She Needed Me to Be Very, VERY Patient.

In June, my focus words were poise, purpose, and patience. I didn't blog about them very much. That doesn't mean I wasn't thinking about them. I actually wrote quite a lot about each in my personal journal (believe it or not, I don't share EVERYTHING on here).

I like these words. I liked focusing on them and I won't be forgetting them just because June has come to an end and goodness knows, I've got a long way to go to really become as poised, patient, and purposeful as I'd like to be.

I'm going to use my next few posts to discuss my June words a little bit. I hope you don't mind.

I'm starting with PATIENCE.

I chose patience mainly because of Harper. The notorious "terrible twos" arrived a few months early at our house, bringing with them a slew of tantrums and messes. The first time I carried a kicking and screaming child out of the library was a nightmare for me. It was also the beginning of a really tough couple of months. I had a difficult time adjusting to Harper's newfound temper. Sometimes, during one of her mega tantrums (which is what I came to call her kicking/screaming on the floor types of moments), all I could do for Harper was make sure that she had a relatively soft surface to flail upon. At one point, Harper was throwing tantrums over everything. If I tried to put a new pair of shoes on her, she'd throw a tantrum. If I tried to change her diaper, she'd throw a tantrum. If I offered her a sippy cup that didn't have side handles (the audacity!), she'd throw a tantrum.

If I asked for a kiss, she'd say, "NO!"
If I fed her breakfast/lunch/dinner, without fail, she would throw it on the floor.
If I tried to bathe/lotion her, she would kick me.
If we went to a restaurant, she'd cause a scene (we just stopped going to restaurants... thank God for take out).
And the list goes on- Hazel's water was dumped several times a day on a daily basis, our kitchen cupboards/drawers were raided more than once, makeup was spilled, sofas were colored on, and precious treasures were broken.

Keep in mind that I'm not complaining here. I expected this behavior and even welcomed it because it showed me that Harper was developing into a strong girl with a mind of her own. I think you already know that I will not complain about Harper (more about that here). I think that complaining about such a beautiful little miracle would be downright silly of me. Through all of the tantrums and messes, I loved Harper and I told her so. Besides, in between screaming fits and broken figurines, there was snuggling.

Still, I couldn't help but feel frustrated as Harper tested limits and pushed boundaries.

What was I to do? Beat her? Yell at her? Lock her in her room? Drop her off at the nearest orphanage? None of these options seemed right for me (hopefully they don't seem right for anyone) and so I asked for patience. I asked myself for patience (MORE PATIENCE, to be exact. I already was a very patient person. For Harper, I needed to become a very, very patient person...).

I asked myself to be patient with Harper. I constantly reminded myself that Harper is a toddler and that it's important for her to express emotions and push boundaries at this stage in her life. I told myself that this world is new to Harper and she is just trying to figure things out one day at a time (aren't we all?). I made myself take deep breaths. I tried to set a good example for Harper- a PATIENT example. I made sure to not take her tantrums/kiss refusals personally. As I put her in time out, I told her I loved her. I tried to focus on her good behavior more than her naughty behavior.

Above all, I let my love for Harper guide me.

Just like scissors always beat paper, my love for Harper is always going to be stronger than my anger at her naughtiness.

All I have to do is go back to that moment when she was born- when she was first placed in my arms, all perfect and heavenly- and I am literally flooded with love. Any and all petty frustration disappears. It's like magic. Isn't that what I'm always trying to say? Motherhood is magical.

This moment was magical. I try to carry the memory of it with me at all times. It helps me blast anger (which is ugly and harmful) right out of the park.

After many time-outs and countless pep-talks (some to Harper, some to myself), Harper has learned boundaries (a few, at least) and I've learned that there is always room for a little more patience. No matter how good we think we are, we can always be better. We can always give more. We can always love deeper. We can always aim higher. We can always be more. I think that is the really awesome thing about being human- that our greatness has no limits unless we set them for ourselves. When we realize that nearly everything- including our patience level- is our own personal choice, all boundaries disappear and we are free to become better.

Abby Adams

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