Claire brings me a little bottle of bubbles while I’m folding the last load of laundry of the day. I remember my Mother’s Day resolution to her and her siblings, even though I was really just trying to finish this last load.
I blow bubbles for her and she laughs and laughs and tries to catch them. I watch her, how cute and little she is and how much fun she is and I think, “This is a moment I’ll be writing about in my thankfulness journal. Or better yet, I’ll blog about it.” And as I watch her chase the bubbles, a whole blog about living simply and living in the moment is forming. About keeping those Mother’s Day resolutions.
I put the bubbles down to fold a few more things and she says, “Peez.” and does the sign for please. I cheerfully blow more bubbles and she shakes her head, “No! Bubble. Peez.” She holds her little hand up and I realize she wants to blow the bubbles.
But she’s only nineteen months and the only thing that’s going to be accomplished by handing her a bottle of bubbles is a giant, sticky mess.
So, I say, “No, sweetie. Mommy will blow the bubbles for you but you can’t hold them.”
“Peez. Bubbles.” Hysteria threatens her little voice.
“No, no, sweetie.” And for someone who likes to say No so much, she sure doesn’t like to hear it. She starts screaming, throws herself on the floor and starts flailing and occasionally reaching out to try and hit or scratch me.
I ignore her, which was the day’s ineffectual approach to tantrums and the fit goes on and on.
I shake my head wondering where my blog post about living out my resolution had gone. “I was just trying to have a nice moment with this baby!” I think to myself and she rages in the floor.
I keep folding and finally finish as Claire cries and yells, “No, no, no!” at me. (She has a very strong personality.)
“Claire!” I say, “Want to help me?”
She likes to help. She loves to help me unload the dishwasher. It’s not actually super helpful, but she feels like such a big girl and she is so happy to be doing work with Mommy. She’ll like helping with the laundry too. I show her where the wet laundry goes in the dryer and hand her a wet shirt. She throws it in and I am rewarded with a beaming grin. I give her each piece of laundry to then put in the dryer. She is proud of her work, shouting, “Yay!” after each item goes in.
I don’t think about how I’m trying to beat the clock and get a certain amount of chores done before dinner needs to be cooked. I don’t think about how I would be done already and on to something else. I just think…”Wow, giving her something else to do stopped the fit…and…I am living out my Mother’s Day resolutions after all.”
We put the last thing in the dryer and she looks to me for the next one. “All done.” I say, wondering if this will set off another fit but she slams the dryer door closed. Another, “Yay!” and we go on to the dishwasher. The bubbles are forgotten.
As we spend an inordinately long time putting the dishes away, I am reminded of how Aubrey was a lot like this one. Full of fire and a personal agenda that no one else could decipher. I think of the many tantrums Aubrey threw. How we were all a little afraid of her.
As though summoned, Aubrey twirls into the kitchen, dancing a Hindi dance to a Bollywood song on her iPod. She is all tall, willowy beauty and cheer and she hasn’t had a fit in like fourteen years. She is responsible and smart and is quick to serve. She uses her drive and determination and her perseverance for good purposes now.
But she didn’t know how to do that when she was little and neither does Claire.
I realize that there was a time when I thought Aubrey would never stop having fits. But thinking about it now…I don’t remember when her last one was. One day, she just didn’t have tantrums anymore. And she grew up into this lovely woman who is so full of promise and potential.
She recently did a project in her photography class, take a look.
And all of my friends kept asking, “Hey, if there are really four Aubreys, can I have one?” because she is such a delight. Helpful and funny and smart (smart mouthed too, in the good way). She’s fun to hang out with, she’s great with kids, she doesn’t mind doing her share. But like I told everyone…you have to grow your own.
I take the bowl Claire gives me and put it away in the cabinet. She pulls out a spatula and goes to the wrong drawer to put it in. I let her, thinking I’ll fix it later…she is taking great pride in her work.
This too shall pass and I will just wait it out…because before I know it, this little dervish who colors on her legs and dumps out my coffee into my yarn bag and wants to drink all of my water, every day…she’ll be like her sister…using her powers for good and not evil.
Changing the world.
“So maybe this moment will go in my thankfulness journal”, I say to myself. Because there’s freedom in figuring out that this too shall pass and I must just fight the good fight and persevere and it will all pay off in the end.
The Lord reminds me of a verse I learned while teaching the kids at church a few weeks ago.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
And the tantrums can be really wearisome. And honestly, sometimes the “help” she offers…it’s wearisome because I want to rush through and get it done. (Let’s don’t even go into how she helps by throwing everything away, including keys, shoes and library books.) The day to day and the here and now can be wearisome. But we remember the promises we made our children.
We are making world changers. That requires perseverance and hard work. And if we persevere, if we see it through and do the best we can to love them well…we will reap a harvest.
You can do this, Wearied Mama. You can do it.