How many times have I said “this is hard?” to my husband after a rough day at home with our son? How many nights have I crawled into bed thinking how challenging the day was…for me?
And it is hard. Of course it is.
This first-time-momma stuff is challenging in so many ways. But the other morning, as I glanced at the clock and wondered if we’d make it to an appointment on time, I watched my son try to pick up a Cheerio only to drop it time and time again, just before it reached his mouth. I suddenly imagined how hard it must be as a first-time-human.
I imagined what it must feel like to fall down hundreds of times a day. I imagined what it must feel like to be told what to do and what not to do, when to do it, and where to go. To be carried when you want to walk. To be put down on the cold floor when you just want to be held.
I imagined trying and failing over and over and over again.
Trying and failing to stand. To walk. To crawl. To roll over. To sit up without help. Trying and failing to make myself understood. To pick up an item I want to look at. To dress myself. To fall asleep. To eat.
And in my heart, I know that in the face of such adversity, I would give up. I would absolutely give up. It would be too hard. Unbearably hard.
But my son doesn’t give up.
No, my sweet, wonderful, 9-month-old son is stronger and braver than I. He greets each day with a smile, so excited to get out of his crib and start trying again at all the things he failed at the day before.
He hasn’t learned to fear failure, either. He just tries, unashamedly. With no regard for who is watching or what might happen if he falls. When was the last time I tried something new with no regard to what it would feel like to fail? No regard to what those watching would think if they saw me struggle?
I’m humbled by his courage and determination. I’m blessed to watch him learn and grow. I’m honored to be a part of every new success. But I’m also convicted of my own impatience with myself. I’m especially convicted of my impatience with him.
He’s doing so much. Changing so fast. And yet I feel impatient to let him try and feed himself. I get frustrated when he won’t let me spoon food into his mouth. I sigh when he flings sweet potatoes on the floor and smears avocado in his hair.
But not today.
Today I choose compassion. I choose grace.
Because on the hardest of days, I can choose to be his biggest cheerleader and proudest supporter. How else can I respond when I truly put myself in his tiny shoes and see just how hard he’s trying every single moment of the day?
Now when I feel that sigh start to creep into my soul at the exhausting and frustrating peak of the day, I pray a silent prayer of gratitude over his patience, his determination, and his willingness to just try. I pray for patience and self-control as I fight the urge to step in too soon. And I pray for the grace to allow myself the same courage when I try and fail.
Because in reality we’re both doing some pretty exciting and new things these days. And life is hard.
For us both.