Saturday, 15 November 2014

Brutal truths

My beautiful boy - looking like butter wouldn't melt
Today, my spaniel thoroughly defied me. I'm talking out and out rebellion.

For over half an hour he evaded my demands, sat blatantly on the path ahead, head cooked as if he just didn't understand the command we spent 18 months perfecting. When eventually he did decide to come, it was begrudgingly, and at the last moment, he sprung away with glee and we began the stand off again.

I struggled to keep my voice calm, struggled to focus on him and not the disgruntled noises coming from my sling, struggled not to either lose my rag completely or burst into tears. A little whiny voice in my head was complaining bitterly about how unfair it was that we had spent 18 months of exhausting, painstaking training to get to casual obedience, only for us to pop out a baby and watch our dog turn delinquent.

After a few moments of this monologue, I looked down at my munchkin. I looked at my Crazydog, so cute in his defiance. So lovable.

And my head went: Oh. So this is what parenting is going to look like. 

At which my heart sort of split into two personalities. One nodded sagely and acknowledged the great but rewarding challenge that my husband and I have taken on. The other let out an awful despairing wail. It wasn't pretty.

Crazydog and Munchkin playing happily
Walking home, Crazydog firmly on his lead and trotting meekly - even apologetically? - at my side, I had a little faith insight too. That this exhaustion we feel when we watch our dog / child / selves completely undermine all previous training / parenting / self-insight and bettering must be something God feels daily about me. Watching me make a mess of a fragile relationship with a crass word, lose my temper because I haven't asked for help from Him, feel resentment when I'm asked to lend a hand, but I'm 'too busy'. He must sigh, focus on me and repeat his command calmly, again and again until I get it.

This helped. If you don't relate to this angle of thought, please just brush it aside and know that if you have felt like this, so too have many, many other parents.

If you have a faith too, and can relate to God as your Father (I think He embodies mothers too in his nurturing role, but that's probably a whole other post / discussion), maybe this will help you too. Because in my struggles as a parent, I learned a bit more of God's heart,  understood a bit more that He really is the ultimate Parent. I hope that, by being a parent myself, these reminders on a daily basis might help me grow closer to Him. Perhaps I might get better at listening to His guidance too.

I have to admit that the day didn't really get better and, being a bit under the weather, I found it hard to relate to the more philosophical and calm part of myself. That said, she is still in me somewhere, even on the hard days, so she must be tempering the inner scream even when I don't realise it. And I can take a breath and ask for God's peace and calm when I don't have enough of my own.

I don't really have much of an idea how to morph more thoroughly into the sage Earth Mother I'd so like to be and away from the panicked, impatient mess that I too often am, but that doesn't mean I won't keep looking. And hopefully, asking for help along the way.

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