Lillie is brown-haired and brown-eyed with fair skin. Mary Margaret has blonde hair, blue eyes, and tan skin. Mary Margaret hops out of bed early each morning, usually before her alarm goes off, and spends 30 minutes getting her perky ponytail just perfect. Lillie stays in bed until the last possible minute, crawls out of bed sleepy-eyed and in 30 seconds puts her hair into a cute, mussy ponytail. They are both beautiful.
Lillie breezes through her writing assignments. Mary Margaret is a natural at math. They both love to read and are diligent and studious.
Lillie helps with the ironing and laundry, keeps her drawers organized, and scrubs the bathrooms. Mary Margaret helps with the dusting, cleans the baseboards, and frequently asks if she can do “extra chores.” They both are learning to be keepers at home.
They like to help in the kitchen, like learning to sew, and love holding babies. They mother Jack Henry, help him get ready for bed at night, and read stories to him on the couch. They love to go to worship on Sunday and to Wednesday night church. They both are becoming godly young women.
They share a room, a closet, a bathroom, and a love for American Girl dolls.
But, they are sisters and they are sinners and they fight. (Though when I tell them to quit fighting, they say, “We’re not fighting!”)
It’s not uncommon for one of the girls to come to me in the morning and say, “Mom, will you tell Lillie/Mary Margaret to stop [fill in the blank with the irritating behavior du jour]. I hear them bickering over clothes and whose turn it is to clean the bathroom. I hear Lillie tell Mary Margaret to pick her jammies up off the floor and I hear Mary Margaret tell her to quit being so bossy. And I go in and say something stupid like, “Can’t you two just get along?" or "Can’t we have one morning when I’m not listening to bickering?” And then sometimes I go into a little speech about being each other’s best friend, esteeming others higher than yourself, and being a servant.
Brandy often reminds me that sometimes my expectations are too high. He reminds me that the kids aren’t perfect and helps me to see the fruit that is evident in their lives.
Yes, the girls bicker and they each want their own way. But, they are growing in sancitfication, learning to be servants, and most of the time they don’t bicker.
At night when I go in to check on them one last time, I’ll stand outside the door and peek in. Lillie is hanging down off her top bunk and they are whispering about plans they have. They spend hours together practicing ballet and are making up their own version of The Nutcracker. They disappear into their room to dress and fix the hair of their American Girl dolls. They set up a “spa” in their bathroom and they do each other's hair and nails. They have lemonade stands together and ride their scooters around the cul-de-sac together. Lillie fixes Mary Margaret’s bun before ballet and helps her with her piano lesson. When they play ballet class or school together, Mary Margaret lets Lillie be the teacher.
One day they will share secrets, heartaches, and joys with each other that I may never know about. They will also share clothes, shoes, purses, and jewelry. They will help each other plan their weddings and their kids will play together. They will talk on the phone and compare birth stories. During the holidays they will come home with their husbands and children and help me in the kitchen. They will be the first one each other calls to share a trial or a joy. They will remind each other of God’s faithfulness and rejoice in His goodness. They will cry if one has to move far away and remember the days when they shared a room and bunk beds and laugh about the silly fights they used to have.
Yes, they will continue to fuss and bicker. And I will continue to train them to be servants and pray for God's grace in raising godly women. God will continue to sanctify them and they will continue to grow in this sanctification.
I will remember that they aren’t perfect and God will help me not to always be focused on the negative but to rejoice in the fruit He is producing in their lives.
I thank God for my daughters. They are sisters and they are best friends.