It's been just over two weeks since I made the transition from one to two children. And in these short, but long, two weeks, I can say without hesitation that it's been one of the biggest challenges of my life. But not in a bad way. Because I believe in good challenges. The kind that grow you more as a person. The kind that chip away the sinful, selfish desires and replace them with patience, with kindness, and with unconditional, overwhelming love.
And that's what having children does to you.
I learned this well after Micah was born. On top of learning what it means to put someone else's needs before your own, answer cries at 2am, 4am, 6am, and sacrifice many warm meals and showers in order to feed a hungry baby for the 12th time that day - my husband and I also learned a valuable lesson in faith.
After Micah was born, we spent nearly every other week driving an hour to the pediatric cardiologist, where they poked and probed and made my newborn little baby cry. As I watched helplessly, I learned that sometimes love hurts. And doing the best thing for your child, isn't always the easiest thing. A lesson I wouldn't have minded waiting a couple months (or years) to learn.
But God was working through all of it. And the end result was healing in Jesus' name! My faith and many others, was made stronger because of my son's heart defect. And that made it all worth it in the end.
So after all we learned and experienced with our first child, you would think we would be thoroughly equipped for the challenge of handling two... under two.
But we quickly learned in the first few days home from the hospital, that we needed a double dose of the patience, kindness and love that we thought we had acquired from having one child. Our tanks were running empty... fast.
In all honesty, our second child has become the easy one. We've already been down this road before. We know what to expect with her when she cries or wakes up in the middle of the night. But the challenge has come in the form of our newly promoted big brother. The baby turned toddler overnight. Screaming and tantrums included. And it's not like he's jealous of his new little sister, in fact, he is the sweetest when he has her in his arms. I truly believe it's just normal 18 month old behavior, that is amplified now with our attention split between the two of them.
I may have had enough patience to deal with our oldest throwing his food and rubbing it in his hair when he was the only child. But now I need enough patience to also handle a baby spitting up all over mine (and if anyone was wondering, breast milk is not a good natural hair conditioner).
Though it's hard and uncomfortable, this season of motherhood and parenting is a daily refining process. As soon as I think I am comfortably sailing through, God allows what we all know as a "growth spurt" to occur in the child we think we have figured out or He gives us another one! Right now, it's both for us. And I am very, very thankful. Because in this season, I am constantly forced to rely on God to supply all of my needs.
I may not have enough patience for tomorrow, but I have more than I did yesterday.