Disclaimer – this was written under sleep deprivation and while consoling a toddler- I pray that when I read this tomorrow, it hopefully conveys the point my tired brain meant to portray.

It seems my youngest is bound to follow in the footsteps of my older two. Or maybe bite marks would be the more appropriate term in this in this instance.

It has been over a week since anyone in our household has gotten a decent nights sleep. At first, I thought it was a noise that woke my youngest. Possibly from one of the other children throughout the night… (it’s not unheard of!) the second night, I thought maybe he was trying to come down with something. He didn’t feel warm, or have cough, runny nose or any other symptoms… Except excessive drooling. After night four, we finally made it to the chiropractor. As she adjusted him, there were several key points. But tonight, tonight I must face the truth. It’s night five in a row of waking to a screaming baby who won’t be comforted by anything but mommy. He refuses to be calmed by any amount of singing, rocking, bouncing, swaying, or standing on my head… (you think I didn’t try it?!?!) the telltale spike of tiny protruding bits in his mouth tell me- he’s teething, again.

I’m pretty sure I’ve blocked out this experience with the other two, but somehow I don’t remember it being that bad. What I do most- assuredly remember is writing the appearance of their celebrated arrival in the calendar while dreading the day-to-date struggle that is a baby in pain.

As I’m sure I’ve said before in some random blog post somewhere, I find my children to be overachievers. This, my husband assures me, is a trait they inherited from their mother. (great! Now I have no one to blame but myself…) my daughter cut her first four teeth in three weeks. My first son, spread them out a little more… He did his first eight in six weeks. Zayds have come so far in twos… Kind of. Two in one week, two the next… I have rather enjoyed this LONGGGG stretch of having a eight toothed child. He has just enough to take bites, yet not to many to get annoying to brush daily. 😉 I believe (in my slumber-less coma state) that the last teeth he cut were done in November.

Back to my overachieving child (ren). In my search for the culprit for the lack of sleep plaguing my normally champ of a sleeper, I did what any other mother has I’m sure, at one point or another done. I ran my finger over his gums in the fastest way possible so as to diagnose the issue while still hoping to preserve said finger from the inevitable reaction of the toddler clamping down as hard as physically possible therefore severing the finger from it’s home at the end of my hand.

I survived.

Barely.

But to my horror, I found not one, or two, or even three telltale tips of icebergs. Nope, four- most definitely four, possibly five swollen mounds of flesh ready to erupt.
Which has now led me to my current state- trying to console this poor, aching child by becoming his human jungle gym which is for the moment located on the living room couch.

It doesn’t seem fair- a child unable to communicate his current state of torment. It breaks my heart to hear him scream. Knowing my limits, of understanding or even curing what ails him once I understand, are many. My choices are few. So, the most logical and obvious choice remains- I will walk through this with him.
I can’t take the pain away, but I can ease the suffering. I can’t cut his teeth for him, but I can hold him while he does. I can’t bear this weight, but I can give him the tools he needs to complete this task.
It’s a simple thing, not anywhere near the obstacles he will face later on in life, yet it is necessary, as heart wrenching as it might be. He must have these teeth. They will be a constant necessity in his days to come. Yet, currently, they are a trail. They are an obstacle. They are a struggle.

My life seems to parallel my children’s daily. It usually takes me a while to see it. And sometimes I don’t even realize the similarities until I start writing. But life sometimes hands us things that we just don’t understand. Pain that shows up in the most unexpected places. Heartache that seems unnecessary and cruel. Trials that arise and force us to walk through things we never had imagined.
But all the while, our heavenly Father is there. He is up with us thought the night, rocking us back to sleep. Unlike our earthly parenting skills, his are not fallible, or unable to take our burdens. He is willing and able to shoulder our cares, if we let him. He wants to walk us through the next set of teeth. He wants to help us release the doubt and pain that comes with questioning why. Why me? Why now? Why? I wonder what the things I face today are trying to build in me. I now see that maybe they are just a hint of what’s to come. But they are more than likely necessary to build in me something that I will need for a successful life.
Our Father chooses to allow us to cut our molars, but doesn’t leave us to our own devices. He doesn’t ask us to do it on our own. He walks through it with us. He sings to us as we cry through the pain. He desires for these things to bring about a greater purpose. He has no limits that prevent him from taking the pain away, yet he chooses to let us cut our own teeth for our benefit. So tonight, I will leave you with the words to a beautiful song that I often sing to remind myself of his blessing on nights where they aren’t as recognizable.

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It’s not our home

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

– Laura Story

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