Failing spaces

Categories faith, kids, motherhood

Sometimes, we are really bad at things we feel like we should be good at as parents.

For example, I am really bad at putting my almost-two-year-old down for a nap. Not really bad as in I don’t do it or I put it off when I should, but really bad as in almost every time I try, he resists and I do not achieve my goal.

I’m pretty sure it goes back way to the beginning of our history together, mamma and son, when I wouldn’t try very long or hard to get him to fall asleep (because I typically had a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old waiting for me in the other room). If it seemed like he would need more than 15 minutes to fall asleep, I would usually just can the idea and hope that the next attempt would go more quickly.

But ever since he’s been a once-a-day napper, I make it happen. At least, I try my best to make it happen. I’ll make sure his tummy’s full, diaper’s changed, and energy’s out. Then I’ll go through the routine of a little bit of milk and a lot of rocking. Or I’ll walk him around his room. Or I’ll walk him around my room because it’s darker in there. Or I’ll put him in the stroller and push him around inside, or outside, or a combo of both—whatever will work. Because, if you’ve ever had a child that needed a nap but wouldn’t take one easily, you reach a point where you will try ANYTHING.

Yesterday, it happened again. Simon usually falls asleep in the car on the way home after church. And when that doesn’t happen, my husband puts him to sleep (which he somehow does with minimal effort and maximum results). Yesterday, Simon did not fall asleep in the car. And my husband was not home to put him to sleep… so it was up to me. I gave him food. I gave him milk. I rocked him. I changed his diaper. I grew impatient. I walked him. I sang to him. I put him in the stroller outside. I grew weary. I gave him more food. I put him in the stroller inside. I grew angry. I walked him some more. I worked for an hour to try to figure out how to get that little guy to fall asleep.

Sometimes, we are really bad at things we feel like we should be good at as parents. And it’s an awful, hopeless feeling.

It’s also a place where God can step in and teach us, if we’ll listen. I recently heard my oldest boy paraphrase something his first grade teacher told him: “It’s good to fail, because, ya know, then we can learn things.”

While I was struggling to put my Simon down, at the height of my frustration, I opened up the Bible app on my phone and this verse popped up (a verse I had read a hundred times before, but a verse that stopped me in my anger-ridden tracks):

“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory.” John 1:14

UNFAILING love. Love for this little boy that I was struggling to love in the moment. Love for this struggling mamma who was anything but lovable in the moment.

Even in our weakest, most broken, most incapable moments, God has a love for us that does not fail. Ever.

God, I need that. I want that.  I need you to be that for my kids.

The beautiful thing is that he is that, and he always will be that. There is a glory there that is unlike anything that we know here on earth. There is a hope there that makes our failing spaces beautiful because of his unfailing graces.
Did I ever get my boy to take that nap? Well, I finally did what I’ve done only a handful of times: I put him in the car and drove around town. The first yawn from his little mouth was the sweetest thing I had heard all day.

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