I don’t like roller coasters. The ups aren’t so bad, but the downs make me feel like the world is falling out from under me. When we were first married, Brett and I got on a roller coaster. I got the surprise of my life when the thing went upside down. I was irritated because he didn’t warn me that it was going to go upside down. My irritation quickly subsided when I realized he had no idea either. I made a choice that day to never get on a roller coaster ever again.
But the truth is that I often feel as if I’m on a roller coaster even though I’m not physically on one. Something as simple as leaving the house and going to a doctor’s appointment can turn into a roller coaster ride. Things can start out fine and then all of a sudden I find myself upside down and trapped on a ride that I can’t to get off of.
It was the dreaded day of eye doctor appointments for our two turtles. Will they be well-behaved? Will I have to make a hasty exit because one or both of them have a meltdown? Will they talk nonstop at full volume? Will everyone in the waiting room be staring at us?
The girls hardly talked during the 30 minute ride and they stood quietly while I was registering. Filling out two sets of forms is always a good time. I was able to fill out the papers in record time even though Mikayla kept sneezing and I kept pulling kleenex out of my purse. The girls did great with the doctor even though they had never met him. They read every letter and he said they both had great eye sight. Wow! This is really going smoothly. I wonder if we’ll make it out to the parking lot without an incident.
We paid and they each got a piece of candy. Just one more thing before we go. I needed to have my glasses adjusted. The girls sat quietly the entire time that the lady was adjusting my glasses. Neither one of them said a word. This is the most amazing day of my life! We’re going to get out of here without making a scene. Unbelievable!
Our van floated the whole way home because I was on cloud nine. I felt like a normal mom with a normal family. It was a dream come true. I was afraid we were going to spend the morning riding a roller coaster but instead we got to ride a cute little merry-go-round.
An hour after we got home, I found myself suddenly riding a roller coaster. Time to strap on my seat belt because I’ll be upside down before the day is over. The girls both started talking and they talked nonstop at full volume all afternoon. They started arguing and they argued all afternoon. They were grouchy and demanding and they yelled the words Mommy and Daddy a thousand times. The roller coaster just kept going upside down over and over and over again and I ended up with a really bad headache.
Brett got to get off the roller coaster and go to work, but I had to keep riding it. My head continued to pound throughout the evening. I decided that I was going to have to get off the roller coaster even though it wasn’t quite time for the amusement park to close. My handsome husband had taken our taxes to town earlier in the day. While he was in town he bought a gallon of chocolate ice cream. Oh, how I love that man. I got off the roller coaster, made myself a bowl of ice cream, and put myself in time out in our bedroom. It’s always a good idea to eat some chocolate after riding a roller coaster for 7 hours. It’s good for the nerves.
At 8:30 p.m it was time to shut the roller coaster down and close the amusement park. All riders must brush their teeth and get in their beds. As I tucked them in and kissed them goodnight, they both said “I love you Mommy!” They were so stinking cute that I couldn’t help but smile. I told them “I love you too!” and I kissed their sweet little heads.
I hoped that the next day would be filled with merry-go-round rides and I would get to take a break from the roller coaster. Unfortunately, I rode the roller coaster for 5 consecutive days and I had a headache for 5 consecutive days. By bedtime of the 5th night, I was a mess. I felt exhausted, shaky, irritable, and impatient. I said some things that I shouldn’t have said. I was so frustrated that I cried in front of them.
I went to my room, closed the door, and cried my eyes out. I felt like the worst mom who has ever walked the planet. I said a quick little short prayer that went something like “God, I don’t know where You are, but it would be really nice if You would show up soon.” All of a sudden I heard a little knock on my door. I said “Who is it?” and a little voice said “Mikayla”. I opened the door and she looked up at me and said “I forgive you. I love you!” and then she hugged me. The tears suddenly left and I was laughing. I told her I was sorry even though she had already forgiven me. We hugged again and went to bed.
I woke up the next morning and I still felt like the worst mom in the world. It’s hard to understand why our victory at the eye doctor’s office would be followed by 5 days of defeat. It seems like every time we think we’re making progress with the behavioral issues we end up having a major setback. After this 5 day ordeal, I uttered the words “I can’t do this any more.” I honestly didn’t think I could possibly face one more day.
As I was driving Brynna to dance class this week God showed up. I was listening to a song called Good Shepherd.
You will lift my head above the mighty waves
You are able to keep me from stumbling
And in my weakness
you are the strength that comes from within
Good shepherd of my soul
Take my hand and lead me on
My eyes were on the waves and the waves kept knocking me down. My eyes were on the behavioral problems, the arguing, and my failures as a mom. As I listened to this song I realized that God wants to lift my head above the waves. He wants me to look at Him instead of at the problems. In my weakness He is the strength that comes from within. I can continue to ride the roller coaster and I can be strong if I invite Him to ride along with me. I stumbled and I really messed up with my girls that night. But God took my hand and He helped me back up. The reward at the end of every roller coaster ride is two little girls that say the words “I love you, Mommy.” All the upside-down crazy rides that I’ve been on are worth it when I hear those words at the end of every day.
Oh….and the amusement park will be closed on Valentine’s Day. My handsome man is taking me away for the day. Say a prayer for grandma. I hope she gets to ride the merry-go-round instead of the roller coaster.