So I’m a new mom. A complete rookie. One minute, I’m single with no kids. The next minute, married with lots of kids! One day, I have a clean house. The next day, peanut butter on the closet door handle. One minute, a bug free home. The next, boys bringing in crickets inside because they want to eat them with hot sauce. Makes me think I should rename my blog to, “The Adventures of Insta-Mom! ”
Being a wife and step mom is truly an adventure: full of exciting new possibilities, stunning views, unexpected turns in the road, loss, great weather, bad weather and all the unforeseen perils & challenges that come with an epic journey.
One unexpected turn was the kid’s desire to sleep in our bed. As a newlywed (1st time married), you can imagine my stages of reactions. At first, it’s cute. They wanna cuddle and be near you and there’s something GREAT about being needed by your kids. BUT as a rookie mom, I didn’t know that a kid’s need for respite… NEVER ENDS. It’s an endless, repetitive, relentless slew of needs and questions:
- “Can we sleep with you tonight?
- “Can I have the blanket? Can you cuddle me?
- “I need a glass of water.
- “I need to go potty.
- “Can you scoot over?
- “Can I sleep in the middle?
- “I want…
- “I need…
- “Will you….
- “Can I have…?”
Cute gets beaten to death and you hit the “oh-heck no!” stage. And when you say, “No”, they respond with, “Why?” and “Why not?!” TIMES 100!” *A note to those other rookies out there: DON’T GET SUCKED IN BY THE “WHY” QUESTION! It’s tempting to answer and try to reason with your children but I guarantee, it doesn’t work. And they wont go away. You will still get, “But why though?” followed by tears or a tantrum of sorts.
Upon investigation, a kid’s primary reason for wanting to sleep in mom/dad’s room is comfort and it’s natural (not annoying) for them to desire to be near you.
Side bar: I have to repeat to myself “It’s natural. NOT annoying.” Because if I’m being real, it’s annoying! Insta-mom is learning there is almost no other force on Earth as powerful as the relentless persistence of a child to get what they want or need. It can and does break you down . Problem is, in this case, giving into their demands is not conducive to building a much-needed newlywed foundation with your spouse.
So we’ve been setting limits and, boy oh boy, is the world falling down! At first, they push back, ask why, bemoan and make sure we are aware of the pain and agony we are causing them. “You don’t love me!” is my favorite. And when they realize direct resistance is futile, genuine tears kick in followed by genuine confessions of FEAR: fear of nightmares. Fear of the scary stuff in the world that may be coming through their window. Fear to be alone.
Truth be told about our initial response? GET OVER IT. Harsh, huh? Well…. we weren’t THAT rough. We would pray with them, pray over them and send them off to bed. And if they persisted and we sense tears are slightly motivated by manipulation, THEN we would encourage them to “get over it” and face their fears.
As an adult, I have lost touch of being afraid of the dark, nightmares and the scary bumps and sounds of the night. Facing our fears is a right of passage each and every one of us must travel in this life and I have done my fair share of traveling that road! No one is exempt from it. And even when we get victory over fear, it ALWAYS (persistently and doggedly) comes back to haunt us again. Because I have learned tools to deal with, I have failed to realize my new kiddos are rookies and may need some compassion.
If we are honest, we all probably had a Fear of the Dark and a Fear of the Night. Darkness is the umbrella for all fears. It is the cloak that comes with fear of being alone, fear of being abandoned, fear of being hurt, fear of being empty, fear of being a failure, fear of being purposeless and many more. Darkness always accompanies fear and it blinds us to the things that give us joy and makes us feel helpless. It offers no warmth and reminds us of our sense of depravity. Actually, if we are honest, many of us “adults” STILL wrestle with fear in the silence of night: the stale nothingness of darkness reminds us of how empty we feel. Who am I kidding? My kids are right! The dark is scary! Being alone is scary! Where’s my mommy?!
In life, darkness has a way of following us into the day too. I can’t imagine how DARK so many people in Texas feel right now after losing everything! The magnitude of disaster leaves me speechless. What about the feeling so many have with dark clouds of smoke covering the skies in Montana and ravaging EVERYthing beautiful and alive? And I hate thinking about how dark my friends and family are feeling as they grieve the loss of their beloved daughter, sister and mother. I cringe at the never ending black hole of depression, sense of betrayal and physical pain people battle with daily. When I look around, darkness, in the form of sadness, grief, loss and pain is EVERYWHERE, all the time. And like my kids, I often feel it is overwhelming and wants to swallow up my joy. Aren’t we all like kids? Longing for some form of comfort to get us through the dark? Longing for the break of day, the warmth of the sun or the healing embrace of another to know someone is there enduring with us?
Things got serious real quick, huh? Sorry… but that’s the point. One moment, life is good and the next, it’s falling down around you. Life gets scary when we least expect it. Darkness and evil persists and as I look for a solution to soothe my kid’s fear of the night, I admittedly look for solutions to soothe my persistent fears that the amount of pain, death and destruction in this world will swallow me up and leave me asking, “What’s the point in this life?!”
At Wal-Mart, I passed by an entire isle of lighting. Light bulbs, lamps, track lighting and… night lights. It dawns on me to buy one and bring it home. When I plugged it in, I was in shock. If the bedroom was compared to the universe, the nightlight was like a pin-needle dot in the midst of the dark skies. The tiny little nubbins cast about as much light into the area as a fire-fly. But you would have thought I bought the kids a ticket to Disneyland. They were so appreciative and excited about their tiny pin-dot sized nightlight that I thought it was a little ridiculous. But hey…as long as they sleep in their own room, who am I to judge?! 🙂
Today, I saw this image and that’s when I realized why the kids were so excited about the tiny nubbin light in their room:
hope, is the light that pushes back darkness.
Hope=light and light=hope.
When it’s dark everywhere and there is a tiny dot of light, where does our eyes focus? Uncontrollably, it focuses on the light, right? We squint at it until it burns a little dot in our pupil so that when we close our eyes, we STILL see the light we were just starring at.
It is said that darkness is the ABSENCE of light. Darkness flees from light but light never flees from darkness. Light is the cure for darkness. Light doesn’t just give us hope…hope IS OUR LIGHT. In other words, when it’s so dark in our minds, in our world and our experience and we can’t see and feel alone and helpless…we have to search deeply to find a speck of hope to bring comfort to our souls. Hope is the light we need to sustain us through the night.
The nightlight gives my kids strength to endure through long dark hours . Hope is a tiny but mighty tool necessary to persist in the midst of heartache and trouble. Just a seed of hope brings comfort and joy.
Romans 12:12 is our help to solution to combat the fear of darkness: ” Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
My dearest friends and family who are hurting, suffering, wondering and maybe in a dark season; you might be asking, “Is there any hope?”
Yes. Lean on and find your trusty Night Light: Call out for the Light of the World and look up for your hope for Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” _John 8:12
Love and blessings to you,
Angela (aka, Insta-mom, aka Wife and mom in training)
(Written in honor, tribute and memory of Alany Flores)