This post comes from my good friend, Sara. After reading it on her blog, Sara J. Writes, I immediately texted her and asked if I could share it. I hope you find Sara’s honesty and humor as refreshing as I do.
When I was little I would get these terrible pains in my legs. They would come at night and for weeks at a time. Our doctor assured us that the pains were simple growing pains, a common by product of a growing body. My mom and dad spent many evenings rubbing my legs with Aspercreme and reassuring me that all was okay. Growing pains, if you’ve never experienced them, are dull aches that typically reside in the legs. They are not crippling but they are just painful enough to keep you awake, make it difficult to walk and give you a nagging concern in the back of your mind. The pain is completely normal and necessary for the few who experience growing pains.
I’d say the last six month or so I’ve been experiencing adult growing pains. They’ve come as a by product of parenting a lovely, strong-willed, beautiful, little girl. Since this is our first attempt at parenting I really don’t know if all kids are like Lakin or if we’re being broken in for the siblings to come. A two-year old is hard. Like, make you face your sin in a whole new way, kind of hard.
I want to be the parent who always responds with empathy and patience. I want to have realistic expectations and exercise loving authority but often times I feel I’m bumbling through parenthood, eyes squeezed tight, mouth clenched and fingers crossed that I’m making decisions the best I can. There’s no playbook for those interesting and difficult moments we face with our children. I have no idea how far to push and when to give a little. I just pray that my words are honorable and in step with the Spirit.
I am growing up. I’m dealing with my impatience, my judgment, my anger, all the people-pleasing tendencies I possess and I’m learning to let go of those things and embrace a little Jesus provided grace. My wisdom comes from Him. Even though I’ve been known to Google things like “toddler mood disorders” and “how to do timeout effectively.”
You know, sometimes your kid’s a crab face. They don’t feel like being grateful and generous and loving toward their neighbor. They whine through Target and then act surprised and CRAZY when they don’t get a kid’s cookie in the bakery. Sometimes they snatch up a toy from their baby brother and scream, “That’s mine!” Sometimes they look you in the eye and pee on your kitchen floor. It’s embarrassing and you kind of want to find a hole and crawl in. You think to yourself, it’s a good thing we’re related because you’d be on my play date blacklist right now otherwise. But at the end of the day they can make you melt with their slobbery good night kiss and retelling of every single detail of their day with a tiny, toddler lisp for added adorableness.
So I guess the cute stories have slowed down on the blog because sometimes I forget the cute moments and focus on the moments when my toddler unbuckled herself in a moving vehicle or threw herself in hysterics at Bible Study. But it’s all part of life, part of growing up, part of learning how it works. We all need grace, for every moment of the day. So I’m thankful for the pains of growing up as I figure out how to raise a human to be decent and loving and kind. I think it’s a normal part of the process. In fact, maybe the pain is my reminder that I can’t do this by my own strength, to remind me to look to Him to carry me through each moment.
Oh, parenthood. You crazy.