I used to think I was really adaptable. And then I had kids.
I was the typical 20 something who could live life spontaneously and enjoy every minute of it. I loved to travel, and I thrived on the adventure of never knowing what was going to happen next. I prided myself on my “Hakunah Matata” attitude, and was truly baffled by those who weren’t as “flexible” as I was. I wore the title of “low maintenance” like a badge of honor. The truth is, most of the unexpected situations I encountered in that season were not all that challenging. In fact, they were mostly fun.
It’s not that I wasn’t flexible back in my pre-kid years, it’s just that I was only being asked to be adaptable for maybe, oh say 2-3 hours per day on average. When you have a baby, you’re now required to exhibit that same adaptability 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Not quite so easy. Once my precious, wonderful, spunky daughters entered my life, I realized that it’s harder to be adaptable when your expectations are constantly being thrown to the wind (or flushed down the toilet). For instance, I’m in a season now where I get up before my kids so I can have some truly peaceful alone time with God before the day
starts attacks me. So, the other day, this is how my morning began:
This is my favorite part of the morning. The sky is such a beautiful color, the light of the sun is just starting to peek out, and my coffee is brewing. My home is silent and I have a whole hour of solitude ahead of me. Magnificent. But this particular morning, just a few minutes after I snapped this photo, I hear “waaaaaaAAAAA” on the baby monitor. *NOnononono, PLEASE go back to sleep please, pleasepleasepleaseplease…* Every mother on earth has breathed this prayer at least one gazillion times. On this morning, my prayer was not answered. At least not the way I wanted.
This is how my morning ended up:
Not the way I planned, but precious in it’s own way. That’s what God is teaching me through this constant laying down of expectations. The way I plan is not always the best way. Sometimes when I’m able to let go of what I wanted to embrace what I have, there is more joy and hope and life than I ever could have wished for.
When my expectations are not fulfilled (which is mighty often these days), I’ve learned I have a choice. I can give into my inner toddler and fuss and whine and throw a fit-choosing the fit always makes things worse, but that hasn’t stopped me from still doing that from time to time. Or I can acknowledge my disappointment, then roll with the punches. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to drop back and punt, or move on to plan B (and then C, D, E…), but it’s in those moments that I’ve learned endurance, ingenuity, and perseverance. It’s also in those moments that I’ve learned my complete dependence on God, and with that comes overwhelming peace.
I’m still learning to “roll with the punches” while also trying to teach my daughters. I may only be a few steps ahead of them on the journey, but that’s ok. That’s how all parenting is. We barely know what we’re doing, but we have to teach our kids how to navigate this life we’re still learning. I think it’s good that it’s like that. I don’t want my daughters thinking I have it all figured out, because I want them to know it’s ok if they’re still figuring things out, too. I want them to persevere when they come up against a road block. I want them to think on their feet and know how to make a killer lemonade with the lemons. (If all else fails, just spike it.) That’s why when my oldest starts to launch into full-on dramatic despair when something doesn’t follow her plan, I remind her cheerfully, “We gotta roll with the punches, honey!” I’m fairly certain she absolutely loathes this now, but someday I think she’ll get it.
Last year my husband and I listened to a lot of Colony House. “When I Was Younger” is a great album. So the other day, when Audrey was struggling to keep a good attitude in the face of unmet expectations, I slyly and purposefully played this song in the car: (It’s worth the 3 minutes to listen, I promise)
As Audrey was jammin’ out and backseat dancing like she does, the lightbulb suddenly came on- “Mom! Roll with the punches! He’s singing about what you’re always talkin’ about!” Yes, grasshopper. And I will allow you to think this was a beautiful coincidence. Jam on, sweet sister, and roll with the punches.