“Here comes the harder part of parenting,” Faith said. “We can’t just love her unconditionally anymore.”
Anne’s birthday went by with me being in a semi-comatose state most of the day. She didn’t sleep very well the night before, which equated to me pretty much not getting any sleep at all. Throw in the side-effects of my thyroid medication, some balloons, tinsel, a house full of people and some cake, you can only imagine the kind of reality-bending nausea I carried around.
Remember the trailer of the movie X-Men? Where Patrick Stewart talks about how evolution occurs slowly, but every million or so years takes a giant leap forward? He was probably talking about Anne on her birthday.
Somehow this young girl, who’d already been learning things at breakneck speed, transformed from relatively good-natured baby to spoilt brat in a single day. She screams for what she wants, complete with tears, ear piercing shrieks that threaten to tear her vocal chords. She contorts her body into impossibly uncarriable positions, slipping out of your grasp so she can scoot to wherever she wants to go.
It’s like Day Three again, only this time it’s intentional.
It is so tiring to be at wits end numerous times in a single day. To be rendered so helpless at the whim and fancy of a mad-woman who just turned one. And oddly enough, I’m thankful that I didn’t marry a Mother Teresa; Faith understands how I feel and feels the same way. It might have been easier if one of us possessed infinite patience, but the loneliness would have torn us apart. Thank God for companionship, even in weakness.
Faith tells me this is a difficult time in parenting because Anne now makes up her own mind about things but is unable to communicate any of it to us. So she resorts to kicking, screaming and yelling. The rationale makes it a little more bearable I guess. But this time is a time as good as any to come humbly before our God and acknowledge that we really do need help.
The act of parenting is probably the oldest, most practiced activity mankind has ever partaken of, and yet we haven’t mastered it. Truth be told, it’s so easy to screw up.
It is so easy to hit a child in anger, or say words you never should have said. But you said it because you meant it at that time; because deep inside you’re a mess, and a little pressure applied from a one year old is enough to reveal all that.
I need help, God. I can’t do this on my own. I know that now.