loving someone just like you

It has always been easy to love Tim. Sure I have my moments where I think I am going to just throw something at him for something he did, or didn't do or said or didn't say, but for the most part (99% of the time), it has always been easy for me to love him. We are different on so many levels; however, our differences bring us closer. They make us better. They make me excited for the next however many years we spend together.

I cannot say the same for the relationship I have with Mya. While I love her...I truly do...I believe I have struggled with our relationship on occasion because Mya is a lot like me. When I say a lot...I mean a lot. It makes me nervous for the next 16 years. I should not discredit the parts of her personality that come directly from Tim. She has a sense of humor that I do not. I am not a natural laugher and yet, Mya laughs all the time. She throws her head back and laughs just like her dad. She can be incredibly sweet like her dad. They both surprise me all the time by what they do. Mya is also very forgiving like her father. It took me nearly 20 years to figure out that life is about forgiveness. I used to hold grudges. I could be silent for hours, days, months towards people I was angry with. I used to say mean things without thinking. It is a quality that I worked very hard to change in my early 20s and with help from roommates, companions, family and Tim, I believe I have really become better at forgiving. Mya didn't need 20 years. Tim didn't either. I can't tell you how many times I have made Mya or Tim mad, but they don't stay mad. They just forgive and forget. And life is back to normal. These are qualities I am so happy she got from Tim.

However, she is still a lot like me. She is so stubborn. She will not budge on something she wants to do or have. I have had to physically remove her from stores, people or projects when she gets out of control. She is a freaker-outer. While she forgives easily, she is not easy to calm down. It takes us over a 1/2 an hour to get her to calm down when she is angry. She kicks and screams. She does the worm crawl backwards. It is a sight to see. I remember my mom sending me to my room when I was about seven because I wouldn't eat my vegetables. I threw all the sheets off my bed. All the stuffed animals out of their place and stacked them in front of my door so no one could push their way in. Let's just say...I was dramatic. I know Mya is going to do something like that one day. She has a temper and throws things when she is mad. She is also dramatic. Mya is a creature of habit. She likes patterns and schedules. I am like that too. I like to know what I am doing. I will admit to hating organizers and day planners. I am not that good at schedules. I just have an idea in my head of what things should be like. Mya is like that too. She is very "gumpy" as she says or grumpy when she gets off her schedule.

So we have sometimes had a rough go when speaking about our relationship. However, I believe things are beginning to change for us. I have spent a lot of time with her recently. More time than I gave her in the past for reasons I will keep to myself. And I have been praying to have more patience with myself as a parent. And small miracles are occurring. The other night she shoved her pig that she kept saying was "too big" for one of her toys down a tube and could not get it out. I had told her to not do it many times, but she didn't listen. She did it anyway and the moment she realized it was stuck she looked at me and said, "Get it out mommy. Get it out." I spent a 1/2 hour working the "too big" pig out of that toy. But I didn't get angry. I didn't even get close to losing my patience. I just had Mya play with something else while I worked. And I tried to teach her as I worked. The reward: a big, slobbery kiss on my cheek. I didn't even have to ask.

Last night, another small miracle happened. I had to have Anna drive me home from work because my head was spinning, and I couldn't focus on the road. Anna left. Tim had gone to the store. I told Tim that I would start dinner because I knew he had a project to work on when he got home. I started dinner while Mya played in the other room. Within minutes, Mya was kicking and screaming and I couldn't figure out what happened. She threw herself on the tile floor which only made her more mad and when I asked what happened or what I could do, she would just hit me in the face. I asked her to stop hitting me. I tried to pick her up. Bad idea. She just dug her nails in my face. So I put her down. I went back to the spaghetti because I didn't want it to burn but kept my eyes on my wild child. 5 minutes passed. 10 minutes passed. She didn't calm down. Knowing this was normal, I just tried to talk her through it. Finally, I felt so bad because she had snot all over her face and she was practically gagging herself from crying so much that I attempted to pick her up again. Mind you...I was very dizzy. I picked her up. I thought she was about to calm down when she twisted her hand in my hair and pulled so hard that I couldn't breathe. I couldn't breathe previously because my nose was plugged, but now she was making it hard for me to breathe through my mouth because she was pulling so hard. I tried to unwrap her hand from my hair, but it was so tangled. The more I tried..the more she pulled. Desperate, I put her down on the ground. I focused on getting her hand out of my hair. I finally got it out when she hit me in the eye so hard. I burst into tears. There is no other way to describe the dramatic scene. Here we were...quite the pair. I was just so tired. So sick. And now my head was throbbing--I just cried into a dish towel. Mya just continued to scream on the tile. You are probably wondering about that miracle. Well, here it is. I wasn't angry at her. I didn't lose my patience. I told her exactly how I felt. I told her she hurt me. I don't think she really understood what I was saying, but instead of reacting back at her, I just stayed still. I cried by myself. I decided we need time to ourselves. That was part one of the miracle. The second part which really isn't a miracle because Tim is just like this...but at the time it was...was when Tim came home and he didn't reach out for Mya first. He came to me. He saw me crying in the kitchen window over the spaghetti and hurried inside. He hugged me for a very long time. He didn't really ask anything or say anything, but he came to me first. I know that sounds silly that I care that he came to me first, but I do care. He was a husband before a father. The moment he let me go, he asked if I was alright and only after knowing I was okay, did he head over to Mya (who was still crying). It took him several minutes to calm her down. But he did. We finished cooking dinner together. Mya apologized eventually. I had already forgiven her.

It is sometimes hard to be a parent. Just as it is sometimes hard to be a spouse. But parenting...especially when you are a parent to someone so much like yourself...is a refining experience. Sometimes you laugh. Sometimes you scream. Sometimes you have to force yourself to take a walk outside. Sometimes you cry. But in the end, love grows. You grow. I have grown in two years.


  1. Thanks for being brave enough to share this experience. Everyone always acts like parenting is snap. It's not. I can see that. And I think it's fabulous that you are working on it day by day. I loved the newly coined phrase, "freaker-outter." Perfection.

  2. i love being reminded why you are a fantastic person and sister. love you.

  3. What an inspiring post. Thanks for sharing these thoughts. It's a wonderful thing to recognize positive changes occuring in ourselves and to see God's hand and influence in those changes. You are an amazing person Janine. As I read your description of the kitchen scene with Mya, I couldn't help but feel like you might have had a similar experience with me when we were first getting to know each other. Thanks for not losing your patience with me when I figuratively pulled your hair and slapped your face. You've been a wonderful example. Love you lots!


"Be kind and considerate with your criticism... It's just as hard to write a bad book as it is to write a good book." Malcolm Cowley