Being a parent isn’t for the faint of heart. Even though you know your end reward of raising one of God’s treasured creations is invaluable, the phrase “the days are long” is 100 percent accurate. The days ARE long… and filled with diaper blowouts, lack of sleep, ongoing neediness, inability for alone time, and tons of temper tantrums. No matter how picture perfect a family may be, I guarantee each tackle their fair share of these on a daily basis.
So, while the constants may remain similar family-to-family, how they are dealt with is what differs. I like to think I’m a calm, cool and collected parent, but after yesterday’s dentist meltdown with my oldest, I think I need to be honest with myself in saying some days that’s far from the truth. I am not proud of the fact that I can’t keep a cool and level head every moment of my parenting journey, but I’m real and what comes with that is some real unhappiness with a kiddo throwing a temper tantrum over such small situations.
When I was a kid all my mom had to do was give me the look and I caved, stopping whatever I was doing to obey her. But apparently I didn’t inherit the strength of the look because my kiddo mocks it. In fact, I haven’t figured out what does work besides taking away things that my child values as a form of punishment when situations like this occur. And this week, the only thing that excites him is vacation bible school. So last night, I threatened to take that away.
All day after the dentist situation, I was angry. Angry at his attitude. Angry at mine. Angry that last night was Sondae night (ice-cream sundaes that is!) and I was holding him back from going. I was just angry all around. And what’s a girl to do when you can’t shake that anger than do a little pampering. So I went to get a much-needed haircut.
I’ve frequented my hairdresser for over 7 years now so we’ve become buddies. She’s watched me grown three babies and listened to many a woe. I’m sure she deserves more than any tip I could give for the therapy that has come along with a good hair shape-up. And last night was like all the rest in that arena.
I shared my frustrations in life and challenges I was trying to work through much larger than the dentist debacle. She shared her challenges too. We talked about her recent vacation and how much her soul not only needed the sand from Hawaii and the glaciers from Alaska (I know, I wish I could have been a stowaway), but it also was given time to be still. She found peace those weeks away from her normalcy and it allowed her to see her path in a new way.
She looked like she had a new pep to her step and as I smiled, I was secretively jealous that she had found something I’ve been looking for. When would I find my peace? How could I find enough quiet time to breathe, to pray, to think so I could know? I realized in our chat that in my life I’ve been re-acting not pro-acting. I’ve been doing what I’m supposed to do but not living along the way. Really living. I’m fulfilled, don’t get me wrong, but without perspective you’re not fully filled. Not to the brim. Not runneth over.
I couldn’t figure out how to get there but my therapy haircut cracked the shell, paving the way a bit. Between our giggles about funny stories, my hairdresser shared that she may have found perspective that day, but not all days are easy, Some are really hard, and when she comes across those days, she had a tip that she was eager to share… and I was eager to hear! She said she pulls out a piece of paper those mornings and writes 5 things she’s grateful for. Some profound… others simplistic. All important none the less. And as the day goes on she clutches to those things for she’s learned that our brain is a powerful tool – but doesn’t have the capacity to be grateful and angry at the same time. Just isn’t possible. So she left me with the challenge to live a life of gratitude; the rest will come.
Great advice and good food for thought, so I decided to cave in and let my son go to vacation bible school, clutching to the gratefulness I had for him enjoying something so meaningful. I dropped him off, still frustrated by the day, but happy that he felt like he was at home in our little church with new friends he had made. With church only a few miles from home, I decided to take it slow as I head home before it was time to pick him up.
It randomly started to rain. Each drop came out of nowhere. A few dark clouds were evident, but that was expected as night was approaching. I listened to the drops as they begun to take on a steady repetitive beat. It was soothing. My soul needed it. As I looked forward on the road, I saw the sun beautifully setting behind the clouds and a rain-free setting in the not so far distance. A beautiful rainbow glistened as it if was critical to capture my attention.
But my house required a turn and instead of heading into the sunset, I found myself going deeper into the rain. The drops grew in size and the pitter patter increased. In fact, the stronger it got the less I could hear myself think. It was relaxing; so relaxing. The dichotomy of loudness as the rain hit my car roof alongside the peace that was calming my soul was unexpected yet so welcomed. As I drove deeper into the rain, I continued to keep the rainbow in my eyesight.
Symbolic of my life, I suppose. Deep in the trenches of the constant downpour, daily and from every angle. The pitter patter of life however isn’t calming as I never allow myself to take time to just think or not think and just be. When I’m deep in my downpours I can’t see beyond the rain that is causing my hair to go limp and my soul to as well.
But last night I noticed that no matter how deep into the rain I got, the rainbow didn’t go away. It was as constant as the raindrops on my roof, yet it was more beautiful and more promising. As I stared at it, I recalled that you can’t have a rainbow without rain. You can’t celebrate the good without knowing the bad. You’re never truly happy until you know what the absence of happy feels like.
The rain is a critical process of life, yet I remembered that with ever drop that falls, God always is the rainbow in the not so distant future. He’s positioned over the trees ever so slightly so you can get a glimpse when you need to take a moment to allow yourself to know that you can and will get through this. Through Him.
The sun will come. The rain will stop. Good days and smiles are ahead. We are destined to find ourselves again as our souls wont settles until we take time to pause and listen to that which stirs deep within. So I tell you when I needed to hear myself yesterday. If you’re in a downpour, it’s for a reason. Don’t let the rain happen to you, but rather let it happen for you. Let it give you what you need to fuel your passion and help you grow stronger because when you get through, and you will my friend, you will be better poised to fulfill His purpose.
Last night I only needed to be grateful for one thing. The rainbow.