Saturday, February 21, 2009

My Daughter, Myself

Joy was in good spirits most of the day, but she started acting out a little this evening (throwing things, refusing to help clean up, etc.). As I did my best to remain positive and respond effectively to each situation, I realized I was having a much easier time feeling affection for Daniel than for Joy. I think a big reason for that is that my relationship with Daniel is much less complicated at this point.

I think Daniel’s sweet, he finds me comforting, and I don’t have to worry about how to discipline him or teach him good principles. By contrast, many of my interactions with Joy involve her pushing her limits and my buttons, and my struggles to teach and promote good behavior aren’t always effective.

While I might wish my relationship with Joy was as sweet and simple as what I share with Daniel, I can’t help thinking that my relationship with my Heavenly Father is more like what I experience with Joy. I’m a basically good child, but I repeatedly try His patience in some ways. Yet He loves me anyway, and if I hope to become more like Him, I need to cultivate a similar ability to love despite challenges, not in absence of them.


Science Teacher Mommy said...

And once you are both over your transition period, you will come to profoundly appreciate your relationship with Joy. She will be your helper, your friend, and your outlet for communication. As my children get older, I have moments of insight when I see them as companions instead of just responsibilities. Those are the sweetest moments indeed.

Cathy said...

This comment is really for your last post but since I know it's easiest to read recent responses here, here it is!

I was reminded of Screwtape Letters today--the chapter where Wormwood is encouraging worry over the war and possible outcomes, where the "subject" feels that he needs to figure out what he would do in many hypothetical situations and worries about all of them. Wormwood's caution was to keep the subject from realizing that all of his worries could not possibly develop into reality (since many were exclusive or contradictory) and that God did not really expect him to deal with all of them. The worrying was a distraction to keep him focusing his thoughts and energies forward into the hypothetical rather than using them productively to carry the cross of the moment. Most of all, he was to keep the subject from realizing that the cross of the moment, which he could use his energies effectively to combat, was none other than the uncertainty and anxiety he was presently feeling while contemplating the future.

I found myself using this strategy today as I dealt with the reality of middle of the night diarrhea from Theo and morning diarrhea and vomiting from Gwyn. What made me want to buckle was the prospect of a day spent mopping up messes and watching my little ones suffer. It helped a little to tell myself that all of the awfulness I was dreading couldn't possibly happen (if x happened, y would not because x excluded y). And also to tell myself that I didn't have to deal with the misery of the day in advance--that I just had to deal with the chaos and misery of the next few minutes.

I wish it were easy to take my own advice...

Incidentally, I second what STM says. I actually prefer older children to infants, in spite of the reduced cuddle factor, because communication is so much better. Baby Theo has to do something pretty spectacular to achieve the humor Morgan manages with one quirky statement: "You're not strange, Dada, you're just scary."

Kimberly Bluestocking said...

I know several parents who've said that every stage of their children's development has been their favorite. I look forward to seeing how things develop in our little family.

And Cathy, you make a very good point. The most unnerving thoughts I struggle with are about hypothetical futures (e.g. how can I survive a whole DAY of X?!?), which almost never develop. Planning for the future is helpful, but worrying about it isn't and it distracts from the present, which ultimately matters a lot more.

Desmama said...

One of the most amazing and testimony-building experiences for me has to been to see how much parenthood is a metaphor for godhood (on a small, flawed scale, of course), just as you've described. I guess it's only when I sit down and can think through these metaphors that the real learning happens. If I don't fall asleep first, which is usually what happens when I sit for longer than a few minutes. ;)