joy through the screaming

I cried yesterday for the first time in almost four months.


I remember the last time very well: Eleanor was just over a month old, Lane was back at work, and I was trying to nurse her while James threw play dough toys at me. Not our best moment.
Four months is kind of a long time for me to go without crying, so I was kind of surprised yesterday when the tears sprang to my eyes.

This week has been a little rough. Both kids woke up with bad colds Tuesday morning: runny noses, coughing, eyes watering, and not sleeping well. Any plans we had or would have made were cancelled due to illness. We made one trip to the library and one to the park, but have been pretty cooped up aside from that. He had been difficult all morning. I should have seen the melt down coming.

It was time for James' nap. Eleanor was in her bassinet asleep. James hadn't taken a nap the day before or slept well the night before.  As soon as the words "nap time" were out of my mouth, he lost it. Screaming and yelling and fighting with all his might to not be put in his bed.
This is not a situation in which he can be talked down. He is two and half, and therefore not rational. I carried him into his room, pleading with him to lie down and I would cover him up and sing to him.
One final shrill yell out of him did it: Eleanor was awake. And screaming also.

I put James in his bed, quickly tried to cover him while he kicked, and explained that I would come sing to him as soon as I could get Eleanor back to sleep. I think he felt a bit of remorse for waking her up because he didn't argue and he stayed in bed.

I ran into our room (where her bassinet still is) and grabbed her up.
She was shrieking by this point, which doesn't happen often. I figured she must be hungry and tried to nurse her. No luck, she just kept screaming.
I stood up and rocked her in my arms as I paced the room. She didn't let up.
I tried nursing again, pacing again. She wailed and wailed. My ears and head began to ache, but I held her close, hoping to at least calm her down to a cry or a whimper.

Then it happened. I could feel my face getting hot and my eyes getting watery. I didn't try to hold it back.
I continued pacing and rocking and crying. And I started to pray.
I asked God to help me and to stop the screaming. I asked Him for wisdom and for my head to stop throbbing.
Then I began to thank Him.
I thanked Him for the little deafening miracle in my arms, and the one that kicked and fought me all the way to bed. I thanked Him that my babies didn't scream out of pain or hunger or cold or fear, as so many children, no less worthy of comforts than my own, do every day. I thanked Him for their health and for my healthy body that I am privileged to exhaust each day by caring for these sweet little gifts. I thanked Him for being there with me.
And my tears, which had begun as tears of exhaustion, frustration, and self pity, turned into tears of thanksgiving and joy.
Eleanor fell asleep in my arms, James fell asleep in his bed, and I had a few minutes to go and read my Bible and praise the Lord that in the screaming and kicking and fighting and exhaustion and tears there is still joy.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, 
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 


katie  – (April 21, 2013 at 12:46 PM)  

you are a fabulous mom. I look up to you so much! I hope that in the meltdowns and chaos I can choose to be thankful as well. love you!

Ashley  – (April 21, 2013 at 4:09 PM)  

Thank God for His grace, especially when it comes to parenting!...
You will be a wonderful mother :-)

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