This moment

We got out the dominoes this evening and gathered the whole clan to play, 12 of us around the dining room table, ivory tiles clacking against oak. We lined up dominoes and planned strategies and checked for ‘flags’, and leaned to help younger ones sitting near us plan their strategies.

Calamity struck at 8 pm. The 3 year tried to lay down her last domino in her brother’s lineup instead of her own, then melted down big-time when I insisted she play on her own row. Nevermind that she had the perfect move. Nevermind that she WON when she did it mom’s way. She was loudly bent on playing the game her own way. After a minute of listening to her howl I decreed it to be her bedtime, and whisked her off to bed.

She spent the next 45 minutes vacillating between heartbroken wailing, begging for every sibling in the house (anyone but mean mom), and sniffling dejectedly into her tissues. She would not give in. Which of course is exactly what got her here in the first place.

So here I sit, willing her to stop snuffling and twitching and playing with her Kleenex so that she can finally go to sleep, all the while suffering my own micro-drama. One moment I am feigning calm and tenderly singing lullabies in hopes of helping her drift off quickly so I can return to the game. The next I find myself whispering ‘shhh….go to sleep!’ way-too-fiercely, glumly certain I’ll be stewing here in the dark til midnight, the dominoes game long over.

In the midst of my irritation, I remember something I read over at Holy Experience. I’d love to live my life so mindfully, fully appreciating each moment, always conscious that I am serving my Savior as I serve my family. But truthfully in moments like this I just want to escape the dark bedroom and get back in the game.

My impatience overwhelms me, frustrates me, humiliates me. I am so not what I want to be.

And yet somehow in the midst of my frustration the words I read yesterday reach out to me. I take a deep breath, and become aware of the warm sweetness of my daughter’s little arm on my chest. She’s clutched onto my bra strap, her favorite security blanket. It is a habit I usually find endearing. It speaks so clearly of her need for me. Nothing else — no one else — will do. I am the most important person in her little world, even when I frustrate her by not giving in to her demands. She may howl for a sibling when she is angry. But when it is time for sleep, she comes into my arms and refuses all else.

As I think and write, my jagged emotions settle down. And not surprisingly, so do hers. Soon she is breathing deeply, sagging softly instead of twitching, though her hand still clutches me tightly.

I could go now. But instead I sit. I will inhabit this moment a little longer. Because I’ve realized it is good after all.

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  1. Great entry.

  2. That was beautiful, true, and something I really needed to read this morning.

    Thank you ((hugs))

  3. Amen, sistah.

  4. No words.

  5. Just what I needed to get through the day. Thank you for sharing this!

  6. Gorgeous.

  7. It’s really hard to remember that there is beauty in all of this when it’s time to GO TO SLEEP ALREADY. I still struggle with this on an almost nightly basis. You’re right on the money!

  8. Good one.

    The post you linked was beautiful.

  9. That was beautiful and so very true.

  10. this is really calm and serene

  11. Great post!

  12. Been there, done that — thankful for the lesson.
    Bless you.

  13. hmmm… i have been pondering that same post from Ann this week! 🙂

  14. I’m glad to hear that other moms feel like this, too- I just had my first, a son, two months ago, and it’s such an adjustment- to being a parent 24/7 and a wife and everything else when I get time! 🙂 I adore my son, but I sometimes feel impatient or inconvenienced, too. Thanks for sharing your post with us!!

  15. treasuresandsnares says:

    WoW!!! beautiful………just what I needed….I am glad I found your blog.

    Kim

  16. Stephanie says:

    Thanks so much for this post. I needed to hear this at this point in my life. I will read it again first thing in the morning..ya know a fresh inspiration to start the day. Thank yOu and God Bless:))

  17. great reminder…for all us moms. 🙂

  18. Thanks for sharing. Your writing is so personal. Yesterday, during our homestudy visit, my toddler insisted on nursing at naptime. (She didn’t get the hint to fall asleep before the social worker arrived.) My little one finally fell asleep, using my bra/flesh as a security blanket:) Thanks again for writing.

  19. Your honesty and the beauty of the moment are refreshing!!!!

    Heidi

  20. Mary?
    “I am so not what I want to be.” Yes. Me, too. You write my heart.
    Just clinging to grace. And that makes it all so good.
    Thank you…

    All’s grace,
    Ann