I bought Raviolis because I was tired and it seemed easy. All kids love Raviolis, right?
Apparently, not mine.
The three-year old flat out refused.
I got mad when she wouldn’t try a real bite. I told her, “you are going to eat this bite or you’re not eating!”
She cried, and took the bite. Then she said she didn’t like it, and I told her she could have bread.
Then I gave in and made her something else. And she got strawberry milk.
I asked the other two if they liked their lunch. They were all, “yes mama, I like it.”
I realized I probably scared them out of not liking it when I spoke so harshly to their sister.
“It’s okay if you don’t like it, just tell me and I won’t buy it again.”
My son says, “well, I don’t like it.”
My other daughter, the oldest says, “I love it. I just love it!”
So I’m in the kitchen and I’m fixing my own lunch and I hear crying. I look over to the table and my sweet Ella, the one who “loves” the Raviolis, has her head down and she can’t stop the tears.
“What’s wrong, honey?”
“I want to like the food because you bought it and it makes you happy if I like it.“
“Ella, I am so sorry. You don’t have to like it, you can’t help what you like and don’t like. And you are not responsible for making me happy – look at me – it is not your job to make me happy. Will you forgive me for putting you in a place that made you feel like you had to make me happy? I shouldn’t have been harsh with your sister. I want you to be who God made you to be, and it’s okay to not like things I like. You be you! Do you understand? You make me happy just because you’re mine.”
Her lips go from quivering to smiling.
“I give you permission to not make me happy. You are free to like or not like what you want. I love you all the same.”
The smile expands.
I pour her some cereal, and the day goes on.
And now I understand how the Father loves so well.
I don’t have to please Him, I already do, just because I’m His.