Just Love Them

Since getting to New Mexico we have been staying with my sister, Nell, and her husband, Chad. I have really enjoyed the time with her! My sister's house is beautifully decorated. In other words, so not baby proof!

My girls have simultaneously loved and had a hard time here. We are all sharing one room, they can't touch "anything", Mommy didn't bring very many toys, and there's no place to play outside. On the other hand, Aunt Nell spoils them, they have free reign of our childhood barbie collection, they get lots of attention, and surprisingly they've done fairly well here.

On the other hand, their schedule has been thrown off so they aren't always getting enough sleep. (What is it about changing your environment that you can't seem to function quite right? Or is it just me?) Unfortunately, lack of sleep has led to clingy girls, attention hogging, whining, crying and temper tantrums. While these things are usually part of our day, it's not usually to this extent. Being the only parent here (Matt is still in Utah until Sunday) has been very taxing.

I have spent most of my days here frustrated with my girls. It's exhausting to constantly be clinged to, whined at, screamed at, and disrespected. Sometimes I almost want to cry when they get like this. My patience well is running so low I am actually feeling happy I have to work 8 hours today so I can get a break.

While all of this is quite a normal cycle in the life of a parent with young children, I started thinking tonight of the bigger picture.

284987_238267526196185_100000388173375_790849_3532766_n I am here in New Mexico to support my younger sister, Kristin, and her husband, Cameron, as they were thrust into parenthood much earlier than expected. I've watched them brave the storm of the first few days when we weren't even sure their baby, Isabella, was going to make it. I've watched as each time they were faced with hard procedures or a difficult prognosis. I've watched as they got snippets of good news. I've watched as they fought and never gave up hope. They stayed strong and brave through all of it.

In the last few days things have really looked up. They finally got to hold their precious, tiny miracle, bathe her, feed her (through a feeding tube) and begin to look towards a future of taking her home.
I watched their weathered faces gradually brighten with hope and love and happiness in a situation that is still precarious, but stable for now. They love her with everything they have, want the very best for her, want her to be happy. Mostly, they are grateful every day that she is alive and here with them.

This is parenting at it's best.

And it took me back to the first time I held Zoe and Paige. It reminded me of all the promises I made to myself and to them in those first moments of parenthood. Especially the first time around when you go into it completely blind and find that parenting is all about learning as you go. When you think you won't make the same mistakes your parents, friends, and neighbors did.

People try to tell you how hard parenting can be. I've often said myself that parenting is the most frustrating, yet most rewarding thing I've ever done. Yet no one told me, and no one really could have put it into words, the day-to-day frustrations of parenting. Especially how it builds up.
When your kids are being difficult, it is sometimes hard to remember the pure joy of those first moments. It's hard to remember to find joy in the every day moments with them. It's hard to appreciate the sweet moments on the days where they are far and few between.

While I've been busy feeling frustrated with my children, Cameron and Kristin are grateful for another day with theirs. While I get annoyed with how clingy my girls are, they waited for days just to be able to hold Isabella. While I get tired of the whining, they are giddy over every movement and noise.

While I contemplated this, I thought to myself, "These are your most precious blessings! Your job is to love them, care for them, teach them and support them. NO MATTER WHAT!" Instantly I felt like I needed to reevaluate myself as a parent. Zoe and Paige are kids. They are allowed to be roller coasters of emotion. It is my job to be their solid ground, their cheerleader, and their teacher. Mostly I just need to show them as much love as I possibly can.

I love being Zoe and Paige's Mom. I am grateful for my girls. I do feel blessed to have them in my life. What needs to change is I need to show them that I feel this way. Show them my joy more and my frustration less. Use my calm voice more and my loud one less. Be more gentle and kind and patient (even when it seems impossible) so they will learn to be more gentle and kind and patient. I want to remember this time in our lives as a happy time and not a frustrated time.

The only way I know how to do this is to make the commitment today and make the better choice at every opportunity. I know I won't be perfect at it. But if I can do better every day, then we will be happier.

I knew the second I met her that Isabella would be an inspiration in my family. I knew she would have a lot to teach us. I didn't realized it would happen so quickly. Or that my little sister could be such an example to me. Your prayers and good thoughts for my family and for Isabella continue to be appreciated.

What challenges do you face in your life? Have you ever had an epiphany that made you want to change things? Leave me a comment! I love to hear from you.

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