Monday, January 20, 2014

Screams of Grace

Today was such a Monday, ifyouknowwhatImean.

It was a day where everything felt

It started off normally as ever. Hubs was nice enough to take our little man downstairs at 5:30 when he woke up so that I could sleep a little longer. This, my friends is proof of true love and my personal piece of heaven is sleeping until 6am. After "sleeping in," I showered in anticipation of a meeting later this morning and dried off in time to kiss my love goodbye and scoop up the child as he pulled folded shirts out of the laundry basket.

Around 7:30 all of baby's signs pointed towards "I'm extremely tired": Rubbing of eyes, yawwwns, slowed movement. But what I had on my hands was a nap striker, with wailing and gnashing of teeth when I set him in the crib. After an hour of nursing and rocking and sound machine and bouncing and shhsh-ing and laying in crib and tip-toeing out and screaming and patting and soothing and repeat...I was done and so was he.

So downstairs we came. Lo and behold it's 8:30am. I recalled a time when I would sleep this late, sometimes on weekdays, and today I wished that I was still in bed...that this was some sort of eardrum-ringing dream.

That meeting I was supposed to attend at 9 got changed to a phone call. I just knew that eating and changing and bundling and driving were just not going to happen quickly. Especially because the little boy in my life continued to scream like a pterodactyl every 30 seconds.

What an understanding co-worker I have. I hurry over to the computer to glance at the plans we're discussing and set my sweet little man next to me with some toys. His favorite toys aren't toys at all, though, and as I sprung towards him to redirect his attention, he pulled a plug from the wall. The plug that runs to the computer. I strap him in his swing, hoping that maybe this exhausted child will take a quick cat nap. He screams, little pterodactyl, you. But I get the computer booted back up hold him and bounce him throughout the call and he's grabby-grabby at all things we come within two feet of, but also happy-happy.

The next two hours are grueling for me, emotionally. Because this screaming of his isn't pleasant and isn't stopping and each one seems to linger on my nerves, each one makes my jaw clench a little bit tighter, like a wrench around a screw, and my patience slips away little by little. I feel my neck and shoulders becoming tense and my empathy for this helpless screamer lessens. And then I wonder what sort of mom I am anyway, allowing myself to become angry at this precious child who needs me. My mind is racing from "Please stop crying" to "Be more patient" to "Just calm down" to "Why don't I know what he needs?"

I realize it's time to change the environment, it's time to get out of this cell of screams and go somewhere else. He's always calm in the car and I need human contact, I need to see other people and remember they exist and recenter myself. Because this whole "Monday" business, this whole "bad day" vibe...that's all on me. I can choose my reactions, I have the ability to change my thoughts. And I know that when I can't do it alone, I have the power to make choices which will lead to the desired outcome of feeling sane. In this case patience with, and for, a little man who needs me. He needs my care and my patience and my love and he can only have those things if I give them to myself first. 

I lost sight of the big picture and got stuck in a moment that took a lot of emotional energy, letting myself feel overwhelmed and angry at what I had to deal with. As I drove around and did errands, talked it through with my mom, and hubs, and especially as I sat in the Target parking lot for 20 minutes, letting my sweet boy sleep, I was reminded how patient the Lord is with me. Even when I am ignoring it, God's grace is available if I am only willing to accept. God is there when this baby's scream scratches at my eardrums and it is in accepting His graces that I can find patience, that I can find holiness in this vocation of motherhood. Because, as St. Therese so beautifully shows us in her autobiography, God is found in both the beauty of life and also in it's problems and irritations. We can grow in grace by choosing to turn our irritations into prayers.

It continued to be a Monday. I walked right out of Target, put my now-smiling baby boy into the car, pushed the cart to the corral and...left the box of diapers I bought on the bottom of the cart. Drove all the way home, and then noticed, so back we went! Baby boy didn't nap more than twenty minutes this afternoon. I wasn't able to read my devotion today. I put in the labor of making scones and received tasteless, unrecoverable "fruit". And now it's ten o'clock and my To-Do list for today remains untouched.

But, I have to say, today wasn't a lost cause: I experienced God's grace--and don't we everyday? Upon returning from our outing of errands, frustration dissipated and calm returned. The combination of praying and reflecting and seeing the sunlight (and maybe that mini cookie dough Blizzard from DQ) really had the power to turn around a day.

Little man and I spent this afternoon on the living room floor. I watched as he explored, discovering that the fireplace door opens and giggling as he swung it back and forth. I learned something today I couldn't have learned any other way: when irritations present themselves, as they surely will, I can't make them go away with anger or try to face them alone. Instead I canA use them as a way to become more patient and grow in faithfulness to our Lord.

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