Because - truth is - I've been more frustrated with Ethan this week than I've been in a very long time and I'm trying hard to pinpoint the reason behind it all. Although I can think of a few incidents that have triggered immense amounts of dismay, I can't quite see the big picture.
Is it the start of preschool and a new schedule? Is he not getting enough rest? Is it even about him? ... am I harboring some sort of bitter feelings over who-knows-what? Is there something floating around in my heart and mind that I haven't acknowledged and dealt with?
I have no idea. I do know that I've never been a patient person. Not "impatient" as in I-have-a-hard-time-waiting-for-things-to-happen, but more like I-have-an-extremely-low-tolerance-for-situations-that-don't-meet-my-expectations. I guess you could say I have a bit of my Daddy's temper in me. I've always known this about myself and I know it affects the way I interact with Ethan (and Jeramie). That said, I've also been working hard on keeping that in check and treating him (them) with grace and respect.
When my typically agreeable child negates every word that comes out of my mouth, and defies my words with his actions, it makes me crazy. I can appreciate that he is trying to learn who he is apart from me. He's experimenting with opinions and words - a learning process that is exciting, for sure, but baffling at the same time. All of a sudden, I feel at a loss for how to parent this little human.
And in an instant - in one moment of not keeping my anger in check - I find myself raising my voice, then feeling immediate guilt for forever ruining my child's psyche. It's like walking a tightrope - this parenting gig - and I've never really liked heights.
A while back, a friend of mine challenged a group of us girls to pinpoint a verse in the Bible that spoke truth into whatever struggle we were facing at the time. Since I've always struggled with grace and patience, I found my way to Proverbs and this verse has been on my heart ever since:
"Slowness to anger makes for deep understanding;
a quick-tempered person stockpiles stupidity.
A sound mind makes for a robust body,
but runaway emotions corrode the bones."
-Proverbs 14:29-30 (The Message)
I want so badly to be that patient person - that mom, that wife, that friend. I want Ethan to do the right things because he knows they're right - not because I yell at him when he acts wrongly. I want him to understand the love that Jeramie and I have for him isn't based on how "good" or "bad" he is. I want him to know respect because it's modeled for him on a daily basis. Most of all, I want him to understand that grace and forgiveness is there for when we mess up. Injecting all of that into the life of an illogical three year old feels daunting, though, doesn't it? This week, it has run me ragged - I feel worn down and drained.
I am looking forward to rest, to time with friends, to a date night with my main man - and I'm thanking God for His mercies that are new every morning, for His grace.
Lord knows I'd be even more of a mess without all of the above.