Retorting quickly in all sincerity, I said, "Oh, Betsy, you don't realize what you are asking. Three is for your protection. If you made me count all the way to ten, I just don't know what I might do!"
I didn't explain it at the time, but my counting to three was a form of prayer. Years earlier I had learned that, in parenting, I would need to be extra diligent neither to pattern behaviors of reacting to misdeeds in anger - something that I had witnessed in my youth, - nor to over-compensate for these experiences by permitting errors to go uncorrected. So, I started counting to three to remind me of who and what was in control. Here was my prayer:
God, Love, is in control of me. (ONE)
God, Love, is in control of her. (TWO)
God, Love, is in control of the situation. (THREE)
Pretty simple. But also quite effective.
I never faced a challenge to the three-count prayer, until that day when she was ten. To accept her deal and extend the count would have involved accepting that I could pray and see no immediate evidence of Love's control. That was unacceptable. So we stayed at three.
I think she figured out that, for her sake, this was a good thing. I know it was for mine.
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