It has been awhile since I last posted. Probably because I have been consumed with enjoying my summer and soaking up every second of sunshine and quality time with my family—including my three-year-old daughter, Maycee Jo.

This girl keeps this mama on her toes and the wineries in business. I swear, I have never encountered a kid who is as lovable, funny, independent, fearless, and headstrong. She can make me want to pull my hair out then turn around and make me belly laugh at her quirkiness. She loves harder than any kid I’ve ever been around and wants so badly to do everything her sister does. She rarely takes no for an answer and repeats curse words like a sailor. She is the reason there is a saying that goes, “Quiet children are dangerous children.”

A quick rundown of the things I have said to this child in the last two hours:

  1. You CANNOT get water from the toilet for your tea party.
  2. Please just watch the movie and suck your toe and stop asking what is going to happen next every five seconds.
  3. I didn’t put you in timeout, why are you sitting in the timeout spot crying like I did?
  4. Stop hitting your sister in the face. She was just trying to hug you good night.
  5. Do not put toothpaste in your teapot. That is yucky.
  6. Do not drink water from Kourt’s (our Labrador Retriever) bowl.
  7. Quit feeding Kourt your chicken nuggets.

She is the child who yells, “Okay, Father” from the second to last row of the church when he asks a rhetorical question during his homily. This is right before she screams in frustration that she cannot go onto the altar to see her cousin, Jaden, who is serving Mass. I make sure to hold her in front of Father a little bit longer at Communion to be sure she soaks in all of his blessings (we all need Jesus, but she needs a double dose).

One of my friends recently shared an article about loving your strong-willed child and it hit home for me. It also made me want to write about my sweet girl.

In one of my absolute favorite Maycee Jo adventures, we attended big sister Aubrey’s Christmas program. Aubrey’s class had practiced and rehearsed beautiful Christmas songs to share with the packed cafeteria of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other proud onlookers. The rows were full with people and the people’s hands were full with video cameras, smart phone cameras, professional grade zooming cameras, and who knows what other kind of filming devices- anything to catch the memories on film. In my family, my sister videoed with her handheld camera, my other sister videoed with her cell phone from one angle, while my sis-in-law videoed with her cell phone from a different angle, and I snapped still shots with my high-quality Canon. We couldn’t possibly miss a single part of the show. Thank goodness because I want to be certain that Maycee Jo sees the night’s events from every angle when she gets older.

As Aubrey walked out on stage, Maycee shouted with glee at the sight of her sister. “HI AUBREY!” she screamed from the crowd; Aubrey gave a nervous wave about hip-high.

“Mommy, look it’s Aubrey!  Aubrey singin’! I wanna sing wit Aubrey!”

Distracted by capturing the perfect picture, I quickly brushed her off and without thinking said, “Ok, Maycee, sing away. You can sing with Aubrey. Now let Mommy take Sissy’s picture.”

About 17 quick clicks later, I pulled the lens down and glanced to my left to check on Maycee only to see an empty chair. Panicked, I asked my brother-in-law where she had gone. He simply pointed toward the stage and replied, “Up there.”

WHAT? Sure enough, I could see her white bow weaving through the crowd heading straight for the stage. I threw my camera down and began to chase after her. By the time I caught her, she already had one leg on the stage crawling up to “sing wit Aubrey” just like I had given her permission to do. I pulled her from the stage kicking and screaming, “I want to sing wit Aubrey, Mommy, NOOOOOO!”

And that was it, she cried REAL tears the rest of Aubrey’s performance because I had destroyed her chances at stardom.

Don’t feel too badly for her, I let her climb on stage after the program ended and sing her little heart out. She immediately looked up at the mic stand still holding the microphone and said, “I need that!” Then, she proceeded to sing “Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way! Oh my God, it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh. HEY!” on the stage. At the top of her lungs. At the Catholic school. Awesome.

For some reason, I see a lot of visits to the principal at the Catholic School in our future- a place I NEVER saw as a student there. Maybe we will just let Daddy handle those meetings.

Regardless of how many battles we have or principal visits we encounter, one thing is absolutely for certain–my life would be incomplete without my Maycee Jo, and I am so lucky I get to call her mine.