Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Night Terrors

Last night the lightening just begins its flickering, with echoes of distant thunder rolls following, when I tuck the kids into bed. Adam's fifth day out of town, on his third week gone this summer, and I wearily heave myself into my bed hoping against hope that both kids might miraculously stay in their beds for once. Minutes later, rain pours over the eaves and my eyes flutter closed just in time for the pitter patter of steps and a tremulous mommy? I roll over, and Jayci explains she looked out the window and saw two of our chickens stuck outside of the coop in the thunderstorm. They'll be fine, I assure her. We even call daddy to confirm. But thirty minutes and much sobbing later, I sigh and we pull on our rain coats and boots as lightening flashes and rain pounds the ground.

I'm not touching the chicken though, I tell her.

No offense mommy, but it kind of makes me think you're a scaredy cat that you're afraid of chickens, she replies.

We dash through the rain and Jayci safely deposits the admittedly sad hen back into the shelter of her coop. After toweling off and climbing back into respective beds, I check the clock (11:24pm), as loud thunder cracks and Jayci and Caden dash to my bed.

Later, both kids lay tucked quiet in their cozy yellow bunk beds. The thunder rolls distant grumbles, and rain falls gentle instead of harsh. I am startled awake at 1:30am (and again at 3:45 if we're keeping count) by the kind of shriek from Caden that can only mean he has not been awakened by a scary dream; but rather is still trapped in the mire of one. I roll awkwardly out of bed, and try to rush to get him before he wakes up Jayci. My waddling, however, is not fast enough, and basically the night is a wash of not sleeping and Caden flailing and Jayci complaining and by the time the sun peeks over the horizon, I am done.

I yell at Jayci and Caden more this morning than I have perhaps in all nearly-seven-years of parenthood combined. And then spend a few hours berating myself, before collapsing exhausted back into bed while the kids watch strings of television shows that I at least hope might be considered semi-educational.

The pure physicality of this pregnancy has kept me mostly out of my head. Dealing with contractions and nausea and aches and pains has meant strings of days with plodding, but little space for reflection. Some really hard stuff that I'm still not sure how to talk about, and processing it all while my husband is out of town has meant many hormone-filled tear-fests which mostly involve me feeling oh-so-sorry for myself. I count down the days until the kids go back to school. And it's like a punch to the gut every time I see another mom post on social media about how much they cant stand thinking about their kids going back to school, and how much they will miss spending all this quality time together.

The tape begins: If only I was more like that mom. My poor children. I'm not cut out for this whole motherhood thing obviously. What am I thinking adding a third child to the mix? 

Loneliness sits heavy over my shoulders, and anxiousness creeps into all my cracked places. I realize I'm still working in the job I started ten years ago, just until I figure out what I want to do with my life. And I feel lost somehow in the midst of living exactly the life I want, and wondering how to get out of it.

I keep trying to remember that I'm hormonal, and I'm tired, and I'm very-very pregnant and taking care of two small children solo. I keep trying to give myself grace, and stumbling into comparison instead. I hear on repeat the familiar echo that I am not enough. I want to be one who stand certain of who God created her to be, and who can rest in the ways that God has gifted and formed her. I want to teach my children to love boldly and live secure in their identities. But I'm not sure I'm doing that, currently, because I cant seem to swallow that truth for my own life.

I realize this post leans self-indulgent, perhaps, and maybe a little worrisome. But what, I wonder, does it look like to be honest about where we are? About how shaky the ground feels sometimes, how much we need to be held by a Savior who says I know to all our deepest fears.

When Caden has a night terror, I hold him close to my chest, even as he kicks against me and screams that he wants his mommy. His heart gallops and mine follows suit. We both cry, and I walk the dark hall, willing him to find his way out of whatever terror grips him.

My own fear wraps tight around me, and I push against the Savior who holds me close, even as I cry out for Him. I kick and flail and forget that I am already safe. The world I've imagined feels more real than what is true. I want to relax safe in the arms of a Father who loves and holds me close as our hearts beat in tandem. But the moment of relaxing is a mystery, for Caden and for me. There's no rhyme or reason. No trick that works every time to pull from fear to peace, no song or prayer or soothing or simply leaving alone.

And so I remain in the mystery. I try to work out how to relax into the arms of a Savior and trust His plans for me, and for the ones I love the most. But all the while, I know He holds me and He loves me, and for today and for tomorrow that will be enough. 


  1. You can't know how much this encouraged me today. I'm in very different circumstances but wrestling with the very same mystery. The image of flailing and calling out for the very Help that is holding me is so terrifyingly beautiful and accurate. I'll hold onto it for a long time. Thank you for writing this.

  2. You are one of the best Moms I know. You are going to be just fine. I am praying for you! And sending lots and lots of love. I know you miss being at camp too. You love it so much there. I'm sorry for your sadness this summer. So thankful Jesus wraps you in His embrace again and again.

  3. Oh man, your words, I'm sure, resonate with so many of us. I know they resonate with me. I'm reminded of words I recently read in Brennan Manning's Ragamuffin Gospel...that God expects more failure from me than I expect from myself. Those words give me relief. I hope they give you the same.

  4. Your post is so honest, pure and deep. Speaking as a mom of much older children (28 & 22) I do believe that they would agree some of their best memories are of times at home, just doing normal stuff. Playing outside, pets, front porch swings, all the things that you do! Your a great mom, and you are giving your children exactly what they need, LOVE! Hang in there....

  5. "And so I remain in the mystery" . . . exquisite Becca, simply exquisite. Praying peace over you tonight.


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