Our toddler was just two. Sobbing, heartbroken as I slammed the bedroom door. Her on one side. I on the other. Shutting her out. Emphasizing my displeasure.
I was angry. Weary. Exhausted.
Our newborn had chronic reflux, which meant I could not put her down until 11:30 pm or she’d invariably rouse, uncomfortable, moments later.
So nightly we’d sit, our newborn and I, on an exercise ball. She, held tight by my sling, would eventually sooth as the bouncing eased her discomfort.
If her pain was especially great we’d bounce in big, powerful high arcs, which seemed to afford some relief. As her pain subsided, her wailing would turn to a quiet whimper, and I would slow to an easy, gentle motion.
Even so, to lay her down was to risk starting the whole, agonizing process over. I rarely risked it. Instead, I’d learned to wait until 11:30 pm, when I could reliably put her to bed without her waking again. At least not until 5:00 am.
Those were incredibly difficult days. Stretched thin and desperate for sleep I had, on this horrible door-slamming day, lost my temper with our oldest for waking the baby from her afternoon nap.
I think of this moment when my dear friend Heather shares, “I’m proud of myself for being, during my mothering, present, purposeful, brave, committed and consistent. I have a few regrets, but not very many.”
Few regrets. Could I say the same thing? Maybe. But one thing I know for sure, that moment with our oldest still haunts me.
What is especially painful is that I can’t quite remember what I did after I slammed the door. Did I immediately open it again, scoop her in my arms and, crying my own tears, tell her I was sorry? I don’t know. I hope so.
Then Heather adds something that speaks healing to me.
“We are all on a journey, all of us learning along the way. My children and myself.”
So, if you’re like me and have a parenting moment that haunts you, may I encourage you to remember you too are on a journey. Be kind to your tender mama-heart. Remember where God has led you well in your parenting. Remember where He has been victorious in your child’s life and be confident of this: He who began a good work in your son, your daughter is faithful to complete it.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.Psalm 147:3