Mine, Yours, Ours

Wednesday September 18, 2019

Mine, Yours, Ours

We’ve officially entered toddler land, where things nosedive from sweet to sour in about .5 seconds. This morning: a perfectly pleasant morning at our local park followed by a full-blown tantrum once we pulled into the driveway two minutes later. The cause? Will never know, haha. We’re also navigating the ever-present “mine!” - a cry for ownership, a claim on her newly discovered autonomy. I vacillate between wanting to affirm that yes, that bottle (toy, bracelet, hair tie, book, sticker) is hers, that her personhood is significant, and attempting to teach her a deeper truth: everything we have is meant to be shared. 

The funny thing is that as I gently explain these things - the joy of sharing, the purpose of our possessions - I feel like I’m hearing them anew, realizing it’s me that needs the reminder. 

When she grabs my spoon at dinner and earnestly asks, “mine??”, I respond that no, that’s mama’s, but mama would love to share. And as I say those words, I wonder if they’re true - do I love to share? In a season of little margin, I can feel myself clenching my fists a little tighter over my time, my resources, my energy. It takes daily reminding that the sustenance we have been given today is for today, that we will be replenished tomorrow, that the source of our provision is inexhaustible. 

When I’m tempted to offer less of myself and fewer of my things to the people around me, my 18-month-old and I are more alike than I’d like to admit. The cry in my heart is also, “mine!”, the desire for control and autonomy the same. When I fool myself into thinking that generosity is passing off things we no longer use or need, I’ve also believed the lie that I deserve to go first, to withhold what’s best for ourselves.

As Haley learns and experiences the joy of sharing, I am too. She becomes oblivious to her dwindling blueberries, distracted by the happiness on daddy’s face as she shoves fistfuls into his mouth. She realizes that the enjoyment of getting a new animal tattoo is only amplified by doing so with little friends. And I hope the same for me: that I would be more focused on the joy of community and the beauty of sacrifice than in building a life for myself, because together is infinitely better.

what’s mine is ours,