I don't know if it was concern over her own fate or my general health (perhaps both), but it didn't matter. I couldn't be angry. I couldn't be upset. Why? Because dealing with disaster is part of the job, and I'm NOT really interested in shopping my resume around.

I feel like I was going through the different stages of grief. I was in denial. I kept telling myself it was just a bad night. And then another. I was angry. Why couldn't she just go to bed?! I was depressed. All I wanted was a good night's sleep, and it seemed further and further away every day. I bargained. I prayed, promising to be the most doting mother in the world if I could just get one night of respite. Yeah... none of it worked. I finally accepted that my little girl was going through a stage that was more than a little annoying, and that there was little I could do about it.

Now, as a parent, I know it's my job to direct her behavior in a more direct fashion. Honestly, she is getting better through a combination of several tactics. I've actually had two sound nights of sleep in a row. I love that sleep, but I love my daughter more. As much as all of this sucks sometimes, the image of her standing at the end of the hallway, her brow furrowed in worry... that image is worth a million sleepless nights. She didn't create a black hole with the baby gate; she created a hole in the wall. The hole that would be left in my heart by her absence would be next to impossible to patch. Her little hand prints on my heart have changed me indelibly; she makes me want to be a better person. It's worth the sweat.

As I stare at the hole that awaits the attention of my hands this weekend, I silently (I don't want to wake her up, obviously) pray, “Spackle the stress fractures of my patience with your love. Cleanse the stains of frustration from my voice. Wipe the crayon-textured exhaustion from under my eyelids, and dissolve the caked-on blinders of distraction from my judgment. Help me clean up the mess that is me so that it doesn't affect her life.”

Now, how do we patch a hole in a wall?

I need permission
to be less than perfect,
always aiming for the impossible.

Driven to succeed,
I'm missing all the special moments
that make life worthwhile.

When will I learn
the kitchen never stays clean?
When will I appreciate an
interruption from a family member?

I long for You to enlighten me,
to show me what's important
and what truly deserves measure.




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