Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Every Day Is A Blessing...So Help Me God.

Some days, for one reason or another, just do not seem to get off to the right start.  Someone wakes up cranky from too little or poor sleep.  Miscommunications arise.  You aren’t feeling well.  People fail to connect.  Or sometimes you are just grumpy and are being a shit. 

Regardless of the reasons, these days can be difficult when you are spending them with a toddler, especially one who is also taking the opportunity to act like a grumpy shit for whatever reason.  (Note: please notice I did not say that my daughter is a grumpy shit…just that sometimes she acts like one.  Hey, news flash, it happens to everyone.)  These days are difficult when you have all your toys to distract with, a dog to play with, a park to visit, play dates where other parents can help you manage and support you, and a myriad of other supports.  These days are very difficult when many of those things are absent, or substituted with things that your toddler reminds you are still unfamiliar.

I knew when I looked at my phone this morning and the time read 7:56am that this was one of those mornings.  Don left with the Mayo team before 7am to catch mass, and though I had wanted to go with them to receive the spiritual strength from mass that I sensed I would need today, Lucy wasn’t finished with breakfast when they had to leave.  Also, I sensed that after yesterday’s very vocal and mostly whiney attendance by Lu we weren’t 100% welcome this morning.  Not a “yeah, please don’t come vibe” just a “hey, it’s ok why don’t you guys just have a leisurely breakfast here, don’t rush to come with us” vibe.

We then had the place mostly to ourselves, as the other guys were not up yet.  However, Lucy did not appear excited about any of the suggestions for play that I made, preferring instead to dramatically stalk about the kitchen yelling for “papa” and being shocked that once again she was not allowed to play with the water cooler and that she had to put shoes on to go outside.  Which resulted in a tantrum.  Which resulted in a time out.  In the next 45 minutes we tried playing play dough and animals which was boring after about 4 minutes.  I spilled half a huge cup of coffee in the lounge, and after cleaning that up with towels and Lysol Lucy obliged me by spilling the rest of it which I had stupidly left in the room instead of taking downstairs immediately.  Amateur move.  Then two more meltdowns over cereal bars.

My attempts to distract and engage her in something else only proved to further enrage her – the child has a tenaciously focused mind at the most inconvenient times!  How ironic when she can only be bothered to play with a toy for five minutes, but will recall that she was denied a treat for far longer when in the grips of toddler hysteria.

All this, coming on the heels of a night with little sleep (my own fault for staying up late watching movies with Naomi and then waiting for Don to come home at midnight) and an evening involving more Lucy hysterical tantrums, and by the time 8am rolled around I was feeling pretty empty.  Like, considering for the briefest of seconds whether it would be criminal to Benadryl my child so she would nap early empty.  Seriously though, I would never do that.  But it crossed my mind. 

Honestly, the worst part of the morning was not the comedy of errors that seemed to ensue, but the guilt for my lack of gratitude that ensued when I looked out the window and remembered where I was.  How was it that here I was in Haiti, in a gorgeous, safe, air conditioned house, full from a delicious and nutritious breakfast, with a healthy, wonderful (albeit hysterical at the time) baby in my arms and here I was thinking “God, please help me right now because the way this day is going one of us might not make to sunset alive”? 

It is at these times, when I am overcome not only with the insignificant disasters of a privileged daily life, but with my own guilt for complaining of such third world problems in the looming shadow of true daily struggle, that I remember that everyone has these days. 


An old story about St. Theresa of Avila tells of how, while riding in a carriage one rainy day, she was thrown from the carriage into a puddle of mud when the wheel hit a pothole.  Staring up at the sky she remarked “Lord, if this is the way you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few.”

I thought of this as I was trying to logically explain to Lucy that she could have a snack later, but that we were going to play now.  It is difficult to logically explain something to someone who is wildly struggling to escape your arms and refusing to make eye contact.  Taking Lucy into our room, I was further struck with the thought that this must be what God feels like when he is trying to communicate with us sometimes.  Like he is trying to reason with a hysterical toddler who is intent on getting a cereal bar, and to hell with everything else.

I finally calmed Lucy down enough to get her to lie down and take a very early nap, without the use of a cereal bar or any medications, and went downstairs to make another cup of coffee and think about my own resemblance to a hysterical toddler.  Focused on my own goals and schedules for the day.  Upset and emotional when they are disrupted.  Unsure and sometimes insecure in a foreign environment.  And much of the time resistant to loved ones attempts to help and guide.

Hopefully when Lucy gets up from her nap today, I can begin again in a different direction.  I can be grateful for our silly problems with toys in a country where people don’t have clean water to drink or beds to sleep in.  I can give up a snack early while giving thanks that I have a bounty of snacks to give.  And I can listen more clearly for the direction and guidance that God is trying to give, knowing that sometimes, you just have to give things up to God.

Si Dye vle.


  1. I think I had this day this week too. It involved sick babies. Thanks for putting it all in context love.

  2. Bless you and yours....the caretakers of children are all entitled to a few moments where they have thoughts of Benadryl!