I’m the mama to a five-year-old. She’s cute, she’s sweet, and really, she is just a fantastic human being. I love spending my time with her…she makes life happy and full of laughter and joy.
And not in a good way.
When she was teeny-tiny, I used to LOVE doing bedtime. We’d rock in her chair, read stories, I’d sing to her and pray…really, it was the scenario I’d always dreamed of. And with just one child, my husband and I would invest a good 45 minutes in the whole bedtime routine…it was pretty picture-perfect, even until the time she turned four.
It’s entirely possible that I had ZERO clue of how lucky I was ;)
And then…well, she turned BEYOND four, and she realized what that thing called stalling was and, suddenly, bedtime became that thing that made me want to run for the hills of Pennsylvania. (I live in Illinois.)
It started off sort of cute. Once we said our good nights, I’d leave her little light on and go back downstairs. Within minutes, sometimes seconds…
“MOMMY!!!” (Can we just pretend that word is in bigger caps, just today?) ;)
And so I’d hike it up the twelve, steep stairs to her room to find out what could be causing this ear-splitting outburst.
“What’s wrong, sweetie?”
“Nothing, Mommy. I just want one more hug and kiss.”
Ok, I’ll totally admit it. I’m a softie, and I’m also a hugger, and I pretty much melted. Of course, I obliged and thought, What an amazing girl.
Sometimes the scenario would repeat itself before she’d doze off…and not too long after that, she learned the power of
ONE. MORE. DRINK. OF. WATER.
Translation: How to Stall Bedtime Just a Bit Longer
Dum, Dum, Dum…
It was a night like most others, except my husband and I had each made two separate trips back upstairs to see what it was our five-year-old so desperately needed. She yelled, once again, for another drink, and I lost it. I shouted, loudly enough for all of Wisconsin Street to hear, I HATE BEDTIME! There may have been a foot stomp or a tossing of the remote.
It was not exactly my finest parenting moment.
But it was true. What had been my favorite time of our day had become my dreaded nemesis, the kind that made me want to hide under the bed. (And I might have, had I been able to actually fit there.)
She always wanted more…MORE drinks, MORE hugs, MORE of something. She had more needs than I could handle and I saw my patience not-so-slowly dwindling into negative numbers.
I was thinking about it a few days later during my Thursday morning Bible study, and I confessed to my friends there that, at bedtime, I struggle to love my daughter like my Father does. I want to put her to bed and be in peace for the ten hours of non-kid time I should get.
And it was humbling to realize that God doesn’t look at His children that way.
God hears us when we call out to Him, and He meets us where we are with what He knows we need. << Click to Tweet
I thought about the times I ask Him for more. More grace, more forgiveness, more…everything. He’s the One Who gives graciously and without a second thought, even when the things I’m asking for probably far exceed the extra drink of water my daughter is in desperate need of.
I’m still struggling to love bedtime. If my husband offers, I gladly take him up on it, and bless his daddy heart…he’s far more patient with her that time of the day.
But I’m really, really trying to love my girl like my Father loves all of His children.
Even if it means an extra drink of water.
Mel Schroeder is a follower of her Father, wife to Tobin, mama to Mae, a friend. She loves music, running, long chats over coffee, and could probably live on dark chocolate. A dreamer who loves everything from swinging on vines in the jungle and surfing, to dancing through her days with her sweet girl and heart-spilling on her blog, she takes each step of the ever-winding journey with faith that her Father has it all planned for good. She blogs at A Barefoot Life and can be found on Facebook and Twitter. She is also a regular contributor for God-sized Dreams.