Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Give Me Hugs, Give Me Smiles

How many times a day does a mother become frustrated by her child/children? Hmm. Well, I’ve only got the one kid so far, and I’ve never been so frustrated in my life!

The frustration and even anger that surfaces in daily life with Isaac is one of the things that I wasn’t at all prepared for as I was expecting him. I wasn’t naive; I knew that I would feel those things. But I didn’t know how abundantly I would feel them. I would go so far as to say that I feel frustrated more than many other mothers do, mainly because I have never been what you might call a calm person and I’ve always let myself boil over too easily, even if the seething has not been outwardly expressed. Who knows? Maybe all mothers are convinced they’re the ones who get mad the most.

And then there are the times that he just makes me laugh, even amidst the frustration. Take yesterday, for example. I was attempting to participate in a Relief Society presidency meeting and not doing very well at it because Isaac spent most of the two and a half hours we were there being in a grouchy mood. I’m the secretary, so I feel it very important to take notes and be organized. That’s hard to do when your sixteen-month-old boy is clamoring for all your attention with that crying, whiny scream that is exactly calculated to annoy you the most it possibly can. The other ladies, being mothers themselves and having experienced this (in addition to the fact that isaac is not theirs), were constantly assuring me that he wasn’t bothering them and that it was all right and they understood. I know they were telling me the truth, and that’s awesome. Doesn’t stop me from feeling mortified and annoyed by my crazy kid. It’s always worse when it’s your own child.

Then came the moment that we were dispersing and I was cleaning up all his toys that had scattered around the house, and suddenly I heard, “Megan, he ate dirt!” And the next thing I knew, Colleen was carrying him over to the kitchen sink and he was just screaming as she was trying to rinse his mouth out. I didn’t laugh out loud, so the other ladies may have thought I was upset, but really . . . I thought it was hilarious. The picture before me was so amusing, I still laugh as I type this right now. Didn’t change the fact that he had been a little bottom-top for the previous few hours, but it was sure funny to watch Colleen try and get that junk out of his mouth.

So I admit it, I get mad at my kid. More than I wish I did. And sometimes I still wish I didn’t have him on my hands, because how much easier would my life be if I didn’t have to run around after him and teach him how to eat with a spoon (but not dirt) and plead with him to say even one word and encourage him to stop hitting us and thinking it’s a game and not freak out when I take my phone away from him and make him play by himself while I’m making dinner . . . Yeah, my life would be a lot easier.

But I wouldn’t give him back. Many women are out there in the world today who desperately want children and can’t have them, for one reason or another. Other women have their children for the barest of moments before those precious souls are called right back out of this world they have just entered. I can’t imagine the heartbreak and ache those women feel, and I hope beyond hope I will never have to endure that kind of pain. So even though I get mad, even though he can annoy and frustrate me to no end, I wouldn’t give Isaac back. I’m too grateful to have him here and healthy in the first place. It is only as I see more and more of the world that I realize what a rare and precious gift that is.

How grateful I am for him. I’m grateful for his smile and laughter. I’m grateful for the milestones he reaches. I’m grateful that he can finally walk and I am not forced to constantly carry his impressive bulk all the time. I’m grateful for his wide eyes and curiosity. I’m grateful for the way he is able to charm complete strangers.

I just hope I can remember that gratitude the next time he’s grating on my last nerve.

 And then you see this and wonder how it's at all possible to get mad at him.


"Once the bear's hug has got you, it's apt to be for keeps." -Harold MacMillan