Abandon ship! We’re going down!
Child screams could be heard from all around. People stopped in their tracks to stare at me. Their eyes could speak words that they dare not utter.
“Get your kid under control.”
“Should I call C.P.S.?”
“What is going on here?”
“All that parent needs to do is spank their kid. That would solve everything.”
As I hurried to gather up my two-year old, I knew that her screams were disrupting the tour of the Titanic Museum located in Branson, MO. Once in my arms, Harmony continued to scream at the top of her lungs knowing that she was in trouble for running away from me for the “hundredth time” and for screaming in-doors.
I hurried down the beautiful replicated stairwell of the Titanic and into the gift shop. There, Harmony proceeded to scream – louder and louder. I was beside myself. All I knew was that I needed to remove my daughter from the situation so that others could enjoy their tour of the museum in peace. What I failed to realize was that my wife was still on the tour and she had the keys to our suburban as well as our jackets. And with it being 19 degrees outside, taking Harmony to the parking lot was not an option either.
With an out-of -control toddler and nowhere to go, we sat in the corner of the gift shop.
“Please don’t let anyone think I’m abusing my child.” I prayed in my head. I held my daughter down in my lap as I crossed my legs over her legs and held her arms down for a nice long “time in.”
“Time in” for us is a lot like time out. Only instead of placing her alone somewhere safe and secure, we hold our kids in our laps as we use our words and voice tone to help calm them down and talk about their feelings and the situation. When we can’t effectively use a time out, we use the time in method.
So we sat on that cold, hard floor in the corner of the Titanic gift shop for what felt like an eternity. Harmony was D-O-N-E. One week in Dallas for Christmas just to drive 3 hours back home for one night to then get back in the car for a 4 hour drive for a Branson trip is not easy on anyone, let alone a toddler. Plus, it didn’t help that this little girl refused her afternoon naps for a whole week and a half. The poor girl was worn smooth out and her little brain didn’t know how to process the information or emotions.
After 15 minutes of calming her down she finally passed out in my arms.
Sweating, red in the face, and purple eyelids, it was clear that Harmony was pure exhausted. On top of that I kept smelling something like spit-up, the whole time she was on the floor with me…. Come to find out she had pooped in her diaper, and with her kicking and flailing it made the poop run up her back and legs.
As I sat there holding her “lifeless” body I felt like the worst dad ever.
How did I let it get to this point anyway?
I didn’t dare wake her up to change her – she needed to sleep.
Lesson learned for a still “new parent”: we will NEVER again do two trips back to back with our little ones.
We sat on that floor for 30 minutes and let me tell you – that floor and those wooden shelves are not kind to one’s back and buttocks.
The whole time Harmony was “losing it”, I kept trying to explain to her that it’s all O.K. I explained to her that we can’t scream indoors, and we can’t keep running away from mommy and daddy, and on and on and on.
Then it hit me – God does the same for us.
When we’re “losing it” He’s right there, holding us in His loving arms. He gently whispers in our ears that He is right there with us and that it will be all right.
Sure we may kick and scream a little bit in life as we think that we have the solutions, but in the end all we need to do is rest in the arms of our Father.
Jesus even encourages us, “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Rest. Sometimes it’s the most spiritual thing we can do for ourselves. Rest re-energizes us. It gives us new strength. It helps to clear the cobwebs out of our heads and helps us to focus.
Harmony woke up a little dazed and confused. If she could, she would have rolled over with a blanket and slept for hours. But the tour was over and my wife had returned to find us pitifully on the floor. It was time to go.
As the evening went on Harmony was still tired but she was in a better mood; all because she took the time to rest.
Now that we’re back from our trip I’m exhausted too. So much so that it’s starting to effect my mood. I think I need to take my own advice and get some rest.
Believe in the promises of God. They are steady. Emotions are not. Rest in His arms and believe that He loves you with a love that is beyond your understanding and a love that is without and end.