On Sunday night, I had an entire document near ready to post when I discovered that our two-year-old, Titus James, had gotten a hold of my computer and pushed enough keys to change settings and commands which prohibited me from being able to even type in Word. As a result, I lost the entire document.
Not lost as in “can’t find,” but lost as in gone because my limited knowledge of technology prohibits me from recovering it.
I was disappointed to say the least when I found myself going back to the drawing board.
My post was going to be about decorating our home for Christmas and setting up our tree. I had a lesson in finding contentment and a memorable story of Jeremiah and I’s very first Christmas together.
It was good, but now it’s gone.
And all because of a saying we have in our house:
We have said it a lot over the last 18 months since he turned one.
When Nathan would ask who tore apart his LEGO creation…
When Josiah would wonder who disrupted his car lineup or colored all over his picture he had made for Daddy…
When Lydia would want to know why her blankets and stuffed animals were thrown out all over her bedroom floor…
When a 750 count box of Q-tips were emptied on our bathroom floor or an entire bottle of eye makeup remover dumped down the sink…
I wasn’t kidding when I said we say it a lot.
Now, I’m sure many of you have heard of the “Terrible Twos.”
I couldn’t disagree more. I find two-year-olds fascinating.
They are brimming with excitement, wonder, and curiosity.
So many times, they aren’t necessarily being malicious nor vindictive, but rather curious. And as Curious George would know, their curiosity gets them into quite a bit of trouble.
I believe that toddlerhood is meant for exploring their lane. And it’s our job as parents to keep them in it.
Proverbs 22:6 says,
6Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.
I’ve recently heard that “it takes a child to raise a parent.” Meaning you won’t know what the heck you’re doing until you’re actually doing it. And believe me, it takes some doing.
When Jeremiah and I began having babies, an emerging pattern developed where every 20-24 months, we would bring home a newborn. Titus was a memorable addition to our family when he decided to debut right before Easter Weekend 2016 when his Daddy preached five times. It was a whirlwind of a weekend and welcoming!
We brought him home to meet his three older siblings and our family truly became a unit. It didn’t take long for us all to become smitten with him as he successfully managed to wrap our entire family around his little finger.
It wasn’t until this spring, while Jeremiah and I were on a date, that we realized that four children later, we were experiencing a two-year-old for the very first time.
The reason I say that is there were no round-the-clock feedings or countless newborn diaper changes that were contending for his attention. I wasn’t running off of 4 hours of interrupted sleep, reheated coffee, and showers every couple of days.
I felt like I was fully awake for the first time in a long time and could truly appreciate his wide-eyed wonder.
Titus is awesome. And if you’ve ever met him, you’d agree.
Now, two-year-olds may not be quite as demanding as newborns are, but they still make their demands. Loudly. Persistently. And unbridled, they are sin-nature in pint-sized form.
They require an insane amount of energy to not only keep up with physically, but also emotionally.
Being two is a year full of tears (for both mother and child) as they learn that Daddy and Mommy are Boss.
And not the other way around.
My conviction comes from Ephesians 6:1 which instructs children to obey their parents. The Bible says that this is right.
You’ll sympathize with me when on Sunday afternoon, I found a small bamboo spoon in the Instant Pot that had slow cooked with my Crockpot Chicken Fajitas all morning long. Embarrassed, I looked up at our company who had seen the whole thing and back at Titus to ask what happened.
You know as well as I do…
Titus happened when he took his underwear off after he had messed in his pants. In his bedroom. On the carpet. It took some serious resolve to get that out. And the carpet cleaner helped as well.
Titus happened last week - 5 minutes before we were to leave the house - when he got into my purse, found a small bottle of lotion, and proceeded to empty the entire bottle onto his shirt, hair, our living room couch and carpet.
Titus happened when he thought that the new kitty litter box was his sand box and brought in a handful of cars to play with and emptied the litter all over the floor.
Titus happened when he drove a small magnetic car over my new dishwasher to make tracks - to find out that scratch tracks don’t wash off.
Titus happened even this morning when he filled a Dixie cup full of water from the bathroom sink and carried it into his bedroom to fill the play kitchen sink with.
If you’ve read all that and have started to judge me, then either you haven’t had a two-year-old or it’s been so long that you’ve forgotten what they’re like!
Yes, Titus happens often in our home and I find myself learning new rhythms of grace. Because when “Titus happens” so do my opportunities for love and grace to respond.
With that being said, on Sunday night I sat him down and stared at him for a minute without talking, truly frustrated and upset that I had lost a few hours’ worth of work. We had ourselves a little stare-off and I realized there was absolutely no way to explain to him in order for him to understand that my document was lost and that I couldn’t figure out a way to find it.
And then he found my forgiveness when he broke my stare with his adorable smile - which gathered his chubby boyish cheeks into two tight little balls. His eyes sparkled and his laugh stirred mine.
I was reminded that life is short. And messy. And things get dumped out, spilled, broken, go missing, and sometimes become irrecoverable.
But the most important things - the truly irreplaceable things - are right in front of us, staring at us the majority of the time.
I finished feeding Titus his bedtime snack and aided him in brushing his teeth and tucking him into his toddler bed.
As I kissed him goodnight and stood to leave his room, I couldn’t resist his, “Mommy, I want you!” with his outstretched arms. I returned to his side to squeeze him tight and stroke his hair while humming the children’s favorite: Amazing Grace.
Now, there will come a day when the words “Titus happened” will be less and less on our lips as the instances will diminish. Fully aware of that, I pray that I can graciously ride these waves of toddlerhood. I also pray that I never forget the way his two-year-old skin feels against mine.
Because, at the very end of the day - while the children are drifting off to sleep and my own reset button is approaching - all the maddening moments of motherhood are suddenly worth it.
Perhaps you’re weathering your own version of the perfect storm of toddlerhood. Maybe you’re dealing with teenagers or are discovering your new role as an Empty Nester. Either way, the “Titus happened” moments in our lives can become the very things we need to remind us that this side of life is very, very short.
May you be encouraged by 2 Corinthians 4:16-18…
16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
If I end up recovering that document or not, it doesn’t really matter. I know I passed my test Sunday night: Titus happened and grace answered.
I pray that you will be able to do the same.