People say it’s a lot of work raising children. I find myself wondering which part of it gives it that reputation: is it due to children unexpectedly waking me in the night, or is it that I have to think of constructive activities every day, or perhaps it is the never-ending search for a lost item – such as the television remote—that a toddler has relocated for you. Add to that list the the emotional juggling of three-year old whims, the firmness required to toilet train, and the timing of getting everyone fed before meltdowns occur. Whew, I’m tired just thinking about it.
There is always more to do and that can make parenthood feel like a blur from one event to another. It’s in this whirlwind that I find a longing to accomplish something—to see measurable progress in my job of raising children. And for me, that is a main contributor towards feelings of tiredness or lack of fulfillment. The marker posts of progress and achievement in child-rearing are hard to see and the feelings of accomplishment that feed human satisfaction sometimes seem elusive.
But then, when I least expect it, there are moments when a grain of goodness sprouts in my child and all the hard-won toilet battles, repetitive reading sessions, and hugs pay off. They are moments—just moments—but oh so precious. They explain how the word "rest" can be defined as "lack of friction" rather than "lack of activity." Here are a couple of those moments at our house: gracious interactions between brothers who are learning how to live together. When I see these boys express tenderness and compassion with each other or with others, I feel satisfied. That’s when I know we’re getting somewhere…and that somewhere is good.