It’s been a rough week (or more). Ryan is working evening shift this week which leaves me in the role as both parents in the evening. Around 5PM, and especially since school has resumed (Kaitlyn in Grade 2, Meagan in Preschool 4), the girls reach a state we call “the witching hour”. They cannot get along. When I walk in the door, they are usually already fighting about silly things, Meagan doesn’t want her shoes on so she wants me to carry her with the million other items I have to drag in from the van, and they are hungry. Dinner can’t wait or the situation escalates.

I’ve learned how to deal with this part of it without it stressing me out too much. Feed them fast, easy to prepare food (scrambled eggs, mac & cheese, hot dogs, pizza – whatever can make it to the table quickest some nights).

To make things even more interesting this week, Meagan has a cold which decreases her appetite and worsens her crankiness. She will ask for a particular food, and by the time it reaches her plate, she’s changed her mind or decides she’s not hungry. Tonight it was pizza. She asked for it, I put it in front of her 10 minutes later, and she has since decided she hates pizza. Away it goes to the counter and a few minutes later she is complaining she’s hungry. I offer her different foods and she is adamant she hates them all. She wanders to the kitchen, finds the pizza, and exclaims “Me LOVE Starsong Pizza!”, grabs it off the counter and gobbles it up.

This is cute. I can handle this. What a darling. At least she ate, even though she had to think it was her great idea.

Bedtime. I let her watch some Diego and tell her after this episode, it is time for bed, followed by my usual “got it?” to which I will keep repeating until she replies with “got it”. No argument that she didn’t hear me. Partway through the episode, she states she is “so tired and needs to go to bed”. No problem. Off we go.

She goes to bed, we say her prayers, she tells me “Me love you soooo much”, and I turn away to leave. Before I have left the room she yells, “MOM!”

And so goes the next hour. If I don’t quickly respond when she yells, she is out of her bedroom, wandering the house, and it becomes even more difficult to get her back into bed. It is quicker for me to jump and respond when she calls out, than to ignore when she eventually gets out of bed when I don’t respond. Lock her in the room? I can’t do it. Lose patience? Yeah, good at that. After about 45 minutes and 15 call-outs + 10 wandering-outs, I am done. She calls out again. I slowly walk in and completely exasperated ask “What? What do you WANT?” And of course at my weakest moment, my 7-year-old hands me my cell phone after she has answered a call where the caller can clearly hear what I am saying, and hands my cell phone to me. The caller asks, “How’s it going?” No need to lie. She’s heard me already, so I reply, “Not good”.

Soon afterwards, Meagan falls asleep. And I reflect.

She’s 3. She can’t read. She doesn’t know there’s a rule book or understand that there are repercussions if she doesn’t obey. She knows Mom is there to answer to her every call and whim and if she’s a little scared, or can’t fall asleep on her own, and she expects me (or her Dad) to be there to help her.

Same as us. When we’re scared. When something seems uncertain. When we’re hopeful about something and need someone’s guidance. Who should we turn to? Our Father. Even when things are comfortable and good? Who should we still be seeking to be close to us and guide us through? Our Father.

And how would He respond? Maybe Meagan was genuinely scared tonight (after the findings of a spider in their room earlier in the week). If I called out to God in fear over something happening in my life, real or fictional, would He stomp in, glare at me, and ask “What? What do you want now? Don’t you know I have other things, bigger things to take care of, than your fears?”

No, of course He wouldn’t. Did I do that tonight? Not quite, but very close to it.

And it made me reflect. Wow. What a Father we have. We can go to Him in full confidence He hears our prayers. Every one of them. Every need, want, sorrowful cry out to Him, He listens to and He answers.

Phillippians 4: 6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.