When a set of grandparents takes the kiddos for a few days, you begin to remember certain things. Like, for example, how to have a complete thought. As well as how to use the restroom by yourself.
But getting that little bit of space, even for a couple of days, has helped put some perspective back into this tricky business of raising little humans. There have been 2 things I’ve been questioning myself (Lorelei) on lately.
The first, is if we are doing alright by our sweet but strong willed daughter. When, after what I think is a simple request or a routine transition through the day, I hear, with all the conviction she can muster “No! NEVER! I will never do what you say!” or some variation of that every couple of days, followed by a big To Do of the screaming and Time Out sort, it kind of shakes your mojo.
I’m sometimes far too quick to be like “I basically have a Masters Degree in Child Development since I’m a teacher, so this mothering thing should be far easier for me than it is for other mere mortals. Bwahahaha.” And then something like that happens, and I’m like “ohmygoodness I actually have no clue what I am doing here.”
The second, is my wondering and hoping that we are setting a strong example of living out our faith within our own lives and our family life, so our kids will have a firm foundation to stand on when they get older and life is no longer as simple as it is when one is a child. That, probably, is one of our biggest ‘burdens’ as parents- hoping that our children find the same peace we have found in our faith for themselves long term.
In addressing my first concern, JP and I have been able to talk the past few days about things, and it turns out Felicity is a lot like JP was when he was smaller. So there is hope that, if that strong will gets channelled well, then she will turn out totally awesome, like her dad. 😉 But I can also see the pattern of our consistency with her, which I have to believe will work for her benefit in the long run. And, in this space of an empty house, I am able to reflect and see the many moments when she does show cooperation, helpfulness, or even selflessness. Those moments are often quieter than the moments of rebellion, but they for sure are there. Like, when she used her quiet time a couple weeks back to legitimately clean up the tornado of toys strewn all over the upstairs without being asked. Or, when she gives a friend she hardly ever sees a special toy of hers to keep to remember her by. Or when she plays thoughtfully with her little brother, who follows her around like she’s the best thing ever. Those beautiful and kind moments are there, just like the loud and difficult ones. But I needed this peace and space to be able to see them in balance and regain my perspective.
My second concern has been a big prayer request of mine for the past few months. I so desire for our children to be able to live their lives in the beauty of our faith. And within this space I’ve had the past few days, I can recognize that some small things have been happening. Things that let me know they are watching us, and absorbing what we do. Moments when Lissie prays for our neighbor to feel better. Walking into Mass on Sunday and seeing Auggie genuflect clumsily on his little toddler knees before coming in the pew, just like the rest of us. I know he’s copying our movement at the moment, but that habit will lead to discussions with him, as it already does with Lissie, about why we kneel, and what that means for our faith down the road. The kiddos have also been pretending to distribute Communion to JP and I, using little leaves, and they store those leaves in, of all things, a treasure chest. At some level, even now, they understand the importance of Communion, even though they see it only once a week. They are even imitating the tabernacle with their little treasure chest- they realize the Body of Christ belongs in a special place. It’s a start.
Handfuls of other little things flood my mind in this quiet place, and I see that our kids are indeed picking up on the habits of our faith, and that Felicity is asking questions and discussing with us the implications of all that we do in her desire to understand them better. Felicity understands that we are so thankful for Jesus, and so thankful for the gift of being able to live out our faith in the Catholic Church. And she is participating more and more as she is able, as is her little brother. And seeing that pattern warms this momma’s heart.
Ultimately, I know I don’t have total control in how much any of this sticks long-term. One of my most frequent prayers is that my children, and their children, and on and on for generations would live life through faith in Jesus. Yes, they have their own wills, but prayer is also so important in the lives of our little ones. As is our example.
After this little breather we’ve had the past couple of days, it’s helped reaffirm to me that we are on a good path. And, that even through the tricky parts of tricky days, grace is abundant, and there is indeed beauty amidst what all too often feels like chaos. Perspective is a beautiful thing. But so is having the kids around. It’s weird without kissing their sleeping faces before I go to bed around here. What’s all this nonsense about JP and I watching Netflix without someone coming down and asking for milk? Ha ha ha. It’s been nice, but one gets used to one’s little people doing their little people things, and the rhythm is definitely different without them.
Now I’m about to sneak in a few more moments of quiet before they return home and snuggle me like crazy, which I am more than ready for. And, by the grace of God I shall live to complete more thoughts and ponder about life and use the restroom by myself again another day. 🙂