My kids LOVE candy. And not the good chocolate stuff that their Momma hides in various places throughout the kitchen; but the artificially colored, artificially sweetened, stick in your teeth, and jack you up like meth, kind of candy. My daughter’s current favorite are “jebby beans” aka jelly beans. She becomes highly motivated whenever promised the reward of said “jebby bean”. And considering the fact that she refuses to do even the most basic of functions to keep her alive (drinking water, eating, pooping, etc – no big deal), you better believe I am using those artificially manufactured treats to my advantage. Drink your smoothie – get a “jebby bean”. Go poop – get a “jebby bean”. Eat your lunch – get a “jebby bean”. The way I see it, at least she’s going for the metaphorical carrot – ha! Now my son has graduated to the harder stuff. You know the kind – it’s the candy that is no longer even attempting to market itself as a “healthier” choice, but rather just owning the fact that it’s straight SUGAR on top of more SUGAR. One of his all time favorites is Warheads. If you’re not familiar with Warheads, they’re a type of hard candy that is lip puckering-eye watering-salivary glands igniting, SOUR! Buuuuuuttttttt if you can hang with the sour long enough, eventually it gives way to something sweet.
In a lot of ways I feel the daily grind of parenting can be very similar to the Warhead experience. Aside from the name itself (which come on- that’s just a gimme) many of the moments which make up a 24 hour day could be perceived as sour. Missed naps resulting in cranky kids – sour. Making meals that kids will inevitably complain about – sour. Mountains of laundry that never end – sour. Refereeing yet another dispute over whose toys is whose, who’s looking where, and what’s touching whom – S.O.U.R. Buuuuuuttttttt if we canjust hang with the sour long enough, eventually these moments may give way to something sweet. Now I’m not talking about the moment when all your kids are asleep for the night; although let’s be honest, that is pretty Freaking SWEET – like chocolate and wine for Momma kind of SWEET. But I’m talking about the little moments hidden throughout the day that are occurring all the time if we would only take the time to notice.
The other night was one of those warhead experiences. It was 7:00pm and I was exhausted. I had been “on the clock” since 5:00am, and my three little supervisors hadn’t so much as offered me a break (the nerve!). One of the supervisors was already down for the night and another was on her way. It was the final push. Brush teeth, go potty, and oh yeah….EYE DROPS. Thanks Pink Eye. Anywho, the only thing I hate more than putting drops in my own eyes is putting drops in my kid’s eyes. Now miraculously, when my son (aka patient 0) had pink eye the week prior, the drop regiment wasn’t nearly as horrible as I had anxiously envisioned it. He was such a champ and didn’t even bat an eye (literally). But when my daughter’s eyes fell victim to the pink…no bueno. Imagine if you will, a tiny two year old writhing around, screaming at the top of her lungs, while squeezing her eyes shut with an impressive amount of eyelid strength, all the while frantically trying to hold your hand which is wrestling to open said hulk eyelids. HOT MESS three times a day. THREE TIMES! So as I said…it was the last round of drops for the day. Grace and I were fully engaged in our hand to hand combat as I attempted to land at least one drop in her actual eye, as opposed to the countless number of drops that were accumulating on her cheeks. Porter had long since slinked out of the room. He absolutely HATES crying (well the crying of others. He apparently doesn’t seem to mind his own so much – go figure!) I assumed he had quickly assessed the situation and didn’t want to become collateral damage. Smart move. Lord knows my tentacles of frustration have been known to lash out at anything moving, speaking, or even breathing in the vicinity – guilty or not. Well the floor combat raged on when all of a sudden Porter re-appeared…wearing EAR MUFFS! And without saying a word to me, he knelt down right beside his sister, grabbed her hand, and told her “bro bro” was there and she could be brave.
That was it – birthed from the sour, pink eyed mess, a moment of sweetness to savor.
Now did this moment miraculously fix everything? Did Grace instantly regain her sanity and insist upon opening her eye wide? Um not quite. Most of the bottle’s contents are still crusted on our carpet. But what did happen was that her big brother, equipped with ear muffs, willingly chose to step in to the screaming sour of that moment to offer his love and encouragement. A moment I could have very easily overlooked on account of frustration and WWF induced muscle fatigue. How grateful I was to have witnessed that simple sweet exchange…but oh what a reality check it was for this Momma’s heart. How many other sweet moments had I missed that day, that week, because I was consumed with frustration, ungratefulness, annoyance, tiredness, or all of the above?
I needed to start taking NOTICE
I needed to begin to embrace the sweet WITH THE sour. These moments are often dependent on one another, and I believe are by divine design. You see it is in those sour moments we realize we don’t have all it all together, we can’t do it on our own strength, and we need some HELP! The moments designed to bring us to our knees and at the feet of the one who promises to renew our strength, to provide rest, peace, wisdom, and FORGIVENESS (Because let’s be honest, I usually need to do some kind of repenting by 9:00am EV-ER-Y-DAYYYYYYY) And it is then, when we are on our knees looking up at HIM, no longer inward at ourselves, that we are able to witness and savor the sweet moments hidden throughout our days.
So take heart my friends…it’s not all sour. We just gotta hold on for the sweet!