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  • brittain sobey

grace abounds


this past week we went up to petoskey to celebrate the fourth of july. petoskey is my favorite place. both my grandparents and my dad have a cottage on walloon lake up there. i love the water. or, i love looking at it and hearing it. swimming... meh. rolling hills of farmland lead to the road to the lake and on the last dip down there is a view of a bit of water. heading into town my favorite view is the top of the last hill before little traverse bay. there's a break wall out there where i loved to go as a teen. david proposed on that wall at sunset almost nine years ago. i always love being "up north" (what we michiganders call northern michigan).


before we left to drive up, i felt like i had found my groove. i had a couple of "normal" weeks of normal activities in my general routine. i was feeling productive. nap time is my work time when i prep for dinner, do some cleaning and laundry, and have a little time to myself if there is time leftover. heading into our time up north, i was feeling confident about my new stay at home mom role and thinking maybe i could even handle a second baby in the future.

david and i drove up separately because he had to come back on monday to work tuesday and the rest of the week. my original plan was to stay up at my dad's cottage through friday and drive back at nap time. i drove up during nap time last thursday. of course bina took a short nap and then screamed off and on for the last two hours of the drive. joy. but she was happy when we got out of the car and got to see grandpa and grandma.

david, bina, the dogs and i all shared a room at the cottage. historically this doesn't go well with bina. we all sleep better when we have our own space. i set her pack n play up in the closet so the doors could be mostly shut to give her the black out effect she has at home. and hoped for the best. i can't remember if it was the first or second night, but one of those she woke in the night and was up for three hours. not crying (unless i tried to put her back in the pack n play), just awake. i started getting really frustrated by hour two and told david he needed to be on duty. by hour three awake, we decided to try tylenol (the kid is getting two upper canines and two lower molars) and i nursed her once more. that did the trick. thankfully she slept in until like 9. whenever we're sharing sleeping quarters with others in rooms close by, i don't like to let bina cry because i don't want to wake up everyone else who doesn't have a baby. so normally i would let her fuss a bit to get back to sleep in the night after nursing her and that works fine. but instead of doing this i would bring her back in bed with me. it worked sometimes, but more often than not bina just stayed awake.

we had a nice visit by the day. the weather was beautiful. bina took decent naps and we got to do fun things like take boat rides on the pontoon around the lake, go on walks, check out an art fair, eat out, and get some much needed ice cream.



but nighttime was a challenge. on wednesday night, bina woke at 12:30 and didn't go back to sleep. after an hour i decided to take her out to the living area and just watch hgtv. eventually she started rubbing her eyes so i walked back to the bedroom again and tried to get her down. nope. tried to let her cry a bit. nope. brought her back in bed. nope. by 3am i was about to lose my mind. i was tired. i was frustrated. we had been away from home for a week and i felt like if we just got her back to our house and her bed, it would all go back to normal and the night waking would cease. by this point in the trip i had already decided to leave a day early, thursday instead of friday. i was going to drive home at nap time. but without any sleep i was just desperate to get home so i started packing up our stuff planning to just drive. on two hours of sleep. in the dark. great plan, huh? my sweet dad heard me and bina and came out and offered to take her so i could sleep. i cried and confessed that i am a terrible mom because by then i didn't want my kid and just wanted her to sleep so i could sleep. i could hear her fussing still and by then i was so out of sorts i didn't think i could go back to sleep. so i came up to the main floor where he was with bina and we just sat in the living room until about 4:45. i fed bina breakfast at 5am and then my dad helped me get our stuff loaded up and we drove out at 5:45. bina immediately fell asleep and was asleep until i turned off on our exit almost four hours later.

i was exhausted yesterday and totally defeated. i thought i had a groove and i felt like i had totally lost it. i grieved the loss of my peaceful and relaxing up north that i had enjoyed before having a baby. it made me sad. i felt like a terrible mom because i end up getting so frustrated and angry with bina when she is awake at night like that for seemingly no reason. i'm hoping it's the teething and that everything will settle down and she will go back to the way things were. i comforted myself thinking she has never done this two nights in a row. and then. she did.

