Parenthood is amazing. I’ll start there. You go to bed one night as round and filled up with life as you can possibly imagine, and the next day, you give birth to an entire human being. And the process only takes nine-ish months. From something invisible to the naked eye to a miniature, life-filled, totally dependent and perfectly yours little babe in less than one year. Boom. Welcome to the world of parenthood.
At first, everything is new and unfamiliar–beautiful and groggy and kind of sleepy-ish as you muddle through late night wake ups and practically ’round the clock feedings. And despite the lack of sleep and sensibility in this new season, there is absolutely nothing else like snuggling the tiny person you helped to create…the one who has your nose or chin–who wrinkles up his or her forehead “just like daddy” and giggles “just like mommy” as the weeks and months go on. Life stays miraculous at three months, six months, nine, a year. And it keeps on going, straight into the world of toddling and teething, walking, running, talking, discovering. When you’re parenting for the first time, every first for them is a first for you, too. And sometimes the firsts are crazy-wonderful, and sometimes they’re hard as can be. You find yourself trouble-shooting often, praying constantly, and in moments, holding your head in your hands as you try to muster up the energy and patience and love to do this parenting thing all over again in T-minus 10 hours (or however long your little one sleeps). And you can do it, sure, and you won’t run out of the ability to try again, but man is it hard some days. In our case as of late, man is it hard most nights.
At two years old, our munchkin is facing a nightly fear of trains. During the day, he loves them, but at night, he is terrified. We don’t live on top of train tracks or anything, but even a mile or two away, a train sounds louder than life to us when the little one is trying to fall asleep. He talks about trains. He shares his fear openly and unabashedly, which I admire and appreciate. But try as we might, no amount of praying, reasoning, encouraging, or creativity has cracked the code on our train dilemma, and to be honest, this mom and dad are tired. The fear of trains welling up in the evenings means super late nights and often an extra hour or more of awake time for our little one at the end of the day. Just when we’re ready to wind down and relax for a bit, or to take care of the last few items on the to do list, a train goes by. The hysterics begin. Our “parenthood” comes alive–real, tangible, exhausting, at the end of already long days. We look at each other with a sense of weary understanding, gathering ourselves up on the same team to combat the big, bad train issue. And we take turns heading upstairs to our panicky boy.
Parenthood is incredible, but it is most certainly not easy. We know that we could be dealing with a world of much greater turmoil and strife as parents–and we’re so thankful that’s not the case. But this is a rough season in its own right. Dad has often worked a long day. Mom is 26 weeks pregnant and growing. It’s 85 outside, and everyone is just plain hot and tired by the end of it all. Not to mention our sweet little man…worried and unable to separate fear from reality at this young age, he falls asleep at night only when mom or dad is there to calm and convince and protect. We’ll get through it I’m sure. But in the meantime, I’m adopting the familiar mantra from The Little Engine that Could: I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. We all can. Somehow God equips in the moment, and not a minute before in this case. And He fills up my tank afresh in the morning to look parenthood straight in the eyes another day. Praying for a fresh anointing of peace (and rest!) for all in this house as we weather the latest adventure.
puff, puff, puff. chug, chug, chug. thanks for the inspiration, little blue!