We thought the roughest patch with him would be between the ages of birth and three years, especially those first six months when he was constantly in and out of hospitals, and we were all working to just keep him alive through two open heart surgeries and one craniotomy. I figured when his health was stable and he could walk and talk this journey would seem easy...ier.
What I didn't know then but do know now is that babies, regardless of their health, all need an abundance of care. Toddlers still need their diapers changed, help getting dressed, and their meals made. By the time kids are seven, they can feed themselves, use the bathroom, get dressed, and are better at expressing their wishes or what is upsetting them. When I look back in my eldest's early years, I find that although all of the expected mommy duties were complicated, feeding was done via a tube, meds were given around the clock, etc., they all coincided with activities I would have been doing in some context anyways. I had a moment of truth; living with little one #1 isn't about adjusting to a new dream, it is daily acceptance and discovery of an evolving dream. When my seven year old needs to be spoon-fed, changed, dressed, or consoled because he doesn't have the words to explain himself and instead turns to tears, I realize the road we walk is going to be different but not less difficult with each passing year, and it is and will be hard to maintain patience and grace - two keys to successful parenting and living!
I am often relearning lessons about these two essentials of parenthood. After an in-particularly difficult lunch out with the boys today, (imagine little boy #1 rolling on the ground, spitting out food, and refusing to stay in his seat while little boy #2 and I tried to eat...in public) that was exasperated by an unexpected doctor's appointment for #1 squeezed in before his two usual Monday therapy appointments, we got back into the car. I turned on the radio and was reminded of the amazing grace I have been given, frequently and undeserved. I have been shown so much grace and patience in my own life, I know I owe that not only to my eldest but also to many others around me. I thought I had handled things fairly well while we were eating, but I knew there was room for improvement. Now - if someone can educate me on how to always dispense discipline with grace, I am all ears!
Today, instead of being snappy or spiteful with whoever or whatever has altered how you think things should be, try to purposefully show grace and patience. Not only will you assert more control over your own life and actions, even if the events or people are 100% out of your control, but your actions will be compounded, positively impacting whoever is on the receiving end. And, when you fail, because we all will, keep trying again.
Monday Moments = Knowing that I would not have received the "mother of the year" award today but also knowing that my ability to dispense grace is better than it was a few years ago and tomorrow is an opportunity to try again and do better!