Picking up the Pieces – The Trista Park Podcast
The girls love to play with kinetic sand. Of course they go through seasons where it comes out daily and others the bin is tucked away in the garage. Berni found it the other day while exploring the lost toys hidden in the garage for safekeeping. Her eyes lit up with joy as I pulled the bin from its resting place and placed it on the kitchen table. I set a pile of sand on her hot pink tray along with a shovel and a couple of plastic toys for her to create her very own sandcastle. She sat at the kitchen table for a short while digging and creating in the sand.
Soon enough, in true Berni fashion, she pushed the tray and its contents far from her reach sending other objects laying on top of the table tumbling to the floor. The meltdown followed and I moved quickly to retrieve my laptop before any permanent damage would occur.
I redirected her attention to something new in the living room to keep her busy while I tended to the new mess in the kitchen. Sand was everywhere. School papers from the middle were littered all over the floor. An entire box of crayons had also been dumped in the moment. I had so many other things to do but they would have to wait a minute so I could first pick up this mess in order to concentrate on anything else.
It didn’t take me all that long to pick the items off the floor or sweep the tiny bits of sand thrown everywhere. In fact, it was less than a five minute ordeal but it was my attitude that made it feel as if it took hours of my life away. I was frustrated in the moment because of the inconvenience of it all. No, I didn’t feel as if I had extra time in my schedule that day. And no, I didn’t really want to sweep the floor again or pick up all the things that had been knocked over. I am running on limited reserves these days so asking even more of me felt like another tipping point. Yet, there I was. Picking up the pieces.
The meltdowns the past couple of weeks have felt extra. Berni’s school closed a couple of weeks ago and while we are working tirelessly on a new placement for her she’s at home for the time being as things get sorted out. It’s not easy on her, which in turn makes it hard on me, if I’m being honest. The routine I had established for myself was once again being turned upside down and reworked. Not ideal in my mind and the added difficulty of her not understanding what exactly was happening is rough. It’s a big change for her along with so many other transitions this past year and many to come in the months ahead.
For Berni, it comes out through her short fuse for activities. When she is finished, she is clearly finished. There is no warning. Simply an abrupt and stern way of showing she’s done. I come in and try my best to help her through the frustration and redirect her to another fun preferred activity. But, her entire routine has been completely thrown for a loop the past couple of weeks. So while there is a part of me that feels the difficulty of her frustration, there is an equal part that breaks my heart as I bring her close for her hug after such an incidence knowing there is so much going on beneath the surface.
Sure, my attitude needed an adjustment, but in that exact moment of picking up those same things as I have picked up many times before, I thought to myself I will always be here to pick up the pieces for you Berni. Just as the Lord is picking up the pieces of my own life and struggles, one piece at a time and holding it close to His heart.
I don’t take my role as her mother lightly. It truly is a gift to be her mom. It is also a role I am learning requires more from me than I have. I truly have to press into the Lord in every moment, but even more so in my moments of complete weakness. The moments I have nothing left to give, but will hold my baby girl close and whisper I love her deeply. The moments I am picking up from her meltdowns in her time of frustration as she wonders why she didn’t get to to school to see her friends.
It doesn’t feel easy right now. It feels like another season of survival. But, I have been here before. Although completely different circumstances, I am very familiar with the feeling of barely making it through the day until I kiss those three little foreheads goodnight and can sink into my own bed. Yesterday, my mind wandered to the various times I have been in survival mode. The Lord gently reminded me even though the season is mentally and emotionally draining, we are all healthy which does truly feel like a reason to give thanks. And likewise, this too is simply a passing season. The transitions will come and go, we will work together to make the necessary adjustments, and in the meantime will welcome the extra hugs and moments of quiet together.
I don’t know what the coming weeks and months will look like. What I do know is that I have seen God faithfully walk me through seasons of great difficulty and no road is too much for Him.