You work for years to get your kids out of diapers, able to dress themselves, ask for things without whining. Later, there are other things to teach: keeping your room clean, talking with respect to elders, building up siblings instead of tearing them down, not rendering evil for evil. In the midst of this stage, though, I see the twinkling lights of the end of the tunnel, as my children constantly astound me with their grace, compassion, and purity.
As orioles blazed orange on the lawn this morning, Amy ran to bring me my joy journal. The antidote for despair is joy; even in small doses, it begins to staunch the flow of sorrow from the heart. I am listing, listing all the little ways I am cared for and blessed. Many of those little bullet points of thankfulness include my children.
It's ironic: the very things that drive you to the edge of sanity are also your lifeline when you get there. My children are hauling me back from the abyss with their words and deeds of love.