After two years of “trying” and fertility meds and injections and ultrasounds and blood draws and prayer and cautious hope, we saw the + sign on the stick. It was the last day of my job at Mars Hill Bible Church. Perhaps a confirmation from above that my decision to resign was the right one. The celebration and elation and dreaming began. The four months of “all day sickness,” an ulcer that led to Darvocet pills, months of numb taste buds, the gradual weight gain that every woman despises, the restless and ever uncomfortable nights, and the waning energy all ended with a sum of 40 weeks growing the life inside of me. Mysterious, miraculous, unbelievable.
And then we heard, “It’s a girl!” and we named her Skyla Rae. Our hearts were soaring and melting all in the same breath. She was all ours.
The first year…a breeze. Besides the regular adjustment to having a baby in our life, the days and nights were filled with good sleep and eager anticipation of who she would be and what she would become. It still is. We’ve never lost sight of that.
And then…she turned one.
However the DNA gets transferred, whatever personality traits are inherited or learned, Skyla has become one of the most independent, feisty, determined, strong-willed, sassy, energetic, adorable, hilarious, entertaining and loveable little girls…until she doesn’t get her way.
The last two years have brought out the best in me and the worst in me. And she’s only been in the world 41 months.
I talk to other moms. We share stories. Over and over again, it consistently seems like Skyla is different – a bit more complex to parent. But then, out of the blue, I hear a mom or dad who begin describing their child in ways that it’s scary to hear how similar they are to Skyla. The push back, the determination, the energy, the sensitivity, the mood swings, the drama, the “I have to do it my way,” the constant verbal processing, the shockingly brilliant way she can synthesize the information that goes into her brain, the incredible and detailed memory, the flip that can switch “on” and “off” in a heartbeat, the inability to stay in bed, the seemingly high beta waves, the intensity…all the things that make this season feel really hard. All the things that question if you’re a good parent or not. All the things that at the end of the day feel so draining and exhausting and seemingly suck out all the good your body holds. It’s then when you feel like somebody gets you. You feel connected. You feel heard. There’s an empathy and understanding rather than a comparison or memory. Many moms offer their encouragement by saying, “Oh, yeah…I remember those days!” But there’s something different, something unique, something that’s really hard to explain unless you’re in it with this type of child.
And so, at times I find myself and my spirit a bit deflated and really, really, really tired. There are even days that I would tell you that my spirit feels sort of crushed. Sometimes it’s a result of having it be challenged and pushed on all day. Sometimes it’s a result of my own guilt. There are those days that I find I’m losing hope in myself and my ability. That doesn’t feel good. I hate saying that. I remind myself that I’m being consistent and following through and providing structure and nurture and delight, yet I continuously wonder, “What am I missing? What’s the combination that will unlock her little spirit? Why does this feel so hard? Does anyone really care what my day is like? Am I just not cut out for this toddler stage? Will this end or does it just get harder in different ways?”
I’m weary of it feeling so hard.
And so, on the days when my tears leak out and my heart is aching for this season to be over, I try to offer my weakness and feelings of futility up…up to the one who possesses the strength for me to draw on. Some days, I forget to ask. Some days I don’t want to ask. Some days I don’t have the strength to ask. Some days I cuss. Some days I’m just plain mad.
And then there are these moments, like the one we had tonight. The music is playing, the lights are off, the flashlights are on…and she’s dancing. She unabashedly wants us to “see” her and notice her and delight in her. And we do.
It’s one of the moments when you forget a little about how hard almost every minute can seem.
It’s one of those moments when you catch your breath and know that everything’s going to be OK.
It’s one of those moments that you remember who she is…who you are…and that you’re going to get through this.
It’s one of those moments when you see Jesus right in front of you.
I don’t want to miss those moments.
The song we had playing tonight was This Little Light of Mine by Addison Road. It touched the little girl in me. It touched the places of my soul that believes in fighting for what’s good and true in my little girl, Skyla…and in me. Sometimes I have to open my eyes to see the light. And when I do, I remember…who I am and who she is.
I share your joy…the way your hearts soar at the sights and sounds and movements of your children.
I share your heartache…the way your hearts perhaps feel a bit crushed and deflated and weary.
May we see the light within us to keep going and going and going.
May we see the light in our children so we never forget whose child they are.
May we keep believing that what feels so hard right now will someday be an asset. Someday.
I invite you to listen…This Little Light of Mine