Friday, May 28, 2010

Other People's Wisdom

I'm going to be frank. We are in a season of tough parenting with Abigail. Don't get me wrong...there are beautiful moments, and even beautiful days (today was overall, a pretty good one). But the last few weeks have felt like we are constantly hitting our heads against a four-year-old wall of assertiveness, independence, stubbornness, and really just who is this kid? I'm not going to go down the laundry list of what a day looks like to us, or Lord have mercy, what bedtime looks like to us. It does no good to you, the reader, to hear about the sassy, fit-throwing details, and it does no good to me, the mama, to rehash it all.

But we are a tired people, this Daddy and Mommy.

We've read books. Articles. Heard sermons. Prayed. Talked to people much further along in this process than ourselves.

And this week, there have been two things that have lifted me, have made me think we can get through this cycle until the next one hits. The first came from learning about the strong-willed child from Dr. Dobson. And my goodness, does she fit the bill. Reading ways that we can guide her, establish our authority over her, and pray for her was a real teaching moment for Paul and me, as I'm sure it will continue to be.

The second came from my dear friend, Charlotte. We met up with Kerry and Charlotte for dinner the other night. Talking in our best try-not-to-let-Abigail-hear-us voices, Charlotte asked how Abigail has been adjusting to Sadie. I told her the answer that I feel I've said to everyone who has asked that Sadie, she is perfect. She loves her, sings to her, hugs her, kisses her. It's overwhelming, her love toward Sadie. It's beautiful and I adore it. But I do think there is jealousy there, it just doesn't get directed toward Sadie. It gets directed toward me, and maybe just a little bit toward Paul. She and I butt heads a lot now...too much. Paul has always said she is just a little version of me, and frankly, it isn't too fun to see yourself in a miniature mirror.

On the way out to the car, Charlotte told me that I am doing a good job, even if I don't see it. I assured her that lately, I don't see it. Yes, I know in some ways I am doing a good job. And I am still doing what I have always wanted to do by being a mommy. But when you are in the thick of it, all you see is how you are not doing any of it "right."

Then Charlotte said something to this effect: But you know, Amy, God has started a good work in Abigail, and He will be faithful to complete it. But you are not the only person He has to use in order to complete that work. I realized it with my oldest daughter when she met her husband. I realized that God was using him in her life in a way He could not use me. There are many people that God can use to complete that work in her, so don't put all of that pressure on yourself.

I have thought about these words several times this week. My friend Angie and I were talking today about hearing our little ones singing songs that they learned in their Sunday School classes at church, songs that we know we did not teach them. I shared what Charlotte told me to Angie, and it kind of hit us both that we were seeing this unfold before us....God is indeed using other people in the lives of our children. Yes, our influence is great, especially at this stage, but it isn't only our influence that will shape them into the completed work God has in mind.

I love my Abigail. And today? It was a pretty good day. There were sweet moments and no bedtime battles. I silently sat next to her bed tonight and kissed her cheeks as she slept. I know that this is just a part of growing up....for both of us. And hopefully, when all is said and done, we will both see that God was faithful to complete the good work that He began in us.

1 comment:

Lindsay said...

We have been there. For Ruby, it was age 2. Her stark stubbornness, assertiveness with her own will, the battles, the tantrums, the whining... Everything. Now, we're seeing less and less of her strong will.

I'm sure you've read and seen this, but lots of love and unending consistency will get you through with good results. :) (At least according to 4 years and $40,000 at Purdue University studying Early Childhood Development.) :)

You are a great Mom. Keep up the good work, and enjoy while the good work is completed.