Parenting is hard stuff, y'all.
I've just come off of several VERY difficult days of it, and if this is what the younger years are like, I may never make it to the teen ones.
Hope you will allow me a little time to vent without thinking I am a crazy person...
One child I'm trying everything in God's green earth to keep healthy.
And the other one seems to be currently raging against me at every turn.
Her poor behavior is now becoming the spectacle for others to watch, which isn't faring so well for the I-want-to-look-good-in-public-idolatry in my own heart.
"You NEVER buy me ANYTHING! You NEVER want to get me ANYTHING!" she says sharply as we walk through the store looking for a specific item. Okay, can I just say I HATE this consumer culture and entitlement, but that's another rant for another day...
This all comes towards the end of a long, emotionally grueling back-and-forth kind of day with her, you understand. I'm already "done" in my head, and the bedtime countdown has long been ticking.
"You know," I reply, at the point where I'm hearing myself speaking OVERLY low and calm, so as not to completely lose it(!) in the middle of the store, "I don't think I really want to take you in a store anymore because all I ever hear is 'You never buy me anything!'"
Alright, granted, probably not the best response, I'll agree. But this makes her TERRIBLY upset with me, of course, so as we're walking out of the store, she digs into her Arsenal of Vengeance to pick and choose which method of retaliation she shall use. And this time, it's furious stomping with arms angrily crossed across her chest. She begins rapidly walking out ahead of me INTO THE STREET!!!, even after ignoring her mama's directive to stop.
Oh no, she did NOT just do that.
Seriously- I didn't know parenthood included such a struggle with anger towards the little ones I love the very most! I mean, I waited YEARS for children, longing for this day, right? Why can't I just keep it together without raising my voice!!?? How does she know exactly which button to push?!?
Well, upon her walking into the street, immediately I chase after her, gripping any appendage on her little independent body that I can hold firmly to get her safely across the street.
And... as you probably guessed... cue meltdown and screaming here.
Cue people looking at the poor, bald girl who might only have weeks to live, and look how awful her mother is treating her...
I'm comforted knowing I'm not the only one in this.
As I'm trying oh so hard to be an amazing parent to two kids,
perhaps the Lord is lovingly breaking me of my own self-righteousness.
I'm trying to be a good mom. Really!
But I'm failing.
I want more for her than giving her whatever she wants. I know I'm right in this pursuit.
I want to have a close relationship with my daughter at the end of this parenting journey.
But I hate the patterns she and I are setting,
and I know that ultimately, change has got to begin with me.
I can't help but remember the MANY, MANY times I brought my own mother to exasperation, (I'm so sorry, Mom!) and how though it hurt me to see her upset, I still continued in my sin patterns. I remember I felt so out of control, so unable to do anything BUT act that way.
I see Caroline wrestling with that same internal struggle, too.
We are both SO similar in personality, it's crazy scary.
(We didn't even need genetics.)
We're both so alike, and so broken in our sinfulness.
She tells me I "hurt her feelings every day." She wonders if I want to give her things she wants. She says no one wants to play with her. She asks for her Daddy to comfort her.
Ugh. Can you say painful??
She has NO idea how much her Mama loves her,
no matter how many nice things I buy
or how often I tickle and snuggle with her
or how many times we play tea party on the floor.
The Gospel is that she and I both need Jesus.
Like, every day. All the time.
As I sit in my feelings of motherhood failure this week, I can't help but feel the depths of Grace all that more acutely. (Lest I begin to think I was doing a pretty good job on my own...)
Grace that covers over my sin and my guilt.
Grace that says I am forgiven.
Grace that gives me, of all people, a seat at the banquet table.
And it's from that Grace,
that I must go from here
and love her with.