True Gratitude

Toddlers are hard.

Modeling his best "angry face."

Did anyone ever tell you that?

I was never let in on the secret.

I mean, sure, I heard about the "terrible twos" and all of that.

But, we floated through two.

Seriously.  Two was an awesome year.  Tons of sweetness, lots of learning, joy abounding.

We thought we were home free.

For real.

But, then came three.  Ohhhhh, three.

Don't get me wrong, we have AMAZING moments with him everyday.  Seriously.  Cuddles and giggles and dancing and reading and laughing.  The good stuff.

On his third birthday last spring.

But three has come with a whole new set of challenges.

Fits and yelling and stomping and arms crossed and whining oh my.

Who knew that talking and knowing would come with opinions and determination and frustration?  Everyone else?  Oh.  Got it.

And as a parent, you sort of expect those things, right?  I mean, you know that no matter what, you're going to have some craziness.  It's more about channeling it and trying to guide.  Figuring out that balance between pushing too hard and having those oh-so-high expectations of good behavior and realizing that this little person has as many emotions running through his body as a full-grown adult with only an ounce of the coping skills.  Yikes.

And eventually, you start to wonder.  And second guess.  You read a million articles and ask a million friends and try a million different approaches to parenting.

And sometimes, you have a brief respite (God's gift to keep your sanity?) but the chaos comes back, sometimes in a new form, sometimes in the same one.

And the self-evaluation continues.

And then, something amazing happens.

It stops.

Not for a few hours or a day or even a week.

It actually stops.

Sure, there are regresses, but things have shifted from chaos all the time with pieces of awesomeness to awesomeness all the time with pieces of chaos.

I can TOTALLY handle pieces of chaos.

And that little crazy person amazes you.  He's funny.  And smart.  And wonderfully independent.  He's trying new things.  He tells you how tough he can be.  He hugs his sister and asks to buy her a gift for his birthday.  He shares.  When you apologize for doing something to him accidentally, he tells you not to apologize because 'you didn't mean to do it.'


And then you go window shopping for hours looking at some ideas for this little man's birthday in just a few short weeks and he shows you his fantastically engaging and well-behaved personality.  No whining, no begging, no fits.  (Who IS this kid!?)

And after two and a half hours, he sees a small thing that he would love to have, and you say 'yes.'

And he spends the next two hours thanking you and tell you how cool it is and how much he loves it.

And you're almost embarrassed that this $10 toy makes him this happy.

But it's also pretty cool.

Because you know that you're witnessing true gratitude.

Actual excitement and thankfulness.

And suddenly, you're majorly humbled.

Because you know that you had so very little to do with it.

This little toddler has gone through that time of learning and challenging, and although it's not over, you realize a new level of maturity has been reached right before your eyes.

Loving on baby sister a few weeks before turning four..

Happy early birthday to the little man who came into our lives and shook us up in the very best ways possible.

Thank you for teaching us more about love and life every single day you're here.

I only hope we can allow you to grow and guide you without interfering in your already-there awesomeness.

We love you.


  1. <3 this, these are the moments that parenting is all about! I too, at times want to pull my hair out when dealing with my children now 12 and 10 but moments like these thru out childhood touch my heart and make it all worth it.

    Angela S.


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