learning life’s lessons the hard way

There have been and continue to be many lessons scattered along this new path I’m walking. I don’t think lessons are ever easy to learn. Lessons signify change, and I don’t always like change. The lessons in front of me these days are especially hard because I’m learning them at a heavy price – the cost of losing my son.

I have to admit, I can be a little stubborn sometimes which is probably why I don’t like learning new things – especially when they are hard. When Eric and I first started dating, he tried to teach me how to play the guitar. Let’s just say, that didn’t last long. I got frustrated because I didn’t pick it up quickly, and I lost my patience. I think I quit after one practice.

The lessons these last two years come with a lot push back, too. They are being placed in my lap, and I don’t necessarily want them. But I know God is trying to teach me things through the pain, so after some time I’ve opened my heart to learn.

Let me clarify, though. Opening myself to learning from this pain doesn’t mean I like what I’m going through nor does it mean I fully accept it, but I can’t live the rest of my life disgruntled, depressed and mad at the world. What kind of life would that be? What would I be teaching my kids? I want to live a life that Kate, Jackson and Ryder would be proud of me for, even when faced with one of life’s toughest challenges.

So, when I hear and see people complaining about their kids, I cringe. I’m not talking about day-to-day conversations where we rehash the crazy morning we had with our daughters before school and wonder when it will get better, or when these little ones do something naughty and makes us wonder what we’re doing wrong as parents. I am talking about the people who are annoyed with their kids, exasperated and voice it for the world to hear.

The words they say baffle me. It makes me mad that they are complaining, slightly jealous that they have a child to complain about, and sad for them. I know these aren’t Godly traits, so I am working on it, but I’m a work in progress.

I realize we all go through difficult moments with our kids. I do every day with Kate, especially right at homework time. For some reason, without fail, it is always a battle we fight. Sometimes there are even tears, and not necessarily from Kate. And, well, the other night I got poop’d on by a nine-month-old. As Eric came in to help, Ryder sweetly showered him with a present of his own. I know frustrations with my kids.

But I have learned the hard way not to sweat it. Sure, I might have to step back and take a deep breath during homework time. Hey, I even pass the torch to Eric so he can take over when it gets to be too much, when I feel myself reaching my limit. But these days I am enjoying my kids THROUGH these moments. I am grateful from beginning to end. Sometimes I have to dig deep for the gratitude, but it’s always there. I don’t take one second with them for granted.

If you think about it, these kids are just doing their jobs. These are learning moments for their young minds. Tough moments with homework – these kids are learning hard stuff. It’s frustrating for them. And sometimes they don’t want to do it. There’s a lot of things I don’t want to do either. Thankfully, I don’t have my mom looking over my shoulder making sure I complete them! Toddler temper tantrums, too. These are signs our kids are growing up. They’re learning what they can and can’t do. They are testing the boundaries and figuring it all out. Wouldn’t it be boring if we didn’t have all of this excitement going on?!

In about nine more months, Ryder will probably start throwing a temper tantrum here or there. I am not exactly looking forward to those moments, but I welcome them with open arms. I lost out on those moments with Jackson. And I’d do anything to have them back – the good and the bad.

It is troubling to me when I read on social media or hear people in casual conversations complain about their kids. I want to yell at them and remind them how lucky they are to have their children here on earth, with them. I wish people could see through the eyes of someone who has lost a child and learn this lesson without having to lose their own. I know if one of the last words I spoke of Jackson before he moved to Heaven was of me complaining about him, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.

Parents, I know it’s hard, but enjoy your kids in the good times and through the bad ones. Don’t take a single second for granted because you could wake up tomorrow, and it could all be gone.

Trust me. I speak from experience.

“Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.” -Psalm 127:3

A special moment between Ryder and Kate.

A special moment between Ryder and Kate.