Two Tries

Like so many other adults in our modern world, I am currently married for the second time.

In spite of the pain that arose out of my first marriage, I was lucky to have two wonderful children out of the chaos. I also have a child with the wonderful man that is truly my soulmate. My oldest daughter, who is now 11, taught me a lesson about life and love several years back.

When she was in first grade, as Valentine's Day approached, she came into the kitchen pondering what makes people fall in love.

She started asking questions about how to find the perfect person and how you knew when it was right. I have to admit that I was more amused than anything, knowing these great philosophical musings were coming out of a tiny six-year-old body.

Finally, she made the statement that she didn't see how anyone could make up their minds on their own, so maybe she should ask "Daddy" (her stepfather) to help her pick the perfect mate. With a smile on my face and a hint of laughter in my voice, I explained to her that if she relied on Daddy to choose her husband, she would most likely stay single since no one would ever be good enough for his baby.

She sat silently for a few moments, and then she said, "Mommy, do you think YOU could help me choose when I'm old enough?" As I was struggling to frame a reply, she suddenly sat upright in her chair and stated, "Oh... never mind. I forgot. It took you two tries!"

Slightly mortified and very humbled, I saw the truth behind the humor. Yes, it had taken me "two tries," but I had grown as a person through my mistakes and had moved on to become a much happier soul. Instead of simply glossing over her jibe, we sat down, for the first time, and discussed how even adults can make wrong choices. As we talked, I felt better about the dissolution of my first marriage than I ever had, and I saw that my tiny philosopher was coming to grips with the idea that making wrong choices could actually be the beginning of better choices.

As she enters her preteen years (ugh!) we have already begun to butt heads over things that have never mattered before. But, just when I feel we will never come to terms, she will give me a sly smile and a hug, then whisper "Two tries."

And I am reminded that everyone needs the room to explore, fail, and grow. Thank God for the honest wisdom of a child.

[ Lynnette Johnson -- from 'Love Quotes' ]


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