I don’t think I have ever felt so stretched emotionally in all my life. I don’t think I have ever felt two such extreme emotions, as far as my children are concerned anyway. I guess that’s what happens when your youngest is 2 and your eldest is 9. There are so many years between them, so many lessons and milestones and life experience that separate the one from the other. But it’s these very differences that make the extremes of emotions that much greater.
On one hand we are dealing with an emotional toddler who has just started school and trying her best to assert her independence in a healthy way. It’s so hard to see her struggle to make sense of her new reality and see her sob every morning as she begs us not to leave her there. (she is making AMAZING progress but it’s still a daily struggle that drains my emotions in a big way) I am taken straight back to the times before when my boys were at this transition and I can’t help but feel it shouldn’t be this hard.
Our middle child Brody is also still giving us a bit of grief too- oh you know the norma 6 year old behaviour where everything is either too much or nobody cares about him. It’s EXHAUSTING trying to keep up with his extremes, only adding to mine! I just feel like something has gotta give you know? Like why can’t he just snap out of this phase and just be the happy kid I have always knows him to be?
But on the other hand, I’m witnessing my eldest son blossom into the most incredible young man. I am getting front row seats to this amazing kid’s life and seeing him mature and grow into such a responsible, kind little boy. This brings out all the joy and and happiness within me, in a way that makes me feel so proud. It’s the rewarding part of parenting, the part that’s easy.
I love the easy parts, the rewarding seasons. I love being able to sit back and see all the time and love and firm discipline we have invested into our son, pay off. I love revelling in these moments because it’s in these seasons and little pockets of time where we can breath a little easier and give ourselves a gentle pat on the back. A “Well done, you got through that without shooting yourself in the foot” kind of moment. I think it’s important that we recognise these moments and celebrate them. Silently or out loud. However we choose.
I think when we are in the thick of it, in the trenches, we feel like we are going to be there forever. We forget that things will become easy again. When we are dealing with babies who don’t want to sleep at night, tantruming toddlers, anxious 6 year-olds who lash out at you after school, kids who think they know best and dish out more attitude than you thought possible or when kids are just their ass-hole selves because : TEENAGER! In these mounts and phases it can be so hard to see the light, to see yourself even ENJOYING your child for longer than 5 minutes. It’s a give and take, one part: stress, sadness and failure, one part : Ease, Joy and victory.
But Noah is proving to me that if we keep plugging into our kids and consistently show up for them and guide them through their struggles as they make sense of their world, they will eventually come out the other side. He got through the very things we are struggling with Hunter and Brody right now…. he survived his first month at play school despite a rocky start. In addition he got through him not wanting to leave my side at playdates. He got through the fussy eating at 3 years, the sleep regression, the nightmares, the first day of Grade 1. 2 and 3. He got through the emotional frustrations and bad attitude adjustments.
I guess we will always be able to look back and see that our only choice is to love them through each phase and transition, and trust that God will give us the wisdom and grace we need to see us through the specially rough and challenging times. One. Day. At. A. Time.