The vacation seemed to have the same impact on Maryn, who has a nervous habit of picking her lip. Not once did I catch her doing it on the trip. Instead, she was silly and happy and fun. She spoke to the people around us and was actually talked animatedly and without fear about seeing the Disney characters (although we learned that she only liked them from a distance). She was content to be dropped off for the children's programs and was playing happily everytime we picked her up.
It kind of marked a turning point in some ways. I had a chance to reconnect with John while also having wonderful family time. The kids and I could enjoy one another's company without many of battle of wills that seem to be so prevalent at home. While there were meltdowns, it didn't feel that we were constantly on the verge of disaster.
And then we came home. I was hoping the vacation spirit would linger, but instead, the kids seem to be "detoxing". There have been hearts broken, tears shed, battles, and new rules, and family talks. It has been two days. I'm trying to hang onto paradise while living the reality of parenthood that is not the "Hallmark card" that I envisioned it to be (to borrow an image from a friend). It is a gift, and it is beautiful, and messy, and painful, and funny, and stretching. I am learning and growing, regressing, and finding grace, again and again.
Recently, Brady made me a "book" that I keep on my nightstand as a reminder of who I am and the choices I have to make:
"Mommy is so mean. Mommy is so sweet"
It's a big reminder of how my attitudes affect the ones I love the most, and how my behavior shapes their perspective. While there is a need for "mean mommy" sometimes, I never want that to overshadow the love and grace I have for my sweet babies. May they always know that love for them and for God guides my actions, and may I let that Love to guide me in better directions.