I dread 3 pm. Naps are done, the energy is high, and the witching hours begin. I look at the clock and try to figure out how we can quickly pass the next four and a half hours before they go back to sleep. If we’re lucky, we’ll get a playdate in, but if we’re not, it seems as though the clock has decided to take its sweet old time between the tick and tock.
By dinner, I’m done. I want them to cooperate and hurry everything up because I want the quiet of my own space. Even though I know these moments will soon end, that the kids will grow up faster than I think, I still rush. I still make them rush. I don’t have my kids in sight at that point. I only see the goal of peaceful freedom, and I try to run to it… with legs made out of lead.
But lately there have been moments when I get to see them through someone else’s eyes. It can be a stranger passing by or a family friend or the many people who love them at church. Our kids say hi to them or reach over to give them a hug, and when I look at their faces, I’m stopped. Intrigued. I see such softness and delight. I see gladness filling up their hearts, and they take in the love, they enjoy their presence, and they stay there.
I look at them, and I don’t feel the same look on my face. Instead of a smile, I feel a frown. Instead of softness, hardness. I wonder how seldom I have that look of pure joy, how frustrated and despairing my face must look during witching hours. And it grieves me to my core. Yes, they scream. Yes, they disobey and hit each other. But when I see them through someone else’s eyes, I get to see them for who they are most of the time. They are a delight. They’re hilarious and sweet, and nothing compares to the love and hugs they give.
I want to see them more with those eyes. I need to see them more with those eyes. I want them to know how loved they are not only by the many others but even more by their mommy whose heart could burst when she sees them with the right eyes.
Peter and I went head to head in a screaming match over him eating his last bite of dinner tonight. I begged him to take it, but when he kept refusing the begging turned into threats. It seems ridiculous that I wouldn’t give in, but I wanted a win for once. He’s stubborn to an extreme and isn’t easily persuaded by logic, repeated commands, threats or anything really. He’s basically me when I was a kid so I should have a better idea of what should work best for him. But I don’t.
That’s the scariest thing, isn’t it? When someone is like you in your brokenness? He’s needy for love and attention like I was, and I wonder if my parenting is just perpetuating the same me with all my insecurities and issues except in boy form. SCARY.
One of my strongest memories as a kid was fake crying in my parents’s room because I told myself that they didn’t love me. I said this over and over again until I convinced myself it was true. I’m sure my parents were annoyed, and I’m sure they reassured me that they did, but this was a theme for my childhood. I always felt less loved, and that didn’t go very well with already being wired to need more love. Or was it the other way around where I needed more love because I didn’t receive as much? Either way, I see the same thing in Peter, and it both annoys and scares the crap out of me.
How do I love him the way he needs to be loved? Is it even possible for me to fill this need of his? How do we discipline him so he doesn’t feel rejected? How do we keep him from finding his worth in how well he behaves or completely rebelling because he can’t measure up to what we expect of him? Why can’t he just be like James??
I don’t know the answers, but I know that he was wonderfully created by a God who knows him AND me. I’m sure sanctification is part of the reason why Peter’s so much like me. Right, God? Every night I tell him that I love him, that Daddy loves him, but that God loves him the most. I want him to know we might fail in loving him well, but there is a God who loves him without limits. I hope our love will show him that, but if not, I want to point him to the One whose love never fails.
I had a Story & Soul Session with the lovely Ashley Abramson last week, and she encouraged me to turn down the editor’s voice in my head so I can write freely. I’ll be honest. It takes me days, sometimes even weeks, to write a post. I edit as I write, and too often people’s faces come to mind and I wonder, Will I offend them? Will they misunderstand my intentions? Will they get what I’m saying? I go over each word and its placement and question whether it’s the right or best one. It’s exhausting, and writing starts to become a chore instead of an act of worship.
I want to write freely. I want to turn down the critic’s voice in my head. I want to edit less and write more. I want to weave writing into every part of my life by making it a habit so I’m taking up the 31 Days writing challenge. The goal is to write every day for the month of October, and even though I was thinking of quitting even before it even began this morning, I’ve decided that there’s nothing to fear and nothing to lose.
There may or may not be a theme to what I write this month. Most likely it will be a continuation of what I write most about- faith, life, and motherhood- but I’m hoping that my writing will take us down some new paths. I’m hoping to explore and uncover deeper things as well as be surprised by simple delights, and I hope you’ll come along with me.
See you tomorrow! (Hopefully)
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