So this last week was a doozy. We got back from California at 11:30pm last Sunday night and I signed Cade up for his first Vacation Bible School at our church for the following morning. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting. Probably a little push back, definitely not a phone call from the pastor saying Cade was not having it. I figured he’d be talked off the ledge. This was my first time dropping my kiddo off and going about my merry way and I was very excited about it. People do this all the time. But for me, in the middle of stay-at-home land, this never happens.
And I wish I could say I got to do something fun that Monday morning with my first little taste of freedom. But having been gone for the week prior we had no groceries in the house so I was in line at the grocery store and Kai was being a beast baby. He was apparently not use to grocery shopping (I avoid taking them like the plague only going when daddy is home and can watch them). Which frankly was all a bit disappointing to me because I was super excited to stick him in the shopping cart…you know that spot you usually put your purse. Since I never take kids to the grocery store I was kind of expecting this idyllic mom moment with just my one baby–insert daydream here: sweet, good-natured, squishy baby laughing joyfully as we skip down the aisles at Whole Foods, him telling me how much he loves me and beaming at me blissfully as I put kale chips in the cart. Who am I kidding. It’s Kai we’re talking about here. He was throwing boxes on the ground and crying about not getting to eat said boxes. I was still trying to figure out how to handle this not-so-idyllic situation when my phone rang. “I think Cade needs his mommy. He’s not settling down and we can’t keep him in his class.” Oh boy.
So I pushed the shopping cart, packed to the gills, out of the store as fast as I could. And of course a bag toppled over and broke open in the middle of the street, zucchini rolling. And it was in this moment that my nearsightedness took off. Thoughts flinging through my mind like billiard balls. “Are you kidding me right now. What is wrong with these kids? Life was so much easier without them. Why. Why. Why.” And I grumbled and groaned and picked up smooshed zucchini wanting to chuck them at Kai’s temper tantrum. This is real mommyhood. You know those days you realize raising up human beings is hard work.
So the week proceeded on and went something like this–Tuesday: we talked and talked and talked about being brave, that mommy’s come back, that he was going to have fun. I walked Cade in to VBS, we sat down together, Cade, Kai and I and the day started. And after awhile I tried to leave. He clung to me like a mussel to the seaside and screamed like he was being pried away from his life source. So I sat. And encourage. My sweetness quickly souring. By snack time I was done. I tried going to the bathroom. He came unglued and so did I so I dragged his clingy tushie out of VBS and drove them home, barraging him with harsh words, anger seeped into every thought and breath. And I knew I didn’t like myself. I knew I was doing no good. And yet the words came so easily. They spilled like they’ve been there all along just plotting a time to come out.
And I realized once I had a chance to realize that the me all those years ago begging for a chance to be a mom would be outraged at the “mom” I had become on this day. My nearsightedness in parenting a 3 year old pushed me past a place where I could remember. But, my friends, remember we must. We need to remember our story. We need to see how much of a big deal it is to be blessed to parent. We need to remember because it grounds us in the truth that they are gifts. I was not treating Cade like a gift. I was acting like a three year old. Someone needed to put me in time out.
This curious case of nearsightedness cost me a teachable moment with myself and my boys. It prevented me from seeing clearly the situation at hand. Cade has never been away from me. I am his life. And I was angry and mad because he didn’t know how to have a fun time away from me in an environment he wasn’t familiar with. Don’t we do this though with lots of areas of life? We get so caught up in the moment that we forget the journey to this place. We forget the years of studies to get the degree to land the job and then grumble about the job we fought so hard for. We work out and exercise and go to practices to make the team to all but forget it as soon as we get there. And this is human nature. We see it all through the Bible, that call to remember God, remember the journey, remember how HE has been faithful. These early parenting days for me are speeding by (I already have a 3 year old!) and yet all my eyes focus on is the snail-like pace of no progress, frustrating kiddo emotions, ungratefulness, and the daily grind. Nearsightedness in parenting prevents us from seeing the big picture, it prevents us from seeing progress in ourselves and our babies. It steals our joy in the act of parenting. So I urge you friends. Remember your story. Remember in the middle of all the tears and tantrums and dirt, the toys everywhere and the meltdowns. Remember it when your zucchini go rolling down the street and you want to scream at the top of your lungs. Remember how far you’ve come. Remember how much easier it is to grumble and instead give thanks. Turn that into a moment of praise and settle yourself deeply into the moment. Remember.
“But watch out! Be very careful never to forget what you have seen the Lord do for you. Do not let these things escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.” -Deuteronomy 4:9