last night she woke again around 12:30. i decided to nurse her one side as i usually do when she wakes between 12-4. then i put her back in her crib and went back to bed. and she screamed. off and on (more on than off) FOR TWO HOURS. i feel like some babies just don't respond well to the cry it out method. and i was all for cry it out. but my tiny tyrant turns into a screaming mad demon that will win any battle of the wills. and it broke me. i felt hatred for her. i just wanted her to sleep. doesn't she know that's what's good for her? and for all of us?? i couldn't go back in because we waited it out for two hours, so how much longer can she hang on? oh this babe. don't test her. david went in and gave her baby ibuprofen. more screaming. i lost my mind and decided to walk to the master bedroom with my phone (we moved to the guest while david is prepping to paint the master, the guest is right across the hall from screaming demon baby). i was so angry i wanted to scream myself. instead of screaming, i had the genius idea to throw my iphone 6s that david got me for christmas/birthday. i think i must have thought it would bounce off the carpet or the bed. but no. it must have hit the bed frame or night stand just right. completely shattered the screen. so much for that screen protector. can't see anything on the screen but a little thread of light when i hit the home button. and when i realized what i had done, i really broke. big ugly sobs of self hatred for getting so mad and worked up. ashamed of myself. devastated that i had broken the gift david gave me. feeling totally defeated by my tiny tyrant. who, partway through my emotional breakdown, had amazingly finally stopped screaming. i think she was like. whoa. mom can have an even BIGGER meltdown that ME. i will let mom take this battle. but then woke again an hour later. because. welcome to hell. where nothing goes as planned and babies don't sleep. or maybe just welcome to motherhood. ha.

i realized after the phone incident that i really have to get a hold of this. i can't continue like this. i can't let bina not sleeping get to me like that. she's a baby. she's teething. we were out of our routine. i'm not working. so i can lay around all day at home with her after a sleepless night. it's not like i have to wake up at 5am to get to work and be with it to talk to adults for an eight hour day. so worst case scenario, i'm a completely exhausted blob at home.

i used to get so frustrated by the story of david in the bible. i hated that he was called a man after god's own heart. he was a complete womanizer. he went so far as to have sex with a married woman he saw bathing on her rooftop. he got her pregnant and he sent her husband out to war to the front lines so he would be killed. how broken is that? how can that be a man after god's own heart?! but aren't most of the characters in the bible totally broken people? since becoming a mom especially, i feel like it's god's grace that shines through those broken people. he uses broken people for his purposes. what makes them men or women after his heart is their desire for him, and willingness to recognize and admit when they've done wrong. and repent.

i apologized to bina yesterday and today for getting so angry. not that she can understand, but i want to be in the practice of always recognizing and admitting wrongs. i want bina to know that her mama is one broken human being saved by grace. one broken mama who is willing to examine her own heart, see the brokenness, and repent for it. i am not perfect and i never will be. but the more i see and repent, the more i can resist committing the same offenses in the future. god has so much grace for so many broken people. he has grace for me, and i must have it for myself, for my husband, for my daughter, for everyone.

the weight of raising up bina and training her in the lord is so heavy. i feel so inadequate. i'm incredibly thankful for my patient and loving husband. after the phone incident he calmed me down and put things in perspective. "i'd rather you throw the phone than bina" he said. true. better that i break a device than my child. but even better that i not break anything at all! so now i know not to have anything of value in my hands when i reach that level of anger. because i'm not going to let that happen again. some lessons are learned the hard way. yet grace abounds.

today is a new day. bina slept in until 8. she has been a happy, sweet little booger. very snuggly. she likes to push around our dining chairs and her walker. when she gets stuck, she gets super mad. i calmly walk over and help her re-position so she can continue her pushing. and when she can talk, we'll sit down and talk through what she's feeling. maybe she will need some alone time to sort it out. maybe she'll need to punch a pillow. that's okay. i want her to learn healthy ways to deal with and process her emotions. and i will learn with her. grace abounds.


this is motherhood, at least for me. it's raw. it's hard. it's frustrating. it's infuriating. it's trying. it's sanctifying. it's genuine. it's love.it's exciting. it's beautiful. it's joyful. it's worth it. grace abounds.

#motherhood #family

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