If I Didn't Love Her...

...I would have given her away this afternoon!  Oh, how could I say that??  Well, after a delightful morning and a productive early afternoon, my little Ava pitched the world's longest and biggest fit.  She was a mess of emotion, refusing to nap and yet unable to stay awake.  I don't know what got into her, but she was as "female" as they come today, swinging from one extreme mood to another.  Apparently, this part of raising girls starts way sooner than I was prepared for!  By the grace of God we endured the rest of the day, minute by painful minute.  I put her to bed minutes ago and now I can finally breathe a little bit until Travis comes home.  These are the days that are so hard for me to get through.  They inevitably happen on nights where I'm parenting alone and I find myself more often than not, feeling like a failure by the time the sun sets.

Ironically, it's also the day that I met with a friend for our Wednesday morning Bible study, to talk about the virtue of self control, from the book that we are reading together.  And yes, only hours later, I lost that virtue.  Repeatedly.  A 7 month old who can't talk, can't walk and can't function without me, may have pushed my patience to the limit and caused me to throw my newly gained self-control, right out the window.  But at least it was only the self-control that got thrown out the window and not the 7 month old.  Not all has been lost.

The more that I've thought about it, the more that I'm convinced babies should come with some kind of warning label.  Some kind of notice that would tell you how quickly you will swing from "I could not love you more" to "I am going to pull my hair out!"  An extreme range of emotion all within 30 seconds or so.  Yep, a parenthood warning label.  Don't you think it would be helpful??  Sadly, it doesn't exist and it never will.  It's only something that you have to experience for yourself.  After all, there really is no way to prepare yourself for the moment when your child throws up all over your white down comforter; or when they scream so loudly and for so long, that you begin to wonder if you're own hearing will be affected; or when you innocently pick up that little darling, only to discover that they have chosen you as the recipient of their latest "explosion."  No, there is no training for that.

But when you reach those moments of despair, when it feels like you cannot go one more minute without losing it...

I've learned to take a deep breath and try, try again.

Sometimes it gets better, and sometimes it's just a dogfight until the end of the day.  But either way, the love I have for her wins out.  Kind of like the love of the Lord that always wins out, even in the midst of my biggest fit and my whiniest hour.  His love without condition is the the love that I strive for with Ava, with Travis, and with my family and friends.  I'm certainly not there, all too often my "conditions" are crystal clear and incredibly demanding.  But I'm trying, I'm striving for better.  Not so that I can pat myself on the back after a victorious day, but so that my daughter, and my husband, and my family will see a glimpse of grace and a reflection of Jesus in me.  One day when Ava is grown and these hard days are behind us, I hope she will think of me as a blessing in her life, as a source of forgiveness and second chances and a love without conditions.

I hope that for her because I know that of Him.  He is the one I want to run to when she screams and throws a fit.  His is the voice I need to speak words of wisdom to my weary soul.  And when I wake tomorrow, to the sound of her cries, it's His new mercies that will sustain me for another day.

Being a parent is hard work when you're raising a flawed child.
But then so is everything worth doing.

Yep, if I didn't love her, who knows what I might do??

 Good thing I never have to worry about that!


Heather said...

Boy do I relate to this?!?! The best part is what you said about it always happening on the nights that Trav is gone. My hubby is gone many nights and that is definitely when I "lose it" with my kids. Then they finally go to sleep and I am left alone feeling so sad and guilty about what I have said and done. Ah, parenting. And the love and mercy of Jesus.
Thanks for the honesty and the hope in this post, Steph. I always feel like you and I have so much of the same "heart"--have ever since the very beginning when I found your blog.
Praying you (and Ava!) rest well tonight!

petrii said...

First off ~~ girl these pics are A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E!!! Oh my stars!!!

I love how real you are about the struggles of being a mommy. When I was raising my little one (now 17) there was no blog outlet. It's so great to read about it here and how you deal with the issues that arise.

I'd like to say as she gets older it will get easier. I used to think that. Nope your challenges just change. I just wrote on my blog yesterday that if I were to ever give advice to mom's it would be to "love your kids well. Even when things are haywire, love them well." And sweet one you are doing just that. You are an AWESOME mommy!!!

Have a Super Blessed day,

Jesse and Stacie said...

That picture of you two is sooooo cute! What a little stinker :) We'll "rescue" you over Christmas break..maybe she won't throw fits for her aunt and uncle :)

Holly said...

I'm so sorry.. those days are so long. I have those days with one of my sweet little girls and the fit can last for 1.5 hours on really bad days. On my good days, I can pray through it and ask God how to love her. The losing self control days are not so pretty. I don't know what sweet Mary is going to be like yet, but so far so good. Remember His mercies are new every morning. I also put them to bed as early as possible on those days then go to bed myself and if they get up at 5:30 atleast I am rested!

Peggy & Ron said...

Hope you girls had a marvelous day today.

~Bekah said...

omg steph, i TOTALLY get this! this is sooo how i feel and i'm not a SAHM!! i feel bad when some time the only moments i get to spend w/ her are me tryin to not lose my mind! lol..this is comforting to hear that i'm not alone in this!