“Are we there yet,” especially when spoken in a whiny, impatient voice, often gets on a parent’s very last nerve. We all want to be there already, right?!? If it was up to me, I’d be able to snap my fingers and we’d magically be teleported to whatever our destination might be. No traffic. No long car rides. No messy car snacks. I don’t want to be sitting in a car with my children any more than they do. But if we want to get to our destination, we have to buckle up and enjoy the ride the best we can.
I’ve noticed that I often ask myself, “are we there yet?” when trying to navigate through a particular season. More often than not, it’s in regards to wondering when a difficult phase one of my boys is going through will be over. When will we finally move past this? When will he finally learn to do that on his own? At what age can I expect him to…? I’m always looking ahead to when things might be a little easier.
But what I’ve come to realize is that as soon as one phase is ending, another one begins. It makes sense knowing that there’s not a break in between Spring and Summer and more often than not, one season does not just abruptly stop for a new season to begin (unless you live somewhere like Wisconsin where winter seems to slap you in the face before you even see it coming). Seasons flow into each other. Temperatures gradually increase or decrease, flowers slowly bloom in Spring, leaves slowly change colors in fall, and suddenly the look of everything around you is different.
When our five year-old started kindergarten last month, we found ourselves in a new season with our 3 ½ year-old son now being the oldest at home every morning. I had been so focused on sending our oldest to kindergarten that I forgot about how this change would affect the other boys at home. It’s changed the way our sons play together while big brother is gone, it’s changed their responsibilities, and it’s changed the sibling dynamics.
It’s been wonderful in so many ways to watch the younger ones step-up in the absence of their brother! But there have also been some challenges. I’ve been recognizing new aspects of their personalities come out and trying to adjust how I parent to each of them. I’ve had to ease up some of my expectations because they aren’t able to help me in the same ways my oldest was able to when he was home.
Becoming the Student
Personally, I find myself in a new season as well. I’m trying to intentionally be a student of each of my children. I’m constantly trying to find what makes each of them feel encouraged and empowered. I’m learning what frustrates them and trying to avoid the things that exasperate them. I’m working to find ways to help them overcome their obstacles and find solutions to their problems. But wow, this is tough work! It takes intentionality, patience, and desire. Some days I’m lacking in those areas and find it easier to just parent them how I want to parent them. And those days are rough because I quickly learn that my way is not what they need.
It’s a beautiful thing that God designed each of my boys so differently. And I’m humbled that he chose me to be their mommy. But He doesn’t reveal to me their unique personalities just to impress me. He allows me to see what makes each of them tick and then equips me to love on each of them the way they best receive it. And in the moments when I choose to listen, He tells me just what each of my boys needs to hear throughout the day. These are the days I live for! These are the days when I choose to not be lazy or wish away a particular season. Instead, I embrace where we are in the moment and be the mommy God designed me to be for my boys. These days are so worth it, easy or not!
So while it’d be nice to have a break in between challenging seasons of life, maybe it’s better to breathe through it and cultivate a growth mindset in the areas God is calling us to mature. Maybe it’s better to find ways to make the ride fun by singing, dancing, and playing through it so that our, “are we there yet?” turns into “we’re already there?” Because before we know it, we’re going to stop and look around only to realize that everything looks a little different.
Let’s raise His Mighty Warriors TOGETHER!