Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Story of a Happy Mama


In case you have forgotten in spite of my many mentions, Ryan is in the throes of the terrible twos. While Chris was at his two brother's double bachelor party* two weeks ago, I skidaddled down to Ohio with the boys because I do not have the mothering fortitude to stay at home by myself for ten days (to all my military wife friends and readers ... you are amazing). It was a fun week! But toward the end, Ryan's tantrums and favorite hobby of defiance were near constant. It was probably a combination of being two, not having his dad around, lax discipline while being away from home, etc. but boy, were all of our nerves shot by the end. We do seem to have turned a corner since coming home and setting up a routine (I know ... I don't even recognize myself, but long live routines!), but when putting two weeks ago and now side by side, comparison could be the thief of a balanced judgment. 

The drive from Ohio to Chicago with Ryan and Conor wasn't too bad. Leaving at nap time gave me some leeway, and I had enough rap music at my fingertips to keep Conor happy when he was awake. I recently acquired Chris' old iPhone 4 when he switched to a flip phone both to save money and to stick it to the smart phone. All of his apps are still on it, so I saw the app that has a bunch of audio recordings of books in the public domain. While scrolling through the options, I saw that it had The Story of a Soul, St. Therese of Lisieux's autobiography. Chris is the theology junkie of the two of us, but it's kind of bad that I have never read it even though I have been to Lisieux and I have a blog named after a quote in said autobiography.


And so my guilt had me press play, and I began to listen to a lady whose poor attempt at pronouncing French words rivals that of my own. I did a little fist pump in the air when I heard this version's translation of, "The sun shines equally both on the cedar and on each tiny flower."  

I wasn't expecting to find parenting affirmation in the story, but lo and behold there it was. St. Therese quoted a letter that her mother wrote to her sister about her in between the age of two and three, " ... her stubbornness is almost unconquerable. When she has said ‘No,’ nothing will make her change; one could leave her all day in the cellar without getting her to say ‘Yes.’ She would sooner sleep there." 

I started laughing, and then I cried. This saint that I so admire was a stubborn, defiant toddler like my toddler! 

When we greeted Chris at the airport, I told him all about it and how happy, happy, happy I was to hear it. It isn't a pardon for Ryan's defiance and, at times, very grumpy demeanor. It isn't a proclamation declaring, "Go forth and tantrum!" I just feel like I can exhale after holding my breath since my first-born became a headstrong toddler because I know that the toddler who would rather stay in the cellar all day before saying, "Yes," became a saint. I'm still feeling like I'm breathing new air since hearing that passage from the book; St. Therese's shower of roses has given me a pair of rose-tinted glasses for this phase, and I find myself only sometimes, not constantly, drowning in this toddler-rearing. 

I'm not a park worrier. I don't worry when Ryan is climbing ladders at the playground. I don't worry when he is walking on his favorite ledge on campus. I do worry about his soul. I don't know if he is going to be a saint but, it is good to be reminded that he can be. 

-----------

* the note from up above - Chris really, really gets into planning. When you have his planning prowess and two brothers getting married in the same month, you have enough guys to rent this place on the cheap:



Have a big family trip planned near Sacramento? Stay here. Or, if you want to see a photos of this house that just scream, "PIN ME," go ahead and check out the listing. 


11 comments :

  1. I don't know if I've said this before, but I cannot recommend enough the John Rosemond book Making the Terrible Twos Terrific. I've re-read it for every kid, because two and three years will make a mother insane. At a minimum, his explanation of WHY they go all crazy on you will make you heave a sigh of relief that your child is normal and you are normal. Get it. Seriously. It is a total sanity saver, and he has great tantrum defusing ideas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kris, I'm going to check it out! Thanks!

      Delete
  2. Love this post! and, St. Therese! I would have cried from the hilarity and tidbit of sanity it shared too! Thanks for sharing, and what a little gift to be able to listen to that while driving! Oh, and that place is AMAZING!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, what a place to stay right?? And it really was the perfect thing to listen to.

      Delete
  3. I am seriously near tears weekly with Jordan's behavior. Sometimes I look at her and think, "maybe there's something wrong with her?" which makes me want to cry all over again. I don't take pleasure hearing you're having the same struggles, but I guess I am taking solace -hope that's ok :) 2 is rooouuugh right now. I feel like we should share a fist bump.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ps uhhhhhh that place??! Amaze. Grass Valley is seriously RIGHT next to where Sean grew up. His aunt lives there! So gorge.

      Delete
    2. Fist bump.

      I do cry from Ryan's behavior. Two, oh two. Ahhhhh.

      P.S. No way! Some future locale for a huge blogger meetup? ;)

      Delete
  4. My kids all went through the terrible threes. I heard about the terrible twos and was all ready for them and thought we were in the clear. Sadly, I was wrong. Creating a rule chart really helped with expectations. Hoping it's a quick phase for you!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Katrina, I love this quote, and I know how much you love St. Teresa. I just must say that I was a suuuper stubborn child, and am now a pretty stubborn woman (poor Bradley). It's not always the best quality, but I think stubborn hearts who love Christ, love with an authenticity and ferocity of spirit. My dad always told me, "Geena, your stubbornness is a gift from God, just please don't aim it at me." Sending love to y'all. XO

    ReplyDelete
  6. As far as the two's (or in our house, they were the three's), I always hung on desperately to my mother-in-law's favorite saying: "This too shall pass." She'd raised eight children, so I figured she knew what she was talking about. Sometimes it seemed like a particularly hard phase would never would pass, but it always did!

    Also, I love what you wrote about St. Therese. When I read The Story of a Soul and realized that she'd been a headstrong little girl, and that she didn't come out of the womb a saint, but became one by learning to overcome her flaws, it made me feel such hope that we could all be saints.

    Your boys are adorable, by the way!

    ReplyDelete