All of Parenting is Hard – And Soft

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It wasn’t even 8 a.m., and there I was, huddled in the corner of my kitchen crying.

While attempting to be a great mom and provide my almost 2-year-old with a nourishing breakfast, he had slammed the pantry door shut – my head caught right in the action.

Involuntarily, I let out a yell and crumbled to the ground holding my head in pain. Of course, this scared my toddler, and he joined in the crying. The newly-crawling baby just sat there in the middle of the kitchen, staring at both of us as if this pitiful show was only there for his entertainment.

As I sat there holding my head, all I could think was, “I’ve got to get out of the house today. No matter what, we can’t stay cooped up here this morning. He’s driving me crazy!”

I didn’t have it in me. My fuse has grown shorter and shorter as my toddler has grown taller and taller.

We did get out of the house. It was a drizzly, overcast day with a high of 49 degrees, but we bundled up and headed to the zoo. Walking outside in the peaceful atmosphere the zoo provides was so good for both of us.

He walked while I pushed the stroller that carried sleeping baby brother. As I watched my oldest walk alongside me full of confidence and “talking” like he was the zoo’s tour guide, I was reminded how quickly he is growing up, and how short this time period in life is.  

At the same time, my head was still pulsing from being slammed in the door earlier, and I was reminded that this season we are currently in is also very hard.

He stood in awe looking at the lions. Then he glanced over and saw an even more fascinating leaf. He ran to the leaf and brought it back to me exclaiming, “Leaf!” It left the picture I was trying to take slightly blurry, but that’s okay. His pure joy over finding the leaf and wanting me to experience it, too, softened my heart in the most incredible way.

The moment right before the leaf caught his eye.

How is it that these tiny humans can do something so hurtful one moment, then show immeasurable kindness the next moment?

I’m not naïve enough to think that we’re at the peak of the mountain, and it’s all downhill from here. All of parenting is hard.

But during this toddler stage, I’m so thankful for the innocent displays of genuine love and happiness. It’s like they’ve been hardwired to remind us just how much we love them, right at the times we are at our breaking point. My heart – and today my pounding head – are so thankful for that.

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