When I was pregnant, no one ever told me that the little souls growing inside my womb would hurt me. No one ever mentioned that they would say things that hurt and do things that would cause my heart to wince. No one ever told me that they would make me terribly sad at times. And no one ever, EVER told me they would make me cry.
And that’s okay, because honestly…ain’t nobody want that kinda soul at a baby shower. Ain’t nobody want to invite the Eeyore to the Pooh and Piglet party. Ain’t nobody want that Debbie Downer eatin’ those mini quiches and sharin’ those scary stories ’round a diaper cake.
I get it; I really do.
And though there’s a lot of me that’s glad that no Eeyore-downer dashed my “happy-baby” thoughts, I guess there’s just a small part of me that wishes that someone would have shared the other parts.
I’m honestly not sure how that sharing would have gone down (maybe by the fire with a cup of coffee across from a nurturing soul who is seasoned in the bittersweet gift that is parenting, but a soul who also knows how to simultaneously embrace both the good and the ugly without throwing out the happy or denying the hard)…I don’t know?
But suffice to say, if it could’ve happened, I think I would have appreciated it.
I think I would have appreciated the heads-up, the reality-check, the loving-honest sharing moment.
And though I maybe would have had no real understanding or context for what that kind and honest soul would share, I believe I would have recalled that “pre-baby-out-of-the-womb-moment” as I sat and cried this morning…on the side of the tub.
Because this morning, that sweet little boy (whom I love from the top of his head to the bottom of his toes, from the top of my head to the bottom of my toes) made me cry.
He made me ugly cry.
Though the details might be fun to hear and maybe even a little therapeutic to share, I’m gonna keep this short and simply say, “Nasty words can hurt and angry tones can sting…no matter the age, no matter the size, and no matter the soul.”
And as I removed myself from the kitchen table and went to the only place in the house that has a door, I cried…and cried…and cried some more.
Because sometimes parenting feels UNFAIR.
Because sometimes parenting feels ONE-SIDED.
Because sometimes parenting feels EMOTIONALLY EXHAUSTING.
Because sometimes parenting feels MENTALLY TAXING.
Because sometimes parenting just DOWNRIGHT HURTS.
And as I sat and cried and remembered another time when I felt this way, I heard a little knock on the door. And then I heard a stronger knock. And then I heard a bunch of tears.
As I opened the door, my boy rushed in and fell into my arms.
“Mommy, I’m so sorry. I realized that I’m hurting you, and I’m so sorry. I know I was mean, and I know I keep being nasty to you. I’m sorry.”
With that little boy (a heap of remorse and a bucket of tears) stuck to my side, I gently raised his chin to my eyes.
With tears that were more like torrents, rather than contained trickles, I wrapped my arms around him and said, “I forgive you, buddy; I do.”
And then a bunch more tears welled from the bottom of both of us.
“Buddy, I will always love you. Always, always, always. And even though you have hurt me, like I have also hurt you, I will always love you.”
Wiping his tears (while mine still streamed), I gathered his bookbag and walked him to the front of his school.
The pain was still present, and the ache was still there; it still is.
But when I watched that little boy stop at the front door and turn around for one more glance at his Mama, I knew that something else was ALSO there.
Along with the pain and along with the ache, there was a deep, deep love for not only the soul that was quietly nestled in my womb (now six years ago)–the soul that had never uttered mean words in angry tones–but there was also a deep, deep love for my son TODAY.
In all of his yuck and in all of his good, in all of his hard and in all of his lovely, I love that little soul with an enduring love that has been placed in my heart, a love that can only be explained by a relentlessly-loving God who designed it and defines it.
So I’m not sure if you’re pregnant and reading this but just in case you are, pretend we’re sitting by the fire with a cup of coffee as we talk about all the beauty and all the hard that IS this parenting gift.