Here we were. 3:30 a.m. and I can feel despair engulfing me as I envision another sleepless night. My squirming toddler refuses to settle down and the minutes tick away as time passes from 4:30 to 5:30. I grow increasingly frustrated and begin irritably
shouting saying, “Go to sleep!” My patience has grown thin as I know big sister will be up in approximately one hour and I think about the long day ahead. I can feel tears of frustration and fatigue fill my bleary eyes.
But then I start to think. Why can’t he sleep? Did he have a nightmare? Is he teething? Is he hungry? Does his tummy hurt or does he have a sore throat? The questions go on and on as my child continues to squirm and fuss without being able to communicate any of these thoughts to me.
I feel like mom blogs and moms in general are always talking about how hard it is to be a mom. And I get it. It’s hard and we’re often tired. We need to feel heard and validated. To know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel; to be reminded that we’re not alone. But in the process we often forget how truly difficult it is to be a child.
Imagine being completely and totally dependent on another human being. Imagine the frustration of not being able to care for your bodily needs or to communicate them to others. The intense emotions which fill that little body, not yet mature enough to understand or know how to control them. The fear created from a horrible nightmare that you are incapable of sharing. The insecurity of watching your mom leave and not knowing where she’s going or when (if at all) she’ll be back.
I confess, I often fail to see these things. Instead I see the child throwing yet another tantrum; the baby which clings to me to the point of claustrophobia at tines; the daughter who stubbornly refuses to take one bite of her meal. I fixate on these things, focusing on the frustration and feelings of overwhelm they create within me. And in the process I miss what lies hidden behind these reactions and behaviors.
Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.
There’s a reason Christ calls the children to his midst. He’s reminding us to slow down and stop getting so caught up in everything. To accept life for what it is and, like an infant, to acknowledge our complete dependence on Him. To focus our minds and hearts on the little people in our lives and to truly place ourselves in their shoes.
It’s day two of Daylight Savings and if your house is anything like mine there will be trying moments. But today my prayer is to see life through my children’s eyes as much as possible.To delight in the small things–a yellow flower, an airplane, or a Mickey Mouse pancake. It also means being more understanding for those meltdowns or moments of misbehavior. This doesn’t mean that I’ll cease to discipline, but that (hopefully) I’ll do so with greater love and compassion.
Here’s to the Little Ones and all that they teach us,