Monday, July 28, 2014

Parenting is HARD, Y'all!

Parenting is hard, y'all. Like crazy hard. And there are no cliff notes, cheat sheets or short cuts. There's no borrowing your friend's notes who had the class before you...because Lord knows, the test is going to be different. Parenting is the cramming-all-night-for-days-at-a-time-and-praying-something-sticks-for-test-day kind of hard. We've planning for the boys' college funds, but it might also be wise to start putting a little aside for therapy because I'm certain I'm messing them up somehow. 

NOTE: Now would probably be an appropriate time to apologize to my own parents for all the pain and agony I caused them growing up...who am I kidding - that I'm still causing them!

Seriously though. Parenting is probably the most difficult thing I've ever done...and my boys are just seven and four. For goodness sakes, we haven't even hit the teen years. And I think one thing that makes parenting so difficult is that there is no end. With a project or a task or a renovation or whatever else it is you're tackling, there's an end. A clearly defined moment when you can step back and declare (hopefully, triumphantly!) "IT IS FINISHED!" But I think we'll be parenting in some form or fashion until we reach those pearly gates. 

And I'll be honest, there are moments when I think I can't possibly answer one more question or pick up one more toy or match one more pair of socks. My fruit of the spirit basket is just plain empty, y'all...and it feels like the off-season for all things fruity. I can't possibly intervene in one more argument or explain why it's not ok to leave  dirty dishes in the sink one more time. Wait - that last one is for the "Marriage is hard, y'all!" post! #loveyouhoney

But then - in the midst of the chaos and crazy - God moments happen. There are little glimpses of heaven in their smiles or their laughs or the kind words they say or the compassionate acts I am blessed enough to see. They happen when I least expect them and oftentimes I miss them until later when I'm falling into bed reflecting on the day. But they are there.

A few nights ago, we were herding our little buffalo to bed - and well past a respectable bedtime for a seven and four year old, mind you. I had been "working from home" <insert hysterical laughter here> with the boys most of the day. We'd been to eat dinner where their table manners and overall behavior left much to be desired. And then - just because I am totally insane and like to torture myself - I thought a "quick" trip to pick up a "few things" at the grocery store would be a good idea. Oh my stars! By the time we reached the checkout, I was ready offer them to the next person who commented on "how cute" they were. I'm kidding...mostly.

Thankfully, I was able to sneak away to run a few miles before the sun went down to recompose myself as we made our final approach toward bedtime. But by the time we actually started toward the bed, everyone was in a funk...and I do mean EVERYONE and I do mean FUNK.

I finally got Riley into bed. He could tell I was exasperated...he's smart like that.

Riley: "Mom, I don't want to cuddle tonight."

Me: "What? Why? Are you pouting because you got in trouble?"

Riley: "No...I just don't deserve to get to cuddle."

<Insert mama's heart breaking here.>

What an amazing moment to teach Riley what GRACE looks cuddle that sweet baby boy until he pushes me away (because he's starting to do that now, you know). And to let him know that no amount of terrible table manners, smart-mouthed back talking or bullying his little brother could make me love him any less or want to lavish any fewer cuddles on him. Cuddles at bedtime are an act of love - of me expressing my love for him - and his behavior doesn't change my love for him (just my blood pressure!). Cuddles are the good stuff that end a long day and make all the yuck and the craziness from it disappear. Cuddles are the unspoken "I love you" that we all need sometimes. Cuddles are the bomb, y'all.

The really cool thing about that moment? If I feel that way about him...isn't it mind blowing to think about how much more our heavenly Father wants to pour out His amazing and unconditional love on us? Overwhelming to think about the joy He finds in giving us fantastic blessings - undeserved blessings?

So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.
Matthew 7:11 (NLT)

So bring on those cuddles, sweet Jesus! Wrap me up in Your arms and let Your grace wash over me when I've been a terrible mom/wife/daughter/sister/aunt/friend/person in general. Let me know that YOU still love me - even when I don't deserve it. Cuddle me until I am secure in Your love and know You are sovereign over all the yuck and are working Your blessings into my mess in Your time. Thank you, Lord, for these wild little boys...and for the lessons they bring.

Oh, the parenting lessons! They are really God lessons...perfectly disguised in little boys with no manners or concept of acceptable voice volume.

Has God given you a lesson through the little people in your life? I'd love for you to share it in the comments!


  1. Beautiful, Beautiful friend! Thanks for sharing. You spoke what is on so many of our hearts!!

  2. Aww, thanks, sweet friend! My little men keep me humble, that's for sure! :)