Grace and Pancakes

Many years ago, while recounting my failed attempts to overcome a difficult task and resulting personal frustrations, a wise person told me, “Sometimes, you just have to give up and make waffles.” At the time my driven, goal-oriented nature failed to see the wisdom in these words, and I irrationally felt more worth as a person ramming my head repeatedly into the same obstacle than in surrender.

Our baby, who can cry and scream with impressive persistence, sometimes calms down while being held and danced to The Piano Guys song that mashes “Fight Song” with “Amazing Grace”. I have listened to this song countless times recently without thinking anything about the combination of these particular songs until the second consecutive night I spent as the only adult caring for a young child and a colicky baby. My husband had to be away for work for several days, and I felt pulled, as I am sure all new parents of two feel, between the needs of each child while my own needs whimpered forlornly from some cast-off place in my soul. Guilt overwhelmed me. I hated myself for having to insist that my son wait over and over, not because he had to practice patience, but because I failed my job at soothing his sister. Her screams became my internal voice’s anvils landing crushing blows to both my spirit and confidence in my abilities as a parent. A small, rational part of me whispered reassurance that we would get through this phase just as we had with our son, but fatigue easily drowned it out.

I glanced at the clock and noticed it, too, ticking off my failures while I stared void of ideas at the pantry with the smallest one still screaming in my ear. Dinner should have been ready an hour earlier, and my hope of bedtime on time whimpered and sighed as it walked dejectedly to join my dream of any moment of personal time in the hopeless part of my soul. I tried to yell at my dreams to come back, but they did not hear me, and my eyes started leaking tears of their own. I put my daughter in a soft sided carrier, turned on The Piano Guys music, and cranked the volume on the stereo. As the music mixed with my tears, I let go of my attempts to change my daughter’s emotional state and instead promised to hold her close as long as she needed to be held that night. There, I found a place of surrender and graceful acceptance that also felt strong. We swayed and danced in the kitchen while my son and I mixed batter for chocolate chip pancakes. My daughter eventually fell asleep on my chest, and my son and I both smiled eating the chocolate.

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