My sister, Beth and I have always had a blast together! Goofy, silly girls. We used to have fun sleepovers in each other's room and giggle late into the night. When she finished high school, Jimmy and I invited her to stay with us for part of the Summer. Prior to Beth's visit, I was busy rushing around making sure the house was perfect and stressing about silly things that I am sure she didn't care about all while dreaming of all the fun and laughs we would share. What I did not take into account was that I was the mother of a toddler. Those years were rough for me. Not my best. In fact, everyday I was convinced further that I was the worst mother in the whole world and I would never amount to anything. I was so sure that I would never have serious conversations with my sweet girl and my time would be occupied by frustration, cleaning and yelling. I did not like who I was. This was not the Stephanie everyone was used to. No carefree giggles or silly jokes. No last minute adventures to the movies on a Wednesday in my pjs.
So, when Beth came to visit, I was the stressed and uptight gal that she had never met. I am pretty sure she did not have that great of a time. Which is understandable- she was visiting a stranger.
I thought I was doomed to this lifestyle. Not so.
Once Kaitlin started school, I became the mother I had always dreamed I'd be (only on the best days, anyway). Things became fun again. I could talk to her and reason with that girl... finally! Many people say that you will miss the days when they were toddlers. I am sad to say that I have never been wistful about having a toddler again.
Well friends, I am in the midst of a character changing time. I have been less fun. I have been less positive. I find myself stressed, frustrated and out of sorts. Essentially, I have a toddler again. That toddler's name is Seminary. It robs me of sleep and sanity. It is at my bedside waking me up every morning with a day of let downs. I have some amazing students that are so willing to participate... if only their peers didn't make fun of them for doing so. Every single day I bring a lesson and (and tons of hope) that took all night to accomplish. It is squashed by the end of class. I know this trial is meant for me right now, but sometimes it is too hard to bear. I love every kid in that class. Maybe that's why things are so difficult. I want them to be successful and feel the spirit. I want them to reach their full potential. Gosh, it 's like wanting the toddler, Kaitlin, to have an in depth conversation with me.
I know I will be grateful that I finished out the year, but I wonder if I will never miss it- just like with Kate's toddler years. As sad and totally depressing as it sounds, it is the truth. I do not love Kaitlin any less because of the frustration I felt when she was younger. In fact, I think I appreciate her now much better because of my difficulty from years ago.
I just want my family who reads this post to understand why I may have been less myself than usual. Why I totally forgot to call them on the birthdays (and graduations)... why I am a total space cadet (more than normal). Every spare minute I have is spent on a lesson of some sort for the kids who could not care less that I am even there. And the reason I continue to plan lessons and go to seminary is because I love the Lord and I want to be obedient. I know the blessings come after the trial of your faith, but gosh, sometimes that stinks.