The ups and downs of parenthood are many. They can be severe. And they can be dramatic.
The speed with which a happy, post-dinner outing for ice cream can devolve into an ice-cream-is-all-gone, no-holds-barred, everyone-the-block-wonders-why-we-are-torturing-this-poor-girl tantrum… well it is dizzying.
And when a beautiful Sunday afternoon of finger painting and running through the sprinkler melts into a puddle of tears and screams at the end of the night… well, it’s enough to make you feel like the world’s worst parent.
And it doesn’t matter much how great the preceding moments were.
The outlines of smiles fade so much faster than the tracks of tears.
The cries and screams of my unhappy little girl echo in my mind. And sometimes, the next morning after a rough night of sleep, I can’t shake ’em.
I don’t talk as much about those moments here. I know that you know that for every sweet, tender moment I write about, there is another frustrating, terrible moment to match it. Because that is life. That is what it is to raise a human.
There are lessons in those moments. Those frustrating, terrible moments. I don’t always handle them well. I don’t always set a good example. I don’t always display the patience and understanding that I pray for every morning.
But I’m working on it. And I’m getting better, despite my setbacks. Together, M and I are getting better.
In the beautiful moments and in the awful ones, we’re honing in on who we want to be as parents. How to raise her the way we want to raise her and how not to just be all talk. How to create the relationship with her that we see when we dream about the future. And how to do all of this for her little brother too.
Sometimes, the terrible moments are the better teachers. It is in those moments that we see our true selves and we see what we want or need to change. And so, be it willingly or through gritted teeth, we are grateful for those terrible moments. They show us how we need to grow.
And, of course, we are grateful for every one of those sweet, tender moments, too. Without them, we’d loose sight of what we are growing for.