One day last year my daughter Julia had a doctor’s appointment. I had picked the big kids up from school and drove all four of them, along with Janna who hadn’t taken a nap, to town.
I mistakenly thought that the doctor’s office wouldn’t be very busy and that we wouldn’t have to wait long.
When I opened the door that I realized just how wrong my assumptions were.
There were only two seats available for the six of us and, based on the looks on the faces of the people waiting, we were going to have to wait a while.
Janna decided that since there wasn’t a seat available for her that she would just flop down right there in the middle of the waiting room floor and lie down.
While this may have been mildly amusing to a non-partial observer, it was one of those moments that I knew could get ugly fast. Since I couldn’t just leave my 2 1/2 year old sprawled out on a dirty floor, I prepared myself for the possibility of a fit.
First, I tried coaxing her off the floor with sweet words. When that didn’t work, I picked her up and held her.
Well, you can imagine how pleased my tired toddler was with that, and she decided to tell me, rather loudly, that she didn’t want to be held.
So, I took both Janna and Joseph into the hall and gave my other three children instructions to stay together and to let me know when it was our turn.
Janna’s mood drastically improved with the change of scenery, and we walked around in the hallway until it was Julia’s turn to be seen.
We ended up being at the doctor’s office for a total of 1 1/2 hours, and I have to say that we were all very thankful when we at last got back to our vehicle.
The doctor’s office incident wasn’t the first time that I have had a child do something embarrassing or frustrating. With five kids, you can rest assured that things like this have happened before.
Many times over the years I have had to leave the sanctuary on a Sunday morning because of a fussy baby or whiney toddler.
A few times I have made it to the door of a store only to turn around and get right back into the vehicle because one of my kids decided to throw a fit.
I can remember times when one of my little guys threw such fits that I had to hold him, facing away from me, while whispering prayers in his ear. Tears sometimes streamed down my face, and there were a few times when I wondered if God had chosen the right person for the job of mothering him.
Just this afternoon, my two oldest boys were wrestling around when they were supposed to be putting on their snow pants and coats so they could feed the animals. The boys got a little carried away, loud words were spoken, and even a few tears were shed.
I asked James and Joshua to each share their side of the story. I listened, made them shake hands, and sent them outside to feed the animals.
Since it was so cold outside, I assumed they were going to do their chores and come right back inside.
However, not long after they went outside, I heard a basketball bouncing. I walked to the door and this is what I saw.
Smiling faces, taking turns, having fun. It’s moments like this…
…that make all of the hard days worth it.
While I normally try to stay positive when I write about parenting, I don’t want to have people think that I have perfect children, or that I am a perfect parent because that is far from the truth.
What I am is a mom who has been at this parenting gig for almost 16 years. There have been lots of good days, but there have also been hard days.
When my kids become parents, or when I encounter a mom having a hard day, I don’t want to have fuzzy memories about the hard days.
I want to remember the fits, the tantrums, and the sprawling on the floor of a waiting room so that I can say:
I have been there.
I know what you are going through.
You are doing a good job.
Remember the hard days so that you can treasure the good days all the more.