There was a time when those little foot steps would stiffen my spine, for it was not time for anyone to be up yet; the morning hour that was my time before the household awoke. A time so vital to me because otherwise, giving of myself all day long, I may have felt I had given up a part of myself. Constantly pouring out, determined to fill back up.
No harm intended. I loved my children and life desperately. Yet, do we really know all that drives us until the hard and the deep drives it out? And what I have found about parenting over the years is that the highs and the lows of parenting drives the very best and the very worst out of us. We see the broader spectrum of what we're really made of.
I can recall the struggles to keep Alexa in bed at night, just around three years ago, when she was in her two's and three's. And although we have a special relationship, I wish I had spent more time with her then - snuggled with her and searched her heart more during those nights. The things I am more consciensious of now.
Her father and I simply looked at it as a habit to break, yet none of the strategies that worked for her older brother worked for her and it became a source of frustration to us. However, time would tell that she was nothing like her brother and that more discipline was not what was needed. More quality time, patience, love and affection would prove to be the antidote. One we can sometimes be too stubborn to notice.
But a child's heart, manifested by their behavior, is not a habit to be broken. It is to be discovered. And if we relentlessly try to break the habit, will we eventually break the heart?
This process of parentng is changing me. Dying a little more to myself all of the time, wiggling my heel out of the mud of my stubbornness and digging into the individual lives and hearts of these children.
It's a constant intentional choice to move forward, grow, and change - choosing to open the blanket, choosing to sit at a bedside. Otherwise I'm falling backward - falling into old patterns of self-preservation.
But can I intentionally dig in and press forward if I'm not willing to look at the hard of parenting, willing to be changed by it? If I insist on them fitting into our mold, simply obeying our rules?
Those random nights now with Alexa are the nights that she will share her heart as I sit a while at her bedside, when she'll talk about school and the things she won't talk about during the day, and it's the setting I foresee she'll have the hard and deep talks with me as she grows. Oh, please! May I be willing to change! To miss that would be to miss everything that really matters.
Fast asleep next to me now, I've grown accustomed to Drew's little body pressed into mine and his breathing that accompanies my prayer and my time is turning into who I can share it with and my life is turning into who I can give it to. And I'm realizing more and more that this is what it really means to live life to the full.
I'll be focusing on intentional living over the next weeks. I hope you'll join the conversation so that, together, we can persevere in our challenges and encourage one another!
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