The other day, I was working on my daughter’s hair, marveling at her ability to sit still and tolerate the pulling and tugging without screaming, melting down and fighting me. I was thinking back to how well she tolerated change in plans over the weekend when we were travelling and in a hotel…..and when the answer was “no” there was only a pouty face for a minute and then an ability to accept that “no” and move on. Whoa.
I am so, so proud of this girl. She has come so far from the wild, unmanageable and disruptive toddler and preschooler. We used to have to walk on egg shells around her all the time, waiting for the next outburst, rage, tantrum……and now we do a version of normal that I find absolutely wonderful. Praise the Lord. Seriously……praise the Lord for seeing us through those hard days, and giving us just enough compassion and endurance and patience. What changed?
Lots of things changed, beginning with me. I decided to ask for help and admit that I was in over my head. My previous parenting experience was not enough this time. I needed fresh insight. We did good connected parenting therapy locally and learned about the mind and stress and triggers and how to connect more than we correct. I humbled myself and took some anxiety meds for a season to take the edge off of my fragile nerves so that I could do my best job at mothering. We had a psychiatric and wholistic evaluation done by a professional who specializes in children….and received the diagnoses we knew was coming, and the correct medicine to treat it. Most of all……I let go of my expectation, and my waiting for things to get better. I stopped telling myself “when we hit age 1, when we get out of diapers, when we get to preschool…..when we get to school…….” and just accepted that things might not get better. I grieved that for a bit because I had taken comfort in telling myself that eventually it would get better. I stopped praying that God would heal my child……or change her. I started praising Him for her, just the way she was……and I asked Him to help me love her and accept her just the way she was, not as I hoped she would become. Those prayers were prayed with tears and a head bowed low in submission to His will, a yielding of my own.
Quietly, and slowly, like dawn…….things began to get better. She got better. We got better. I got…..better. I can say with certainty that things are better now. Stable. More predictable. More manageable in our home. We don’t crunch egg shells under our feet any more and when the storms do come, we are surprised a bit…..caught off gaurd. We are doing much, much better.
Not every family gets to say that things get better. I had decided they would not for us…..but in yielding to that…..there was some freedom and maybe some chains actually broke off with my tears. Be encouraged mothers and fathers of hard, hard kids. God is with us in this journey. He cares. He listens. He sees every tear that falls and every moment we are falling short and He is with us in it every single day. If you do notice that things get better, for a season, take note of that and praise Him for it…..and tell others so that we can celebrate the good days together!