Monday, June 24, 2013

Modany Memories 054::We Can Take the Heat

Second Daughter, 3 months old, June 2007
First Daughter, two years old, June 2007
I remember this day (and this time in our life) very clearly.
It was a very very hot day.
I remember it being an abnormally hot summer that year.
We would get out of the house and hit the park as early as possible to beat the mid-day heat.
But even at 9 o'clock in the morning, it was really hot this day at the park.
You can see how red First Daughter's face is from running around in the heat.
You can also see that there wasn't really anyone else at the park.
1) because it was early, and 2) because it was so hot.
But we braved it anyway.
Second Daughter and I parked ourselves on a bench in the shade to watch First Daughter play.
She was gaining more confidence - walking on the rope bridge, climbing up the ladders, and sliding down the fire poles by herself.
It was fun and amazing watching my two year old be so confident and capable and brave.
And it was amazing how resilient those kiddos were in the heat - I wasn't sure I was able to stand it.
Our lives changed dramatically in those first months after Second Daughter was born.
One of the biggest changes was our schedule - specifically our sleeping schedule (or lack thereof).
We were used to First Daughter sleeping 12-14 hours uninterrupted every night.
She never woke up before 8:30 in the morning.
After Second Daughter was born, one of the kiddos was waking up every 1-2 hours each night.
I was getting up 6-7 times each night (which doesn't amount for very good sleep) and since First Daughter had moved to a big girl bed, she was emerging from her room between 6-6:30 every day. 
This was completely new to me (I know, I know...I was a very spoiled new mother...) and a difficult adjustment.
I am not a morning person.
And so...
In an attempt to adjust, we were usually out the door by 8 or 9 to pass the time in the mornings and the beat the heat/crowds (and to keep me from getting too frustrated with the kiddos and the lack of sleeping I was getting...)
Pictures of the first year of Second Daughter's life always fill me with me with very mixed emotions.
It was a very difficult time for me.
I feel sad that pictures from that time remind me of how hard it was.
I struggled a lot.
I spent a lot of time feeling sad and frustrated.
I spent more time and energy trying to figure out how to be happy and how to be a good mom.
I felt inadequate, incapable, and embarrassed.
I worried about how my struggles were affecting my kids.
I slept very little.
I cried a lot.
It was really really hard for me and I worried that I would never figure it out.
I remember feeling like I was just really bad at life.
I wanted so desperately to be different than I was.
But that time and that struggle was also a very important, very necessary turning point for me.
It was then that I made a decision to keep trying, keep going, and keep working on truly being happy even though many days I didn't feel like I wanted to or could.
It was then that I learned how to really pray, how to trust in and rely on the Lord, and to confide in my Husband (and trust that he really did love me unconditionally).
It was then that I decided that my family would come first no matter what and that there was nothing more important than working on improving our family life.
And I knew that time would not stand still for me to figure things out.
Life would go on and my kids would grow up whether I conquered my struggles or not.
I didn't want to waste any more time missing out on the joy of raising children.
I used to look at pictures from that year and feel overwhelming sadness - like I missed out on the first year of Second Daughter's life and that I let my family down.
Now I feel a little less sad and a little more proud to know that we made it through and to see how far we've come.
I have a deeper love for my family and am humbled by the blessing and privilege it is to be a mother.
I am amazed by and thankful for the Lord's watchful care over our little family.
I see how He blesses us and strengthens us every day.
I can honestly say that I am a better, stronger, more confident mom today because of the challenge that we went through then. 
And for that reason I am incredibly thankful that it was so hard.
Because the harder the challenge, the greater the triumph.
And then comes the joy :) may also like::
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