Saturday, February 5, 2011

The great joy of my life

At exactly what age will I figure out how to do this mommy thing right?  I would take doing it pretty darn good, but most days even that seems like an idea I once had.

Yesterday I asked Kylynn to tell me her memory verse from school this week, she had said it the night before so I knew she knew it and I was helping her commit it to memory.  With a little help getting started she said the verse, but when I asked her for the reference, she couldn't think of it.  So I told her it and asked her to repeat it to me, and after .2 seconds she had forgotten what I said.  I decided that there was no way she could have forgotten something that she knew the day before and I had just told her.  So I told her that we weren't going to get out of the car and go watch our movie until she repeated it to me, deciding that she was being stubborn? lazy? funny?  But then she started to totally stress out and it escalated from there, no matter how much I tried to give her clues she was too far gone into freak out mode.  In the end we went inside and she went to her room to calm down and she was able to think of "Mark" and I supplied the numbers.  For the life of me I do not know if she genuinely didn't know the answer or just didn't want to give me the satisfaction.

Daily this little girl makes me so unsure of whether I've just chosen the right battle, said the right thing, praised her enough, taught her enough.  There are countless moments where I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing and whether or not I've made the right decision.  I often end my days with her, sitting on her bed and apologizing for how I responded to her in anger, but explaining that even though my response was wrong, her behavior was still unacceptable.

Jack has been unusually whiny for the past two days, crying for long periods of time for no reason.  He won't tell me anything that's wrong and has no physical symptoms, so I just assumed that it's the fact that he'll be three in a few weeks that's causing it.  At every meal, he's said, I'm not hungry and not wanted to eat.  When it comes to Jack and eating I have been brought to tears over it on more than one occasion and am constantly praying about it.  He has actually gained a decent amount of weight in the last six months but I am always trying to sneak in more calories into his diet, in my mind him not eating is completely unacceptable.  So I told him he had to finish this or that on his plate and then he could get down.  Finally at lunch time today, he said my belly hurt, so I took away his plate and laid him on the couch and sure enough about 30 minutes later he was throwing up.  I wish I could tell you that this is the first time I've forced a sick child to eat, completely unaware that they were actually telling the truth about not being hungry, but it's not.  Hindsight's 20/20 and after the fact I can't believe that I thought that he was just being grumpy.

Daily I question whether I let him get away with too much, is he telling the truth when he says that his sissy did it, or is he just trying to stay out of trouble.  Do I spend enough time focused on just him, since he's content to play by himself and not constantly asking for my attention like his sister.  I often end my days with him trying to tell him a little of his unique story, already unsure of whether I have the right words for his small questions.

I suppose that it's only after you do it that you learn how it's done.  That it's in the doing that you are trained in how to be a mother, that it's in the mistakes that you learn what to do better next time, that it's in the sorrows that you are reminded of how much joy there is.  But God He knew all of this and so he gave mothers a love big enough to cover over all our sins and have enough left over to teach our children that they are desperately loved.

My patient children I may never get this mother thing done perfectly or even pretty darn good, but know that everything I ever did I did because I love you in a way that makes me catch my breathe and blink back tears.  This chance God has given me, to raise His children, to be your mommy, it's the great joy of my life.

"Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:8


thewonderfulhappens said...

Oh honey, it definitely isn't just you. I feel this way so much, especially with Matthew. Our pediatrician told me early on in my mothering gig to choose my battles, but to be sure to win the ones I chose. Sometimes I feel myself digging my heels in on an issue and immediately regretting it....but I don't give up because I need them to know I am serious. We are all just doing the best we can here, and it seems to me that you are doing a great job!

Kyle said...

That's real. I want not just to be right in this moment, but for the result to be acceptable. For my kids as teens to still want to do things with Dad, to talk to me, and to be a practitioner of God's word. Are my daily moments with them now, moving them in that way? I pray they are, but I just don't know.