This season.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

At 8pm every night when Liam has just been tucked into bed with his 3 favorite toy dinosaurs, I have the same conversation with Shawn: "How am I this exhausted? I'm pretty sure I wasn't this tired when we had a newborn." (Shawn usually tries to encourage me with, "You're also nearly 8 months pregnant," which sometimes helps.)

Liam was as easy as babies come. He ate well, slept well, traveled well, and was generally content. Then one day a few months ago, it's as if he woke up. It's not that he became a bad kid. Not at all. He's just a vibrant, strong-willed, joyful, passionate little guy whose energy level is unlike anything I've experienced. Every day that's warm enough, we head to a local trail that wraps around a lake and Liam runs the entire two-mile length, giggling and chatting with passersby along the way. No stroller needed (or tolerated).

It's been a struggle in my own heart not to compare him to other kids. When we go to Chick-fil-A with a group, other kids are sitting quietly and munching on fries while Liam is either turning around to other tables and making conversation about dinos, or I can hear his happy screams through the glass wall of the play area. He's no wallflower, and there's rarely a time when he's not full throttle.

As I've prayed so much for him and for us in this exhausting season, I've come to realize that my frustrations usually boil down to my own pride. When he blatantly misbehaves or runs off or is the loudest one in the room, I fear it reflects poorly on me. That everyone is thinking, "Oh, she just can't keep her kid under control. What is she thinking, about to have another?!" I've become every mother I used to judge. It's humbling in so many ways.

This morning, I heard him saying, "G'morning, Biam!" in full volume before I heard my alarm. I flipped on the light, opened Streams in the Desert to today's devotion, and hoped to quietly focus my heart for the day ahead. This quote struck me:
"The colored sunsets and starry heavens, the beautiful mountains and the shining seas, the fragrant woods and painted flowers, are not half so beautiful as a soul that is serving Jesus out of love, in the wear and tear of common, unpoetic life." - Faber
Whoa. I'd say "wear and tear" describe this season pretty perfectly, though assuredly dotted with moments of deep and pure joy. And I pray that I can be a soul that serves Jesus out of love. In this season, that means serving my son: by teaching him about the love Jesus has for him even when he disobeys. By enjoying him. By remembering that these days, though intense, are fleeting.

So if my blogging has become sparse, now you know why. It's just about all I can do to keep up with my wildly vivacious little man, grow a little lady, keep a home business running, share a few coherent words with Shawn at the end of the day, and keep my love for Jesus alive. By the end of the day, writing a blog post is often too high a mountain to climb. Is anyone there with me? I would love to know I'm not alone - and I hope you know you are surely not.

PS - I just saw a friend post this article, "Strong willed children are a blessing, not a curse." Maybe you need it, too. Timely and encouraging.

15 comments:

  1. Loved this. I, too, have a strong willed 20 month old who's favorite words are "NO!" and "Mine!" and "Stop It, DADDY!" he's high energy and can't sit still for more than 2-5 minutes (if we're lucky) - I am sure being pregnant makes you extra tired on top of chasing him. Praying for you guys as you transition to a family of 4!

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    1. So glad to know I'm not alone. And thank you for your prayers!

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  2. Night terrors have plagued our family for years. It's exhausting! Last night my little girl woke me up 3 times. This morning when I was doing my devotions I thought about my response to my daughter, I'm often frustrated because of how I'm being inconvenienced. I'm praying for a servants heart!

    And, my sister has three boys, I've never seen wilder children. My sister is an incredible mama and pours her attention to training them in righteousness, but that doesn't mean it's not a daily task. She would stand next to you in Chick fil a with three of the happiest and wildest boys there are. :)

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    1. Oh goodness... I can't even imagine night terrors. I'm thankful to not be dealing with sleep deprivation (although I can only say that for a few more weeks :)).

      And I would gladly stand Liam next to those three wild boys!!

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  3. It is an exhausting age, but know this, you caught someone else's kids in a moment where they were behaving. You didn't see the battles of getting off to school in the morning, or yesterday when they were running around being crazy in a store! My advice is when you are having a crazy toddler moment, DO NOT make eye contact with anyone! LOL

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    1. So true. Although I have to say the last time this happened, the mother whose child WAS behaving wasn't so sympathetic. She said something like, "Oh, he's just a pretty laid back child" right after mine had thrown fries across the room.

      And that's awesome advice. :)

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    2. Oh no, she didn't say that! haha!!

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  4. When I'm having one of "those days", I remind myself of this quote: "The days are long but the years are short". It perfectly sums up this chaotic and wonderful time of life. My girls entered grade 4 this fall and I'm still trying to figure out how time has passed so quickly. That strong will is a good leadership skill when channeled appropriately - he'll be a great leader some day. Hang in there!

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    1. So, so true. Thanks for the encouragement.

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  5. And Jennifer's comment made me laugh right out loud! :-)

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  6. I can totally understand...know you aren't the only one! Makes me question how my sanity will hold out when the baby girl arrives, but I guess we shall just have to wait and see. Who cares if you don't get a blog post up (not that they aren't nice to read! :))...just do what you gotta do, momma!

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    1. Excited for you!! Still can't believe our similar lives. :)

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  7. Loved that article & love you.

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  8. Hi,
    I completely understand what you mean,
    I have a 26 month old girl and am due 5th of December this year (another girl)
    So any day now our new familiy member may announce herself.
    My daughter is very understanding at some moments and less on others, but what can you expect from a 2-year old?
    There are moments when I feel like I can do anything, but they are sparse.
    Most of the time I get by during the day and have lots of fun with my daughter. The moment my husband gets through the door I feel all the energy disappearing. I am lucky to have an understanding man by my side, who takes over where I have left.
    I tell myself lots of times that I am not alone, and plenty women around the world can manage a two-year old and expect another, so why shouldn't I? We all get by in the end, and maybe I am not always the perfect mother I wish to be, I stil have lots of love to give and do the best I can.
    I trust you do that too!
    I wish you all te best,
    Renee

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  9. Lord have mercy girl!! Every mama in the world understands. They just aren't always very forthwith in telling you! :) I've had the behaving children (I have 4 ages 9, 7, 5, 2 a boy and three girls) and the misbehaving children. I've had elderly couples approach my husband and myself (it's not usually when I'm alone with them ;)) and say how our kids are so well behaved and keep up the good work. The next generation looks at me and wonders if I'm sane because I have four children and they're acting like children.

    A tip that helps us at times is this...look your child right in the eye and say "Liam? Why are you acting like a 2 year old???" It reminds US that they are just that, 2 and that is normal for them...it helps remind our kids that we are trying to be patient with them. Often times I look at my kids at the end of the day and think...they got 3 square meals (LOL!! Who am I kidding?? They were fed. I won't call them square meals!), got dressed (because the 5 yr old can dress herself and now helps the 2 year old), and I got caught up on the laundry. (the sink is still piled high with dishes!) After the baby is born it will get easier...just get in a rhythm and you'll find you aren't quite so tired anymore :) Thinking of you!!

    Julie

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