Four Good Things

Sara Schaefer honestly

I love my children unconditionally. And you know that’s true because you love your children unconditionally, too. That is an absolute. One that I didn’t even realize was possible until I held that tiny human in my arms and watched him search for the warmth of my skin, his mother’s skin. I knew in that very moment there was no going back. My heart had just been split in two, and my son held part of it in his sweet, wrinkled hand. When the other two tiny humans came along, they grasped onto equal parts of my heart.

So we know it’s true. There is no shortage of love here, ladies.

But I have a dark secret that I don’t want to tell you. I’ve had trouble admitting it to myself. My kids annoy me. They irritate me, and there are times when I have wondered to myself if I love them as much as I thought I did. And that breaks my heart into even more pieces.

When I’m sitting on the end of my bed, wondering if I love my little people, the mom guilt sets in. And my darlings, it is an overwhelming and desperate feeling.

When I attended the first MOPS meeting of the year, they asked the question, “How will you notice goodness in your lives?”

I thought about this question a lot. There is so much goodness in my life, and I know that. But like everyone, I am quick to pick up on the bad stuff, the annoying stuff. I knew that I needed to think about this, especially focusing on my children.

So what are the good things? How can I see the good things in them when we’re rushing around in the morning, and nobody seems to be listening to me or when I’m trying to get anything done, and I have two littles screaming, fighting, and Heaven forbid, giggling incessantly. Or what about the crying baby? When it’s two in the morning, how can I notice goodness?

It really is amazing what I noticed when I finally slowed down and really watched my kids and listened to what they were saying. These are all things that I knew about my kids deep down, I just wasn’t taking the time to notice them. I don’t want to miss these amazing personalities anymore.

  1. Leadership: My four-year-old has some pretty amazing leadership skills. These are the same skills that drive me crazy. He could negotiate for hours (and he does). Many times, after he’s thrown out some pretty valid points, I find myself questioning my stance. I just hope he’ll use these skills for good someday instead of trying to negotiate for one more piece of licorice.
  2. Empathy: This same four-year-old is a highly sensitive child. When I tend to focus on the bad stuff, it’s usually because I’m embarrassed by the fact that he cries whenever he falls down or when he gets his feelings hurt. I find myself trying to push him away and wish that he would act tougher. But when I focus on the goodness, I notice how incredibly kind he is and how he is willing to stick up for his sister in an instant. He genuinely feels sadness when other people are sad, and he is always there in an instant when he sees that I might need a hug. He’s analytical and a deep thinker, and I’ve heard him talking to God when he thinks I’m not listening.
  3. Joy: My kids are happy. They are so happy that I get annoyed because they run around the house giggling and playing together. Yes, I get annoyed by that. It’s noisy, people. And I’m not much of a noisy person. But let’s get back to the fact that my kids are deliriously happy. For about 95% of the day, they are joyful and giddy with excitement and happiness. How amazing is that? I only wish I could go through life with the pure joy that they experience.
  4. Tiny voices: When the babe wakes up at two in the morning, I’m mad. I don’t want to be up. I resent that I’m still nursing, and my husband can sleep peacefully in our comfortable bed while I have to pull myself out of the warm bed and stumble into her room to feed her and try and get her to fall back asleep. I’m telling you now that I think I will always be irritated when I have to wake up in the middle of the night. That is just inevitable for me. But the goodness? I thank God that my sweet little baby has a voice and that she has healthy, little lungs that let her scream out. I thank God that she can open her eyes and smile the widest, toothless smile because she’s just happy I’m there. And I thank God that this sweet baby knows when she cries, I will come.

And it’s true. I will always come for them. They are my babies, and my love for them runs deep. When I’m feeling irritated, angry, frustrated, I need God to show me the goodness – I need help to see it sometimes. But oh, I am so thankful it is there.