We took a walk on a sunny afternoon and Oliver came upon this giant feather, an answer to a tiny prayer-- he had been asking for a quill and ink for a week, after taking apart one of my pens for ink and using a large splinter of firewood to write with it.
The next day we went to the craft store and bought a little pot of black ink with a real nibbed pen. He's only allowed to use it with a small drop cloth underneath at the kitchen table. I have easily cleaned up small amounts of ink from the floor so far; fingers are crossed. I may be dating disaster here; eight year-old boys aren't renown for their tendencies toward tidiness.
But this is the first time he has shown much interest in writing down words. Usually, any request to write something down is, shall we say, poorly received. This may also be the way of eight year old boys-- I have little way of knowing, never having been one. I started keeping a diary at the age of ten, and--deeming it too sloppy-- rewrote the whole thing in another journal. Go figure.
My counselor tells me that boys my son's age are still little kids, not big kids yet. This is helpful in reframing my expectations. Expectations, I'm discovering, are a pretty big part of the equation when we're talking about how I'm feeling regarding my life.
Think of somewhere you're experiencing frustration in your day-to-day life. Now think about your expectations in that area. They probably aren't lining up with reality and that's what actually might be causing the frustration, but could they be adjusted? I'm not telling you to lower your standards below what's good or healthy, but maybe it's just not gonna happen for your child to sleep through the night unaided until nineteen months (raises hand), or maybe it's not realistic for your husband to possess the ability to read your mind (waves hand in air), or for your highly introverted self to ever really look forward to things that most people around you seem to enjoy. (Someone I know is like this; it's not me at all.)
Adjust expectations. I expect that my son will be noisy today, because he is a little boy, not a grown man. He will probably cry hard and dramatically about something and I will want to stop my ears up with cotton. He will likely inform me during at least one meal that he's sorry, he just doesn't like any of the the food I cook. (Thank you, dear child-- how charmingly diplomatic of you.) But it is also is likely that he will pray with me at bedtime and put his little boy arms around my neck when I tuck him in, and give me a hug and tell me he loves me, contrary to all prior evidence. I will have to choose to believe him, because sometimes that is what keeps me going.
Mothering is a mixed bag. It's fair trade dark chocolate and full-sized peanut butter cups one minute and circus peanuts and those weird white toffee things with Christmas trees in the center the next. You get what you get, and may the Lord have mercy on all of us as we muddle through the tough parts; may he unite us to himself, and may we have the eyes to see that these lovely, exhausting kids are part of our sanctification, our refinement, and that they are a blessing. Thanks be to God for tending to the healing of my selfish and haughty spirit.
Love to each of you. I pray for realistic expectations for us all.