I’m sitting here with Molli’s entire drawer of pajamas and a wooden spoon. What do these things have in common? It is her favorite thing and her least favorite thing. We are having a lot of bedtime issues tonight. I’m not sure if today’s diet of way too much sugar is finally catching up to her, if it’s Daddy being gone for going on 4 weeks, three year old attitude or what, but I’m about to wig out. For real.
What started tonight’s incident doesn’t even matter (it was over her beloved pajamas of all things), but I had the misfortune of my precious angel pointing her finger in my face shouting, “You can’t take that away from me!” Then switching the direction of the finger toward her chest, poking with each syllable “They’re MINE, MINE, MINE, MINE!” Then putting her hands down she demanded, “You go out of here.”
I don’t say any of this to brag on her rottenness, or to mortify her later. I’m not flaunting misbehavior. I’m just here with a depleted repertoire of discipline. No one told me when I held her for the first time, completely in love with each tiny feature, that those sweet eyes would ever glare at me, and that when they do, it will cut straight into my heart. No one held my face and stared me down to ensure that I understood that just a few short years later, those parted lips would spout ugly words, a swift kick in the gut. The tiny human, my daughter, would bring me to my knees, defeated.
Anger bellowing from her bedroom, the screaming muted on the monitor but the stomping reverberates through the house. In these awful moments, my love for her is confirmed. If I didn’t love her from the deepest part of my heart, I wouldn’t care about any of this behavior. It would be annoying for sure; No one wants to hear a screaming kid. But it wouldn’t hurt so badly. I would have no reason to shed tears for the tiny heart making poor choices and exhibiting behavior worthy of discipline.
The lessons of parenting are endless. It’s a miracle anyone makes it to adulthood. So far the outlook is bleak for my firstborn. Kids are like mean little animals, feeding off of weaknesses and preying on the lost. The aforementioned kick in the gut and the stab through the heart bring me down quickly when I’ve poured out all my energy. Created in the image of an almighty Father, my attempts to love, discipline, understand and forgive my children are feeble at best. My prayer tonight is to be the example of self-control and love that my kids need. He will provide the strength to be a godly parent. Tonight, I’ve made peace with my girl and I take refuge in the promise of new mercies!