I had just finished sweeping the floor in preparation for a dinner party when he did it. My 20-month-old son, who had been closely watching me up until this point, dumped his entire bowl of rice all over the floor.
A range of emotions swept through me. Should I laugh? Cry? Scold him? It wasn’t the first time that day that he’d made me feel defeated. In theory, I wanted to do all of them, but in reality I had no energy to do any of them. Instead, all I could think about was, “Why is this so hard?”
But that’s the thing, it’s so hard because it’s so worth it. In the midst of the tantrums, the multiple night wakings, the lego-induced foot injuries (for me, anyway) and the 103rd unrolled toilet paper roll, is a little person greeting each new day with awe and wonder. My son is just trying to figure out what this world is all about, what life is all about, and it’s my and my husband’s job to help him understand it all. It’s our job to hopefully raise our son to someday be a warrior-gentleman, fighting for the good, true and beautiful in this world, while at the same time being kind, caring and respectful.
Yes, it isn’t easy. It can be downright frustrating, even maddening at times. (I don’t know how many times I’ve had to remind myself that my son is NOT trying to make my life more difficult on purpose!) But there’s so much joy that comes with it! The unexpected hug or kiss, the contagious giggle from your child during a game of tickling, and the first time you hear the words “Mama” or “Dada” are all joyful reminders that it’s worth it. I can’t even count all of the times my son has made me appreciate things I overlook each day: an airplane flying overhead, a squirrel outside the window, the thrill of water between the toes.
In the world today, children are often viewed as a burden, as something we should only consider having when we’re done “having fun,” or done “living life.” But I’d argue that having children only creates more fun by bringing more joy into the home, reminding us how to live and why we live. It’s never too early to be reminded of that.
What about you? Any frustrating stories dealing with your own kids? Any joyful moments that made it all worth it?