Wow, it’s been almost TWO years since my last post…not sure why I stopped because I was enjoying it. Once I fell out of the habit it quickly became easy not to blog so my goal here is just to restart and write when I feel like I have something to say. No promises on how often or what I’ll blog about-I’m sure most will be about my family and my thoughts on life with them, but there may be other topics from time to time too. If a topic is political or religious, I’ll let you know up front so you can pick and choose what you want to read.
A lot has changed in my life since the last post. Hannah is two years old (the time has really flown by), I have a new job with a great non-profit organization in Oklahoma City, we no longer have neighbors that make weekend nights difficult, and I feel like I have this being a dad thing down pretty well…….until today.
Like I said, Hannah is two years old and there is a reason the phrase “terrible twos” exists. She is constantly testing her boundaries and pushing the limits to learn what is acceptable and what is not going to fly with mom and dad. If she doesn’t get her way she cries, screams, throws things and/or hits us-all pretty normal behavior for her age and nothing to get worked up about but it is frustrating and requires a consistent approach to how we handle it. I think we do a reasonable job with it (Lea Ann is much better at that than I am) and we try to balance that in by having fun and saying “Yes” but there is a lot of “No” and “Hannah, stop” in our conversations right now.
Last night, I was trying to talk to Hannah about making good choices and at one point I told her to “Look at me” so we could talk-I’ll confess it was a one-way conversation with me doing all the talking. For some reason I have it in my head that trying to explain things to her actually helps. A few minutes later she was walking around the room mimicking me when she walked up, grabbed my cheeks and said “Look at me” while she continued babbling. You’d think that I would have got the message that my language probably sounded pretty similar from her perspective but no…..
Today was one of those days that I’m sure all parents can relate to. Hannah woke up earlier than normal this morning and she was constantly running around getting into things she wasn’t supposed to and testing the rules-basically doing what a toddler is supposed to do. Lea Ann and I even mentioned how we were looking forward to going back to work tomorrow to get a break from Hannah’s screaming, crying and temper tantrums. At dinner time, I lost my patience and yelled at her. I’m normally pretty good about not raising my voice at her but I failed today. I realize it’s not that big of a deal but still it’s something I try to avoid because I can see how it scares her when I yell. The rest of the evening was pretty much more of the same although we did end the night having a little fun standing and jumping on the bed for a while.
After her bath, I went to rock her and put her to sleep. We have a good routine-most nights we read a book but we always sing a couple of songs (“You Are My Sunshine” and “Jesus Loves Me”) before we pray. I started getting a little choked up during “Jesus Loves Me” and when it was time to pray, we started the usual:
“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep
Thy love be with me through the night, and wake me in the morning light
God bless Mommy and Daddy and me…..
This is where we begin asking God to bless all of her family and friends and we always do it in her voice but something different happened tonight. All that came to my mind was this phrase:
Please help Daddy remember that I’m only two years old and trying the best I can
I paused to try and move on with the normal prayer but nothing would come out of my mouth. Tears were running down my face and Hannah looked up at me and asked “Hurt?” I smiled down at her and told her I was OK but I wasn’t really. I struggled for a couple of minutes to regain my composure and was finally able to squeak out the phrase above “Please help Daddy remember that I’m only two years old and trying the best I can.” It was tough to speak out loud then, it was tough to relate the story to my wife after Hannah had gone to bed and tears are still running down my face hours later as I type this. So my prayer for tonight and I hope for always is to remember those words.