Monday, August 17

that, this

It's 1:30 A.M. and I just had another run-in with Alexis. It's the whining that gets me, you know? Despite our attempts to teach her to ask first, before a whining tone ever enters her voice, she hasn't learned. Rarely does she ask us to do anything without first whining or crying, and I just can't handle that. So tonight in my half asleep, irritable state I lost it. I was unable to deal with her, Jeremy had to get up and I wanted nothing more than to hang a punching bag in my garage and have at it. Instead I just lay in bed crying out of sheer frustration and anger. I wanted to blame her for our encounter, but I knew that wasn't fair. All the questions I had about her I had to turn on myself. Why am I the way I am? Why do I have to be stubborn? Why do I have to make things difficult? Why can't I just let it go? And those questions lead to more. Why do I fall short so often? Why is parenthood so hard for me? Why is it so, so hard? As I questioned myself my thoughts turned to comparing my emotions of tonight, and my emotions of this same time 5 years ago.

Five years ago I was expecting my first child, my first little girl. I was past my due date, which means I was miserable, excited, uncomfortable, excited, curious, anxious and excited. I could not wait to meet the child I had been carrying for 9 months! At the time it never crossed my mind that I would have any kind of challenges as a mother. I'm sure it never occurred to me that the task I was about to be given would be the hardest and most humbling thing I'd ever be given.

Before having Alexis, I never gave much thought to the kind of person she would be--I'm sure I just figured she would be like me. Well, in a way, she is like me. She is all the parts of me that I don't yet understand--she is my stubbornness that I never knew I had, and she is my emotional side, the one I've tried to claim I don't have. As I struggle tonight with these parts of her, and of me, I remember the love I had for her 5 years ago. There's no doubt that I loved her then, despite having never seen her, heard her, or held her, but that love was naive and untested. That love was just a baby compared to what it is now.

5 years with Alexis has allowed me to feel the whole gamut of emotions. I'm unable to even express what 5 years with her has been like, what 5 years with her has done to my mind, my body, and my heart. Some days I'm not sure if I will survive another 5 years with her, but I know she's worth it. I know that I am the most blessed person out there for getting to call Alexis my daughter. She has the power to change minds, change hearts and change people. She has made me better in many ways, either by her example, by her sheer force, or by simply showing me my weaknesses. The love I started out with 5 years ago has been tested and is no longer a baby love. It's an experienced love that makes me get up and try again, day after day. It's a love that pushes the walls of my heart to bursting. It's a love that encourages me to do better, to answer those hard questions about myself so that I can be better, for her. In the words of Collin Raye, that {love} was a river, this {love} is an ocean. That never carried this much emotion.

And it's that love that will take me into her room now, to kiss her sleeping head. It's that love that has pushed away the anger and frustration that was in my heart. After all, I get to wake up to this:

A joyful creature who is brimming with creativity, curiosity, tenderness and love. More so than anyone else I have ever met.


Mary said...

I can really identify with this post - all of the feelings that you describe. It is for certain that we had no idea what we were signing up for when we became parents - on both ends! I didn't know the immense unexplainable love and pride and tenderness that I would feel, but I also had no idea how challenging it would be at times. It's easy to think that parenthood is easy before actually becoming a parent, don't you think? But, anyway, I can relate. There are some days when the minute Josh walks in the door I tell him to take over for a few minutes because I just need a break before I lose it!

Scooby and Jon said...

Beautifully put. Thank you for reminding me why I put up with babies who wake up every hour all. night. long.

Jessica Munk said...

I totally agree. Lately I haven't been so good with words. But ditto. Why is it SOOO hard?!

lindseyj said...

I love this post Lisa. And yes, Alexis is an amazing little girl ;)

Ashlee said...

you say things so perfectly!

Cindy said...

...and because you are such a wonderful, special mother, you feel this way. It's hard, yes, but the day will come when you will forget how hard it was and will be just wonderfully grateful to be a mother in zion!
I remember one time when I was in the middle of all the kids and I thought about Grandma Thayne and the fact that she had 8 children and she was still sane!!! It was amazing to me, but gave me hope that I could make it too!
Alexis is blessed to have you and are the BEST parents ever for her!
Hang in there.........this too shall pass!
Love you!

Becky said...

You are such a beautiful writer and put into words what each of us as a mother battle with! Your posts make me remember why I do it too and word it so much better than I ever could!