Joanna's closet overflows with cute clothes. Frilly dresses, skinny jeans, corduroy jumpers.
But there's one item in particular that's especially fitting for our daughter - a pretty pink floral t-shirt with 3 words sprawled across the front: "Daddy's Happy Girl."
And the shirt couldn't be more true. She may be the happiest "daddy's girl" to ever walk the planet.
On the one hand, I love the fact that she loves her daddy.
I love that the first words she whispers when she wakes up are "Daddy downstairs?"
I smile knowing that her daddy's kisses can heal all wounds, right all wrongs, and fix all things.
I cherish her childlike prayers, asking Jesus to help "Daddy with the big kids."
And my heart brims with joy, knowing that when she's sick, sad, or in need of comfort, she finds rest in peace within the arms of her father.
I long for my little girl to know that her Daddy loves her, and that her Heavenly Father cherishes her even more!
But on the other hand, I resent it.
I feed. I change. I dress. I bathe. I play. I teach. I train. I instruct. I pray. And I feel utterly replaced and unappreciated when MY care of Joanna goes unnoticed, when my daily, and difficult, investments are quickly overshadowed by her "daddy love."
What I WANT is to be the fun one. The one she runs to at playtime, asks for at bedtime. What I LONG FOR is her joyful smile and appreciative giggles when I meet her basic needs. I want Joanna to look at her mommy, and without a doubt, think she's the coolest woman in the world. Maybe even cooler than her daddy.
I WANT to be appreciated. And so I struggle when, after meeting all of her needs, she longs for someone else.
A dear friend encouraged me recently with Proverbs 31 - that the children of the faithful woman will rise up and call their mother "blessed!" They will publicly praise her, thank her, appreciate her.
But her children don't rise up immediately. They do not publicly praise her right away. It is only after days, weeks, years, of faithful daily, sacrificial investment, that they look back and begin to see her faithfulness to care for them, train them, nurture them...sometimes even at the expense of "fun."
Mothers -- you are sowing seeds in the hearts of their children. You may not be the "fun one" now, because caring for your children may sometimes, often, mean that you do things they do not like. Things that don't make you very "fun." Things that may not make them "mommy's happy girl."
But the Bible says that your faithfulness in the little things will reap a harvest in the long term. And even your kids will one day see it.