Dear Mother of the Difficult Child…

Dear Mother of the difficult child

It’s almost Mother’s Day. I know that because of the spotify commercials mostly. Mother’s Day is a good day in this house usually. I’m of the mind that says we really should get as many Mother’s Days annually as we have children. I don’t know if I’d spread mine out so I had three a year, or use them all in one lump of a little Mother’s Day vaca. Then Mrs. Dugger could take almost an entire month off a year….and that would almost be worth 19 kids. just kidding. mostly.

But there’s always been a somber side of Mother’s Day for me, as well. I remember clearly the years my mom was a young woman in her 20’s, working several jobs and a single mom to two young children. and I have known many women that watched mother’s days pass by with empty arms.

After we miscarried, I understood another depth of Mother’s Day for others too. But, then we had our rainbow baby, which is what they call a baby born after a loss. Miss Norah was born, and her funny ways and independence add so much to our family. We love her so so much. But, Norah is difficult. Not in general, but she’s tricky to parent. She cried so much for the first year. I never understand the saying women say of “I hope you have children just like you.” I would never in a million years wish the year of Norah’s babyhood upon her.

I would sit and cry with her, feeling mostly sorry for my big girls. Pregnancies had been easy before with the first two. I didn’t have sickness or extreme fatigue or any of that stuff. But, I was on the couch almost as soon as I found out I was expecting with Norah. I stayed so tired and so nauseous the entire pregnancy. Holidays passed by without baked goods or special Christmas extras. My light at the end of the tunnel was that summer would come, and I’d have a sweet newborn, and the girls would have their mama back. And months and months passed with a baby that was never happy. I’d sit my big girls in front of a TV hoping to soothe Norah, but I couldn’t and they couldn’t hear over her. So in the back room we stayed and cried together.

and I felt so guilty. So awful because I did not enjoy my baby, even after knowing some women want desperately for a child and never have one. even after knowing what loss felt like myself.  But even still, I dreaded the sounds of her waking, and grieved over how short lived her good moods were. She’s creeping up on two years now, and “don’t poke the bear” is a common saying in our house. I still dread when I have to tell her “no” or get onto her. It must be done, of course, but I feel myself tense before I even get to it.

But this child has a purpose. God knew before she was born how we needed her. There was a Norah sized hole in our family, and though I didn’t know the trials that would come, I prayed desperately for this child. I have months worth of prayer journal entries to prove it. And though I will always miss the baby we didn’t get to meet before heaven, I am grateful for the lesson that baby taught me even without holding him or her. If it wasn’t for that brief life, I don’t know that I would know the gift that is Norah, even in those moments of darkness and desperation.

Some children have large lessons to teach, some have large lessons to learn. Some children have both. And whether that difficult child is a tiny baby with flailing arms or a teenager that breaks your heart daily, you are not alone. The same God who gives us summer and winter has given us children with their own seasons. There are lessons that will only come through the souls of those children, and it’s okay to love your child with a fierce passion and still ask God to help you love them  with gentleness, beauty, and self control. That’s part of the lesson they’ll teach, after all. Enjoy those moments of sweet belly laughs and grins as the gifts from the Lord that they are. And when they are gone, take those other moments as the opportunities to love like Him that they are.

I know I have been difficult. I have been hard to love and defiant. I have been ungrateful and apathetic. and yet, my Father has always loved me with faithfulness and sweet sensitivity, and because of that, I am aware of just what it looks like to turn to my own children with that kind of love, if I will only do so.

Happy Mother’s Day, dear mother. You deserve chocolate and kisses and flowers. Remember that it was the Lord who first instituted festivals and celebrations to remember Him and good things. It was He who commanded honor for mothers and fathers. And absolutely believe that Mother’s Day is a day He truly enjoys. He’s rooting for you, there for you, and loves you and those sweet kiddos.

“He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.” Isaiah 40:11

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