Saturday, October 24, 2009

parented

if i would have written this post earlier in the day, there would be a different tone to it. i spent most of the day feeling defeated and angry. i have that child. the one, pre-kids, i used to think "that mom needs to learn to control her kid" about. i have that child, and i feel absolutely powerless to do anything about it. i don't know what to do, not just to make my child obey and show respect, but to just make her not a miserable person. from the time we brought blakely home from the hospital at a month old, she cried. i thought she was in pain, so we put her on reflux medicine, but she kept crying. i thought she was frustrated that she couldn't crawl or walk, but when she became mobile she kept crying. i thought surely when she could begin to tell us what she wanted she would finally be the happy and content baby i would see other moms with. but, you guessed it; she started talking and kept crying. remind me to delete this post when she can read, because i don't want her to see herself as the "difficult one", but i'm at a loss. i've said that for 3 years now, but i really am.

so i suppose you can guess how the photo shoot went. i always try to create an exciting and energetic tone in our house in the mornings to hopefully start the day out with good moods all around. it was great until 7, then b's complaints started rolling. she didn't like where the blueberries were placed in her kashi waffle, she wanted to wear a pink bow instead of white, and she didn't like the shirt brett was wearing for the picture; she said it looked like a dress and she was mad daddy was wearing a dress. she wanted to wear her tennis shoes (with a smocked dress...classy) and she wanted to make sure we were getting brusters' purple ice cream; no other kind. once we arrived exhausted at the shoot, the real crying began. she cried from the time we got there until we put her down for a nap. i know it sounds like i'm being dramatic because it was just pictures and not a life or death situation, but it's exhausting to face the rebellion day in and day out. and you can guess what she said about the ice cream once the shoot began: "i don't want ice cream". told you.

in any other case, i would say "that kid's 3...WAY too old to be acting like that". but i mean it when i say i don't know what to do. i don't know why she's so unhappy, and you can only discipline a child so much. blakely can be such a sweet little girl, and when she finally breaks, she breaks hard and just falls in our arms and wants to be held and cuddled. she wears a tough shell, but when you get through to the core of her, she has the sweetest and most tender little heart. i want to know how to make that come out more. i don't know what i'm doing wrong.

i hesitate to even write this post because i know how many women out there have either been unable to get pregnant or have lost a child, and would give anything for a child who screams all day long. i'm grateful even in the tough times for the sweet gift god has given me in blakely; it's just i want to find a way to bring more peace to our home. though my love has been constant and strong and unconditional, i have struggled over the past 3 years to fully enjoy my kids the way i feel like most moms do. i still feel sadness when i see moms strolling around with their happy little babies at the mall. the times i tried to do this when k and b were babies, i would have to hold a baby in each arm and pelvic thrust the stroller through nordstrom to hurry back to my car so no one called dfacs, since i surely must be hurting or neglecting or starving my kids to make them scream so loud.

but, i digress. i can't live in the past, and i can't know why motherhood hasn't been the bliss i always thought it would be. i can't keep living in guilt that i didn't bond with my babies the moment i held them. i have to stop analyzing whether i didn't hold them enough as babies or if i fed them the wrong foods or gave them bpa filled bottles to make them act that way. they're toddlers now, and i have to deal with them as such. i have more regrets than i can count about not enjoying them enough as babies, but i honestly didn't know how. our pregnancy wasn't planned and i wasn't ready to be a mom and didn't know what to do with 1 happy baby, much less 2 mad ones. but now it's time to move on and not make the same mistake with k and b as toddlers. kennedy is easy to enjoy, but i want to break blakely's will without breaking her unique spirit so we can stop the constant battles in our home. more than that, i want to learn to enjoy even the hard times and listen to what god wants to teach me through this state of refinement called motherhood.

as i was putting blakely to bed tonight, i started out telling her that she's no more sinful than me, and that we need a savior in the same way; not because it sounds good or spiritual, but because everything in me sees the weight of my sin, even in the hypocrisy i display in getting mad at her for rebelling against me the way i rebel against god. i wanted her to go to bed reminded of the gospel and knowing that despite her actions, no amount of disobedience or good works could change my love. that's the way god loves us. his love for me wouldn't have changed today if i would've sinned against him by murdering someone, or propped up my good works by being imprisoned for sharing the gospel in a closed country. at bedtime every night, i sing jesus paid it all and amazing grace to k and b. i intended for those words to minister to b's heart tonight, but instead god used them to minister to mine...

"twas grace that taught my heart to fear" reminded me that the only thing in me that sees god's truths or chooses to obey is the spirit he has given me. at the core of our natural being, we're all blakelys; rebellious and hard and wanting our own way. it's only by god's grace that anything good is in us at all.

"through many dangers, toils, and snares i have already come. 'tis grace that brought me safe this far and grace will lead me home". these words were sweet to me as i remembered the hard days of the last 3 years and the way god in his grace has brought me through them; not just letting me survive, but teaching me lessons i never would have learned if i wouldn't have walked through trying to figure out how to be a mom to a "strong-willed child". it's evident through the growing pains i've felt in parenting the kids i've been given that god knew exactly what he was doing when he knit them together in my womb and gave them to me to mother. the same grace that brought me through the newborn and toddler stages is going to continue to grow me up and give me just what i need to make it through the rest of k and b's life, whether is gets easier or harder.

"when we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun we'll no less days to sing god's praise than when we first begun." i love my life, and as much as it may sound like i'm complaining, i wouldn't trade any part of it. i love my sweet husband and my precious little girls and my friends and family and the privilege of being a stay at home mom. at the same time, the older i get, the more i realize just how broken our world is. i was made for another, and i'm humbled to go to bed knowing this life is not the end. as defeated as i may feel at times, i can rest tonight in knowing that because of his love, he's preparing a place for me in heaven despite the condemnation to hell my sin deserves.

his grace really is amazing.

6 comments:

  1. nicole, i love your blog. and this post speaks to me so much. thank you for your honesty. it seems so often people paint a perfect picture of their life and people like me feel like something is wrong b/c I dont feel that way. i love your family and your precious girls. I think I was blakely growing up. so glad my parents stuck with me. you have such great insight into parenthood and how it relates to our heavenly father. thank you so much for sharing. i am so thankful for His grace.

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  2. thanks for sharing, sweet nicole. love you and love to watch you mother your girls. i can only think about how their lives are being shaped by your vulnerabilty and even in those times you screw up (or think you do), it's there that the gospel becomes real. so thankful for you, your friendship and for how you point me to the only purely loving, patient, and faithful one.

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  3. Oh nicole, My heart really goes out to you as i can understand your frustration....maybe not with a difficult child (yet) but with trying so hard and still not having things turn out the way you would expect. I know KandB are soo lucky to have you as a mother - your patience and perspective with them is truly amazing and serves as a model for me. i miss you dearly! I too want my blog to be more simple and refreshing but gosh, it takes forever to work on it! I am praying for you now.

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  4. Oh Nicole! I'm so glad God brought you into my life! I could've written so much of your post. For what it's worth, I thought you handled Blakely with such grace on Saturday! You were patient, kind, and just laughed it off when you knew her emotions were beyond your control. That was so great for me too see because the last time MY strong willed chlid threw a screaming tantrum in public, I left in tears. You're a great mommy! And I did get some great pictures :o)

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  5. Nicole,

    You are such a special person, and even though I haven't been around you as a mother, I'm sure it's no different. You are such an inspiration and I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog. You should consider writing a book:)

    Lindsay Smith Hollis

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  6. Nicole,

    This is incredibly honest and poignant. Thanks for sharing your story here.

    -Erin C.

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