Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Arise, shine

One of the biggest challenges a mother will face is being privy to the demons that daily arise in her children. The nights her child refuses to sleep and keeps the family awake from one until four; the scream fest that initiates the moment he is set upon a chair so she can prepare dinner. The whining and complaining that commences when she reveals she has to stop reading for a moment to use the restroom; the throwing of toys that occurs when the Thomas train falls off the track again and the frustrated child cannot verbalize his emotions.  The refusals to nap when she is deliriously tired; the demands that she hold him while loading the dishwasher or washing machine.

Each event wears upon her until she feels she is about to break open and lash out.  Whereupon she enters church, and her demon-child becomes angelic, charming the crowds with his smile as he toddles down the aisle to his father at the end of the service.  "What a sweetheart!" "What a well-behaved child!" "What a doll!" the crowds gush.

And she must be stoic in her response of thanks.  "Come visit," she longs to say, "moments after I've plopped him in his crib for pulling the dog's tail and listen to him scream obscenities at me that, I assure you, are not part of our family's vocabulary."

It's difficult to acknowledge that children, even the tiniest of infants, and the toddliest of toddlers, are indeed, sinners, too. It's difficult to acknowledge that the most angelic of children sometimes throw their blocks at their mothers and keep them up all night.  And it's difficult for a mother to watch another woman's children without feeling that she is somehow, someway, doing something wrong, because her own children don't behave as they ought.

And while this too, shall pass, she cannot help but allow that this set of demons will only be replaced with another, and the cycle will continue until all things are created anew.  So she begins each morning, thankful for the rising sun that sheds new light upon the earth, and reminds her that she, too, can arise and shine, for her light has come.  She will see and be radiant, her heart shall thrill and exult.  Her sons will come to her from afar, and her daughters will be carried on her hip.


  1. I find it particularly tiring when I share with a person whom I imagine will be sympathetic some tale of difficulty with a particular child, and the listener looks at the kid and says, "But she's so cute!"

    Yes. She is. That's what makes it so hard.

  2. I've been enjoying your blog for a while now so I thought I'd finally comment! I feel so uncomfortable when I get remarks about how good my children are in church. Especially when someone comes out of church behind us with a toddler that had been everything but "good". As Pastor's family we're already seen as a little "abnormal". I just want others to know that we are a NORMAL family with little sinners in our home just like everyone else!

  3. Rebekah- Agreed. My kid is of that super-cute variety who could probably win any baby contest if I ever chose to enter his picture (and while it may sound it, this is not a boast. Mere statement of fact.) Cute, however, does not cover a multitude of sins.

    Aubri- Welcome, and nice to meet you. Being of a pastor's family as well (daughter, and husband at sem), I understand the desire for others to view you as normal. Unfortunately, it seldom happens. That's why we blog!

  4. *the demons that daily arise in her children*
    I love how you said that. That about says it all!!

    I never used to believe it when I was a child and I'd hear parents say to their child, "This discipline I must give you hurts me more than it hurts you." Now I do. It's hard to look at your little darling cutie's face and then have to give them a much needed spanking. But believe me, they won't stay "cute" very long if I don't.