“I’m afraid of my tv”
“You shouldn’t be afraid of your tv, Bree, it can’t do anything but sit on your dresser”
“But I want daddy to take it out of my room”
“Tomorrow, kiddo. Now go to sleep.”
“Mommy, I can’t because I’m afraid”
“Ok, scoot over, I’ll lie down with you until you fall asleep”
So for about 40 minutes I snuggled close to her and as she tried to sleep I started remembering when it was just the two of us all day — well, until daddy got home from work. I think I was a better mom then. Definitely more patient and kinder and gentler. I didn’t raise my voice as much. I didn’t punish her as quickly. I was more understanding. Was it because she was just a baby? Or was it because I had less demands on my time? Was it because I didn’t have to sacrifice for more than just her? Or was it really because the older they get the harder they get?
When Jeremy was born I became a downgraded version of myself. I expected too much out of Bree. She was almost 19 months old when he came along. I had my fears about that, but until he was actually here I had no clue how hard it would really be. Soon, instead of spending all of my waking hours with her, I was trying to keep her out of my way so I could take care of him. I felt like I was always telling her not to touch him, don’t sit on him, don’t roll over on him, don’t do this, don’t do that. Gone was the positive reinforcement I had always given her. I became so critical and demanding and impatient. I was mean. She started to withdraw from me at times. She also became a tyrant throwing tantrum after tantrum day after day.
I didn’t want to be like that. I hated what was coming out of me. The first 6 months of my life with 2 children under 2 years of age was unbelievable. Hard isn’t the word for it. Downright impossible most days.
I hated who I had become. I felt guilt all the time for doing that to Brianna. Doing what? Having a baby while she was still just a baby herself. I love my little sweet Jeremy to pieces. But it cost his sister a whole bunch for a portion of time that I am grateful they will never remember. But I do. I remember.
I remember that I hadn’t raised my voice to Brianna… until he was born.
I remember that I always had fun taking her places with me… until he was born.
I remember holding her whenever she wanted to be held… until he was born.
I remember talking to her about everything and cuddling on the couch an hour before her bedtime… until he was born.
I remember so many good things about my mothering skills… until he was born.
But tonight I did the right thing. She was afraid. I stayed there and watched her fall asleep. I’ll bet I haven’t done that in years. I stroked her blonde silky hair. I caressed her soft plump rosy cheeks. I held her tiny hand and rubbed her fingers. I whispered “I love you” in her ears. I got up as slowly as I could and watched her breathe a few more times before I tip-toed out of her room.
I may have failed you a thousand times when you were a small little toddler, Brianna Lyn, but tonight Mommy stayed and I am so grateful that you were afraid of your television so that I could.
God bless you my child. Sleep and dream well.