God, Grace, and Gratitude

Being a mother brings out both the best and worst in me, especially during this time of saying goodbyes, navigating airports, and realizing just how much work needs to go into our new home. Sometimes all I want to do is lounge around, replenishing my tired body with a good book and a great nap. My two-
year-old has other plans.

And while I have this odd urge to argue with a toddler about why Mommy deserves a little time out, she comes up to me, eyes smiling and head tilted, and tells me she wants to cuddle. Nothing more. Just to feel our hearts connecting. She is giving me all the love in the world, yet she is blissfully unaware that she’s also giving me an attitude adjustment of elephantine proportions. 

I don’t deserve her. I love her, more than absolutely anything on this green earth. But I don’t deserve her. When she has sleepless nights, the next day turns into crying fits, tantrums, and back talking. And I lose it. I raise my voice, I give in, I ignore, I bribe, and I tell myself I can’t wait for bedtime. How utterly selfish. 

Parents, especially those living in the land of “Terrible Two’s” and “Threenagers” deserve a break just as we all do. But during the trying, hair-pulling, fighting days, I wish them away. I subconsciously beg for time to magically speed up. Or for someone to develop an organic baby Xanax. And just when the Toddler Gods throw me a bone and send her off to sleep, and I’m finally left alone with my thoughts, I think of all the people out there who would kill for what I have. 

All the couples who have tried to get pregnant to no avail. I think of my best friend Jessica, who tried and tried and tried to get pregnant, and all she got were nervous thoughts and doctors appointments. It took her and her husband months before those precious and sought after two pink lines came into view. All it took for me and my husband was a couple of beers and newlywed bliss for Sofia to show up. 

I think of all the couples who save up every penny they have or take out a loan to go through IVF. The couples who have been on adoption waiting lists for years. The couples who sit through hormone injections. The couples who hear the words “I’m sorry, but…” come out of their doctor’s mouths before all the sound that surrounds them swallows them whole. They would kill for my sleepless nights. They would kill for temper tantrums. They would kill for saggy boobs and stretch marks. They would gladly step in and take care of a baby who did nothing but show defiance. They would easily punch me in the face for praying for bedtime. 

It’s time to start living in the moments of these battles. Handling (almost) every temper tantrum with grace because, oddly enough, we’ll miss that one day. Now is the moment for greatfulness to take the front seat. Turning a new leaf in motherhood, and starting each day with the “Three G’s”: God, grace, and gratitude. 

I may only be able to write this with one eye open at a time, eyelids heavy with sleep deprivation and day old eyeshadow, because my child has demanded she stay up all night and explore her new home and Mommy is on the verge of passing out cold on the kitchen floor. And I may not remember writing a lick of this tomorrow. But I’m grateful for this sleepless night. They aren’t going to stick around forever. Although these baggy under eyes probably will.

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