You know the ones I’m talking about. At least, I hope you do.
The nights that feel overwhelming, the busy weeks that leaving us scrambling.
The nights the couch calls our name so loudly we can almost hear it. Oh wait, that just the four-year-old, scream-singing our name from his bed, two hours after bedtime.
The nights we don’t feel like cooking, so we take the four-year-old out to dinner. Only to remember that four-year-olds don’t do well in restaurants that don’t have play-places or where there’s other people who are trying to eat in peace.
The days when we’re not sure what to say. When everything feels just a little bit dissonant. And so we don’t say anything at all, and we stare into space, and we’re terrible company to be around.
It’s the days we’re searching for an answer. It’s the struggle to fight our cynicism, quiet our skepticism. It’s the dream of that sanctuary where an impossible shred of faith trembles in our fingers.
The days we’re deeply grateful for so many beautiful things in our life, for all the blessings, for all the kindnesses. And yet we’ve run out of the strength to make those things overshadow the weariness, the doubt, the anxiety.
It’s the days we’re not quite sure how we ended up here. The days we don’t understand regret or phrases like, “everything happens for a reason” or “I would change nothing.”
The days you can’t stop shaking under an onslaught of unwanted tears. Even now.
It’s the days parenting is the hardest. When the laundry piles up and we’re not sure how to make our kids eat or use the toilet or avoid talking about poop in public. When we accidentally yell. When we linger in the guilt. When we kiss those sleeping heads in hopes of forgiveness.
The days when sleep sounds nice but our bodies rebel. We worry and think and toss and turn, counting every train that honks its way through town.
The days we forget how to pray and are sure we’re doing everything wrong. The moments when we know that’s not true at all, and really we quite like ourselves but forgot how to cut ourselves some slack.
The sleepless moments when we realize the hardest part of parenting is the terrifying fact that we can’t protect them forever. We want them to grow up smart and kind… but that means learning about the world and its cruelty and its brokenness. And we hope beyond hope we can instill in them a crumb of faith, of hope, of compassion.
It’s the nights when we finally sit down, pick up a book, and tune out the sleepy humming from upstairs. We’re doing okay. In fact, we’re doing everything we can.
And that’s enough.