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Monday, March 14, 2016

The one where The Man Child tried his hand at modeling for his mom

Kinda totally unrelated to The Man Child and these photos...
One of the children who shall remain nameless, (ironically her name rhymes with stress) was having a bad day.
Kids are different.
I know that kids are different, and thus some kiddos are harder to raise than others, but still...
I used to think it was my fault that I had a tough-to-raise kiddo. Or a few of them.The kind that learns to climb 5' block walls barefoot at the age of 3. Or the typo of kiddo that doesn't really care if they are grounded or not. Or the one that runs away protesting your shortcomings in detail to your neighbors. Or the kiddo that tantrums, screaming loudly with snot running down his face in pubic without a care in the world about who sees it. I used to think I did something wrong or missed doing something right. Maybe I did both, but now I'm old enough to have 92 cumulative years of parenting under my belt, (It makes me feel smarter to add all the years cumulatively so just let me, kay?) and really appreciate that kids really do come out of the womb different and through no fault of my own that makes some of them harder to raise than others.
But like I said this kiddo was having a particularly bad day. I don't remember what triggered it, but things were said. Things were broken. And the hours passed. The bad days for this child are fewer and father between, but they still happen. And when they do she digs her heels in hard and doesn't let go. 
So after about 6 hours of everyone in the house walking on eggshells, I pulled an old mama-of-kids-from-hard-places trick out of my hat and decided it was time to completely change the setting in hopes that it would change her mood and help her out of the whirlwind of self destruction she seemed to be stuck in. Just the two of us got out of the house, into the car, and I rolled the windows down and played the music loud as we drove down the road. That usually does it. But not this time. The shrieking continued.

So we went to the UPS store to drop off a package and had to interact with the worker behind the counter. Sometimes that does it. But no, it still wasn't working.

So we went to the grocery store and pick up a few non-essentials. She hid behind my skirts while muttering really awful things. Through the dairy section. Past the Starbucks. Through the cereal isle. She repetitively tried to crash the cart into the merchandise or make the cart run over her foot. Then we got to the produce section, and she spotted the vegetables. Peppers. Baby carrots. Celery. Sugar snap peas. Her favorites.
Can we get some and take them home for dinner? 
Yep! You pick them out and put them in the cart! 
She spent 5 minutes in the produce section making her choices. And in those moments, food combined with her own power to regulate mood brought back my girl, out of her darkness and back to me.
In those moments in the middle of the produce section,  I watch the smile come back to her face and her spunky little attitude come back. I was reminded of another hard-to-parent kiddo. One who is far more grown. Taller than me. Now smarter in many ways. Amazing for the very same traits that made him so hard to parent in the first place. The stubbornness. The independence. The smarts. He is growing into these challenging character traits and turned them into the very things that make him an amazing young adult. Admirable even.

And I am reminded of something I tell my children all the time. Hard stuff isn't bad. It's just hard. Anyone can do the easy stuff. It's easy when it's easy. But when it's hard it's good and makes us better, stronger and helps up learn who we really are and what we're capable of... just like parenting. Just because parenting is hard, doesn't make it bad. I needed that reminder. Sometimes it really is hard, and sometimes I want to holler and say ugly things and throw in the towel. But it's so good not only for me, but also for my children to see me do hard things and come out of it better and stronger. Just like those hard-to-parent little ones that have now grown into hard-to-parent teenagers that are also coming out of it better and stronger.
I'm amazingly blessed to parent both seasons at the same time, to parent both young children and young adults at the same time. I see before my eyes, that with time, it really does come out okay in the end. One day you turn around and your parenting job is largely done and your influence on them practically nill. And you pray you did the hard stuff the best you could, because that's when it mattered most.


  1. goodness love this so much! I have said that exact same thing so many times, some children are easier to parent that others....does not mean you love the hard to parent less it just is what it is...hard:) Your precious Tess sounds so much like my Madeline. I also say many a time, tomorrow is a new thankful for that some days!:). Hang in there mama:)

    1. I think we've often commented on how they sound so much alike over the years. Maybe we should start comparing notes (to prepare the other) as they grow?!


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