Loving the Challenges

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After Giovanna was born I felt complete and content, ripe with milk and oxytocin, brimming with bliss and love. I don’t remember much about her infancy but I remember these feelings.

I’m back here. Skyla has brought me right up to this heaven-scented cloud.

Meanwhile Giovanna takes me to the edge of it. Every day. Again and again. We are so high and life feels so perfect and then BAM out of nowhere we’re hanging onto the edge and one another so that we don’t fall into the great abyss.

Literally. Some of the more intense feuds end in Gigi and I clutching one another, embracing in an attempt to both apologize and feel better about the rocks upon which we’ve found our relationship.

I posted this picture to Instagram with the following caption, written in the heat of an ugly moment after Gigi had announced she was going bye-bye.

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This is not a simple mother-daughter picture. What you can’t see is the 30 day old baby nursing at my breast. What you can’t see are the struggles and the tensions, the screams and the tears, the words and the kicks. She hates me and she wants me and she loves me and she hits me. When I meditate on it I know that she’s angry with me for having another baby. I also know that some day she will be deeply grateful for her sister if she’s not already. We will get through it and we will all be better and richer for it.

So that pretty much sums it up.

Everyone says it’s natural, it’s normal, this too shall pass. A sweet friend reminded me that Gigi knows she is loved so she feels safe expressing her emotions–which is better than keeping her frustrations inside. My lovely neighbor said something similar: her reaction right now only proves that she has been cared for and felt special.

This is all true and I am eternally grateful for these beautiful children my body has miraculously produced.

As much as I struggle in the heat of the moment, I do appreciate these challenges because they are opportunities to practice patience and grace. It’s like building a muscle. You must challenge the muscle to its breaking point, creating tiny tears that signal the muscle to repair, eventually becoming a better version of its former self. You’ve got to rip everything apart in order to get stronger.

Parenting is about taking the bad with the good. The sleepless nights (and days) along with the long naps. The cries and the kisses, the tantrums and the snuggles, the rejection and the unconditional love.

She’s testing me. I will pass. I pray that it’s with flying colors.

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4 thoughts on “Loving the Challenges

    1. I’m trying! Writing is very cathartic for me, and of course sharing and connecting eases the struggles, so this blogging thing is a boon. Thank you for reading, dear Alison! Looking forward to reading more about your adventures 🙂

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  1. what a beautiful expression of the hard stuff that mamas face with our daughters, the tensions, the fears….I think so often that when Sophia and I go head to head, how desperately I don’t want it to be the way me and my mama did it. And it makes me step back, and take a deep breath, and try again. And communicate better. And hug more. And validate more. And reassure more. And connect more. And I think, oh Lord, and she’s only 5. We have a long way to go….which is plenty of time to keep growing, stretching, and learning. Oh yes, these sweet lil bellas will continue to test us, and we most definitely will pass!!!

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    1. Yes. Oh goodness. I’ve already failed this morning. It takes so much focus and presence to stay calm in the eye of the storm. I find that when I fill my cup with that which I love (writing, reading, exercising, nature, etc), I am in a better place to handle the tough moments.

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