. However, that did not immediately change her desire. And so she told him: “I don’t want to get a bath. I want to get in the pool” Then she climbed up on his lap. She let him love her. She never distanced herself from him, even though her will was not being done. She remained with him…in her disappointment, in her frustration, in her childish woes, and in her desire. She was not afraid to fall asleep in his strong arms. Nor was she afraid to express her heart to him.
She never left her father. And he never left her.