It was a morning of deep breaths and stopping to quiet and gentle the words waiting to leave my lips. Dishes needed to be done from last nights supper and maybe from yesterday's lunch, but my daughters had different ideas. Aneliese was ready to play and Cecily was ready to be annoyed at every small thing. She has recently decided that a good yell or smack will make her point better understood. Aneliese is learning that she has the choice of responding kindly or not. And so I have no idea how many times my hands lifted out of the water to direct their behaviour, to encourage kindness (even when it means saying, "that hurts, please stop".) and a few "I'm sorry"s from little 19 month old lips. And while the desire was strong to throw out the day as one going bad to worse as I chose to demonstrate the very actions that I wanted from my girls, a quiet voice kept saying that this too is a treasure and a gift. Especially as it becomes more obvious to all that there will be another child joining our family, I receive a lot of comments and lets just say I treasure the positive ones. I am often informed in a doleful voice how busy I am (I know!) and how much busier I will be. Or that I should enjoy this time because it will just get harder. Even the comments of how close they are in age are offered in a "what were you thinking" tone. Now I don't especially value any of these opinions except that I don't appreciate them being spoken in front of my children but oddly they are given when we are walking together, or enjoying an outing, or as I watch them dance while Daddy plays at market. I wonder what the comments would be if they could see me taking a deep breath as I prepare to remove my hands from the water one. more. time. And the truth is, I am tempted to feel discouraged by these times, after all, this isn't the fun part of parenting. And yet, I am the one they learn from. I get to teach them how to respond to others. I get to help them learn how to control their actions. I am there to cheer them on as they learn to share, or forgive, or obey. Perhaps these aren't the easy times, but maybe, maybe they are the best times.
[caption id="attachment_1095" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="Unfortunately, the even more angry face was blurry....I know, why did I take a picture of it? She really was just practicing here."][/caption]