I thought it would be more glamorous, ruling my little kingdom. Perhaps because my mother made it look pretty effortless…or at least manageable. But the truth is, it’s not manageable on so many days. Every day I wake up, and I try and fail and go to sleep and do it again. I’ve read all of the books of course, but somehow the actual act of leading and managing is very different from the examples they give.
My people are very demanding. I erroneously presumed that my style of ruling, carefully honed and crafted, would be well received by all. I would lead with kindness, fairness, reason, and benevolence; I would be loved and adored; and my people would follow me to the ends of the earth. But I forgot about this little thing called free will, and my people are really into their free will and autonomy.
Sometimes I wonder if this is how God felt in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. “I created you,” I imagine God thinking. “I created this beautiful garden kingdom for you. I’ve given you all of the food you could ever want, incredible animals to name. Just do this one thing for me—avoid that tree and its fruit in the center of the kingdom? Can you do that for me?” Nope. They couldn’t. So perhaps I shouldn’t feel so bad. Human nature has been the same since Eden. My kingdom is no different.
Day after day, hour after hour, my people come to me with their various pleas and petitions. If I am not able to fulfill their requests immediately, they often become demands. The king is here too, of course, but somehow they seem to know that he is quite busy with matters of state and rarely go to him with their requests. Perhaps he is just better at saying no.
And so, here I am, managing the affairs of a kingdom (albeit a small one) and juggling the multitudinous demands of my people. Did I mention the average age of my people is 3, which doesn’t help the situation. They are also all male. That’s right. I am the only woman in the kingdom.
What is a queen to do?
I remind myself, almost constantly, that the average age of my people is increasing every day. That eventually they will learn more autonomy in the areas where they need autonomy and more compliance in the areas where they need compliance. Their prefrontal cortexes will form, their ability to reason will develop, and I will miss their sweet clingy snuggles, their fingerprints on the surface of everything, and their circular arguments (okay, maybe I won’t miss those).
Someday, these little guys will leave my kingdom and go create their own. So today, I will hold their hands and hearts and questions and tantrums in the giant soup that is mothering young children. I will take the sweet with the salty, the sour and the savory. I will enjoy this version of my kingdom because it will only be this way for an instant.
Lyndsey Amen Ribble lives in San Antonio with her husband and three sons (aged 5,4, and 1). She loves reading, writing, traveling, food (cooking it, eating it, taking pictures of it…), wine, hole in the wall anything, and forming community in unexpected places. She has a heart for bringing restoration to broken people and loving the unloved. She writes about all of these things and attempting to find balance at inlamensterms.com.