Let's face it. Parenting is a roller coaster. And there are moments where you are just tired of the up and down motion of it all. Come on. Admit it. Parenting is exhausting. But then that feeling, that affirmation that it is all worth it, hits you.
Children don't come with a handbook. That first year is amazing. The sweet baby smell, precious coos and smiles and laughs and snuggles. The chubby cheeks and giggles. Precious.
Then something happens and you wonder what happened to your sweet precious baby whose only issue was not sleeping through the night. They start walking and talking and not just talking, but asserting their will and independence.
As a parent you have to find that balance of enjoying their amazing personalities and discoveries while disciplining them and training them. It's not always an easy balance.
And let's face it. It's the disciplining that takes all the fun out of it. Now if you are a parent who has an easy going, always follows the rules child then my hat's off to you. I myself do not have this child.
My son is amazing, talented, intelligent, talkative and a lot of times the most downright stubborn thing on the planet. Can anyone identify? He's either going to become a talented architect or one of the best lawyers you'll ever meet. The kid can argue for hours on end.
And guiding all that is a challenge. Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't trade it for anything, but there are times when the shear mental game of it all is about more than I can handle. I know some of you can relate.
But then there are days when something happens and you realize that all your effort, all your mental exhaustion, is paying off.
Yesterday was one of those days.
As I walked out of school after substituting all day with Squirt by my side I asked how his day was. "Fine" he tells me. "But something happened that I'm really upset about."
"What happened?" I asked.
"Joe (name has been changed) had told us he would be checking out. When the office called for him to check out most of the class yelled 'Yay!' " My Squirt was so upset that most of his classmates had cheered when this child was being checked out.
Sad, right? It certainly doesn't surprise me that children can treat each other that way. We've all done something like that at one time or another. But it is disheartening for the child who gets hurt.
At the beginning of the school year Squirt had a hard time adjusting to Joe. He calls him a friend, but will admit that there are times when he finds it difficult to deal with Joe's behavior. Joe is a unique child. He's smart and sometimes funny, but he has some special needs and sometimes the other children have a difficult time dealing with his behavior.
As he relaying the story a few tears fell from Squirt's eyes.
"Squirt I know you feel bad for Joe."
"Mama I don't just feel bad for him. I can't describe how I feel for him," he told me trying to hold back the tears.
"And you know Mama, tomorrow Joe will probably come back in with a big smile on his face."
I asked Squirt what that said about Joe's character? That if he could come back in smiling what did that say about his personality; did he think that being able to come back in not worrying what someone did to him was a good characteristic to have? Would that be something to admire in Joe?
He said it was, but he also voiced his worry that Joe might just stuff it back down inside him. Sometimes his insight astounds me. Remember this post? I told him I prayed that Joe didn't "stuff it back down inside."
I HATE, HATE, HATE that Joe was treated this way. I wish the incident had never occured. My heart hurt for Joe too.
But it was one of those conversations that made me think, "Okay. We must be doing something right." I'm a proud mama for how his heart hurt for his friend. I hope he carries that on into his teenage years. That ability to hurt for those who aren't always the easiest to love.
I don't want this post to come across in a prideful way. I am certainly no where near the perfect parent, but there are days when you struggle and struggle with this whole thing called parenting and you wonder if anything is getting through to their little minds and souls.
It was definitely an affirmation I needed. I just wish it hadn't come in the circumstances it did.
Have you had any of those affirming parent moments lately? Do you sometimes wonder if anything you are doing is getting through? If you do don't give up. When you least expect it you'll get a glimpse into their little soul and realize that everything you do is getting through after all.