Handle-With-Care: Instructions For the Parent of A Challenging Child

I get the shudders just thinking about it. Even still after all these years.

How at only 8 years old, she would sit on our neighbors' fence. Wait for their horses to come galloping by so she could make the jump. How she would ride bareback through their pasture and how the neighbors never even knew about it.

And neither did I.

Not until later when she confessed.

Oh, child of mine. What am I supposed to do with you?

Except she's no longer a child anymore.

She's all of 20 and quite grown up.

She's a lovely, caring person. A dreamer and a writer. Talented and smart.

But how could I have known all that back then?

Back when she was a screamer. A fighter. An unpredictable phenomenon.

I kid you not.

She was a challenge. What some might call "a handful." A high-maintenance child.

And she was mine.

She's the one who would fall off her chair in the middle of the room. Plop! Onto the floor. For no apparent reason. She's the one I’d say, "Focus, Savoury. Focus!" numerous times every day.

Her happy place was sitting deep in a mud puddle. I would look out in the backyard and feel that twinge of guilt. "You really should call her in," I'd say to myself. But I'll confess that I didn't want to. She was safe. And better yet, she was surprisingly content there.

And it gave me a break.

I used to ask God about her. Mostly wondering what He could possibly have been thinking to make me her mom? And ask Him why she didn't come with set of instructions? A guidebook of some kind?

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