This is my oldest. She is such a beauty! She has also been one of my greatest challenges, but those challenges have made me the mother I am today.
When she was just 7 days old, she cried non-stop for 7 hours. She would pause for nursing, then go immediately back to crying. My mom was panicked and it worried me a great deal too! Luckily I had an appt with the Dr. the next day for a regular newborn check up and I told him all about her episode. He checked her very carefully, turned to me and said, "I'm sorry, there's nothing wrong with her, sometimes babies are just like that."
While relieved that there was nothing wrong, I wasn't sure I was going to survive. Fast forward 18 months. Her check up was horrible- kicking and screaming (I'm pretty sure she bruised the ribs of the Dr.) he even nick-named her the "hurricane". Great.
Family events and gatherings were very stressful. Any time one of the kids started crying, the first thing anyone said was, "Where's H.?" It's not easy being the mother of the family bully.
I could go on, and on. But I won't. She was Hard with a capital "H". But, because of how difficult she was I learned early on that discipline was going to be the only thing that saved us. I learned to get on my knees and plead for divine help. I learned how to re-set her nurse-maid's elbow. (when she would have a fit and flail her arms, it would sometimes dislocate her elbow- fun stuff)
I learned how to get vaseline out of hair. (corn starch and shampoo, lots of corn starch, lots of shampoo) She taught me a lot! At times I wonder if we're going to survive (both of us), but then I get a glimpse of the person she's becoming and it gives me hope.
This was a homework assignment I found in her backpack, just before Christmas. The assignment was to write a persuasive letter to Santa asking him for a gift for someone else:
My parents are having a hard time. My brother has chicken poxs, we are running out of money, and don't have money for bills. All I'm asking for is a gift card. If you're wondering what kind, we don't care. I hope you have time to think about it. Hope my parents get excited on Christmas morning.
(yes my son had chicken pox, yes he had the immunization, yes it is hard to be poor, to tell your kids you're poor, and to tell the world you're poor, but I think this story is worth it.)
This journey of motherhood has been really hard for me. But I have come to know that parenting isn't just about discipline and teaching the children: parenting is an incubator for ME. It is MY chance to learn lessons that can be gained in no other way. It is my opportunity to follow Heavenly Father's footsteps and learn to be more like Him, as He allows me to privilege of caring for His children- as My children here on Earth. It is a gift and a blessing and one I wouldn't trade for anything- no matter how searing the pain is at times. And one last truth I have come to know, is that because My children are His children, He will not leave me alone to struggle on. He has a real and vested interest in them and me and He will help us all along the way. And that's something I know for sure.