Monday, June 04, 2012

Those Random Spiritual Gifts

You know which ones I'm talking about. Or that moment when you're like "That's my spiritual gift?!" Let me just say, God definitely does have a sense of humor.

If you told me a year or a year and a half ago that I had a spiritual gift for children I would've laughed at you. A lot. Because honestly, I couldn't see it. I'm still not sure I can. Maybe it's not exactly a spiritual gift, but it's something.

The reason I laugh about it is because children hate strongly dislike me. The feeling is sometimes mutual. I've never been one of those young women who children just flock to. Let me tell you, those are the women with the true spiritual gift for children. The ones who are just born to be motherly and have like six kids. The ones who know exactly what a child needs the minute it opens its mouth to cry. You know what I mean. There's at least one in every congregation. So if you know me, you know it's not me. Children and I avoid share an aloofness of each other. This partly stems from several experiences during my teenage years when I tried to be one of those girls who played with kids. It went something like this:

Me: Hey! Come give me a hug!
Kid: NO! *runs screaming in the other direction*

So I decided it was best for all involved if I just stopped trying. In addition, because I do not seem to possess this innate automatic sense of motherliness that so many women my age instinctively have, children terrify me cause me anxiety. The words "Will you hold the baby?" or "Will you watch him for a second?" strike fear into the depths of my heart. Because I just know I'm going to do something terrible to little Johnny or Susie somehow in the five minutes that mommy is gone. Okay, so I haven't dropped anyone on their head yet, but it's still an anxiety.

This is the relationship children and I have: They do not know I exist and I tend to watch them from afar. It works pretty well. And back home that was all I needed. Yeah, I helped Mom in the nursery class but outside of that there were plenty of other girls ready and willing to step in and partake of the childcare. Then I came to Russia. Suddenly, here I am, the one with free time and I become a baby sitter. "Can you watch Varya while I'm at driving school?" "Will you hold Ilya while I put this food in the oven?" And suddenly it's like my superpowers manifest themselves. I must've had a radioactive pacifier as a kid or something...

Because here we have the girl who doesn't do kids suddenly doing kids. And it's really strange. A crying baby put into my arms will stop. Like it's uncanny. Once children who pay no attention to me realize I exist, I'm like the coolest thing ever. I actually don't understand it. Both Sasha and Zhenya tell me that their children love "Totya Abigail" and after playing with Joel and Yana's kids during the marriage group after church yesterday I think I've become their daughter's new best friend.

I guess what puzzles me the most about this curse gift is that I don't understand why it happens. It's not like the more time I spend with kids the less anxiety they give me. I mean, it gets easier and I'm more comfortable once I get to know a kid or baby, but then every time I have to interact with kids who I've never interacted with before, the anxiety starts up all over again. It's almost like being back in school. "I don't know how to act. What if they don't like me? What if I can't connect with them? What if I do a terrible job?" I mean, I understand that kids are pretty flexible but still, it all comes out.

I'm still trying to get used to this gift, or whatever it is. Honestly, I'm not sure what exactly I'm supposed to do with it. I thought about getting myself some tights, a cape and a utility belt filled with bottles and pacifiers, but I'm not sure how well that would go over in reality...

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