Today was hard…real hard. And I was tired…real tired.
It was one of those days when everything I touched, tried, and did either fell apart, didn’t work, or blew up in my face.
I was discouraged, weary, and a hot mess. I was fighting thoughts of insecurity and incompetence. I was angry, annoyed, and overwhelmed. I was tired of disciplining, tired of not sleeping, and tired of trying to keep my daughter from eating toilet paper. I was fearing failure, doubting my parenting abilities, and questioning my judgments. I felt really out of control and incredibly exhausted. I didn’t like me and truth be told, I wasn’t really liking my kids. Proverbially speaking, I was at the end of my rope.
So when I had secured both kids in their respective beds for nap time, I was looking forward to some space and quiet. I needed to recharge, reboot, and refocus. I needed to take some deep breaths, finish my morning coffee, and fold the laundry. I needed to take my own rest.
But 10 minutes into “nap time,” I hear thundering sobs from over the monitor.
Just like the previous three nights and the previous three naps, my son was up again…screaming…terrified of something undefined and unknown. I was trying to be patient; I was trying to be understanding; I was trying to be calm and comforting, BUT NOTHING WAS WORKING…AGAIN!
I was tired of trying, and I was tired of failing.
Refusing to force a terrified child to finish his nap and refusing to spend any more of my “rest time” trying to make something work that wasn’t seemingly going to work, I told him that he could use the remainder of his nap time to quietly play in his bedroom.
I left in defeated tears.
Sitting in a pile of clothes that needed to be folded and suitcases that needed to be packed, I cried. I cried really big, really ugly, super-unflattering tears and uttered aloud, “Lord, I just can’t do this (sound familiar). I need your help. I have no clue what I am doing today. I have no clue how to make things better, and I have no clue how to make things work. I am tired and exhausted, and I’m just spent. I need you.”
I had barely finished my “please-help-me-Lord” prayer when a little boy came running (full throttle) into the living room. I kid you not, I jumped. I’m not sure if I thought that the Lord had sent an angel to rescue me, or if my son’s nap/night-time terrors had turned into “terror raids,” but I jumped and screamed. It was that kind of day.
“Mommy, I just came to give you a hug because I wanted to cheer you up.”
Cue: Round Two of Big-Ugly Tears
I’m fairly certain my son has never seen me cry like that and though it crossed my mind to “pull it together” before my son thought I was a whack-job, I resisted and didn’t. With his body in my lap and his arms wrapped tightly around my neck, he said, “Mommy, I’m right here. I’m right here.”
Cue: Round Three of Big-Ugly Tears
As I cried in the safety of my son’s enveloping arms, I had a flashback of carrying him in the womb.
Without fail, every single time I had a “big-hormonal-cry” (and there were a lot), I would feel these little pats on the inside of my belly, and I would tell my husband (though I’m sure he thought I’d lost my preggo mind), “Babe, I think he knows that I’m upset. I think he wants to make it better, to comfort me.”
I really think I was right.
“Oh, buddy. I love you so much, and I am so very, very thankful for you.”
“Mommy, I’m proud of you.”
He was proud of the mommy hanging at the end of her parenting rope? WHAT?
He was proud of the mommy who had failed, and fallen, and blown everything up? WHAT?
He was proud of the mommy who was tired of nurturing him through his fears? WHAT?
He was proud of the broken, overwhelmed mommy who had no clue? WHAT?
“Oh, Caden. Sometimes I don’t even know why you love me.”
“Because you’re my Mommy.”
And though I pretty much “lost it” in that moment…I kinda “found it” at the same time.
Squeezing him with every bit of gentle force within me, I cried again.
My son’s love for me isn’t based on what I do or do not do, it’s based on me and who I am to him.
Once again, the Lord had graciously used the mouth of my little boy to speak the very words I needed to hear…not just from him, but from HIM.
But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy. Titus 3:4-5
Praise the Lord for His great mercy and His great grace!
HIS love for me isn’t based on what I do or do not do, it’s based on HIM and who I am to HIM.